I created the following in response to a coaching client who shared the biggest challenge she was facing with her partner on a daily basis. They're both are under a lot of pressure at work and they have 3 kiddos. The first face-to-face at the end of the day was getting to be too unbearable until we talked through this strategy. Now they have a 'way to be' with one another that supports their goal of a loving marriage and happy family.
Here's a TIP for LOVERS who live together:
Create a "Venting Protocol". You know how sometimes at the end of a long day you come home from work, you're tired, stressed, frustrated and you walk into an even more chaotic space? Your partner has had a bad day and it seems like they're taking it out on you? -OR- You had a brilliant day and can't wait to share it with your lover, but they are in a pissy mood. Instead of allowing this dark energy to get the best of you, leading to an argument, ruining the rest of the day, give each other 3-5 minutes (no more) to VENT. One person asks the other, "Listening or Feedback?". and then...
Lovers, take a DEEP BREATH.
VENTER: Let it ALL out. Huff. Puff. Make faces. Release whatever has been nagging at you all day.
LISTENER: Be present and just listen. And at the end of 3-5 minutes (seriously, no more) give feedback if (and only if) requested.
Then SWITCH, if necessary.
Finally, take another DEEP BREATH (or 2 or 10). And move on.
The key here is if your lover has had a bad day and needs to get something off their chest, sometimes they JUST want to be HEARD. This is where you LISTEN and be PRESENT. Other times, they want to work through something. This is where you LISTEN, be PRESENT and give feedback. Notice I didn't say try to FIX their situation. Couples who can effectively support each other in times of challenge often do so by allowing for individual growth. This comes from partners recognizing their strengths and abilities to be resourceful and creative. Unless it's asked for, don't give your opinion. Give your heartfelt compassion and presence.
Try it on like a pair of fancy panties...if it's not a good fit, no worries! I'd love to hear what DOES WORK for ya!
P.S. If you'd like support overcoming a specific challenge (you know, the one you've been tolerating and can't seem to fix on your own) and reaching your objectives where you and your partner are once again on the same page, communicating effectively, and working as a cohesive team -- LET'S TALK.