Imagine what might happen if you offered your partner such a message. Or vice versa. Written “I-statements” which I call Flash Cards for Real Life, offer a powerful interruption in a familiar dance. They demonstrate the magic of a little decency thrown the other’s way and, significantly, they counteract exasperated voice tones that can leak into a basically sincere spoken apology. The person who has the bigness to leave the field and initiate such a peace offering, is telling her partner, “You matter more to me than making a point.” And boy, that’s a winning message.
When it comes to a rough moment in our relationship, the world (and our mother!) is ready to tell us, “The honeymoon is over.” Some part of us fears this is true, and another part resists the idea that yummy feelings with our partner aren’t that accessible anymore. I’d bet that most of you reading this have spent hours upon hours processing an upset with your guy, getting him to finally see exactly what was off, yet didn’t end up with the intimacy you hoped your clarity would bring. Next time, when you remember that it’s attunement you are seeking, you might choose to connect through a medium that’s harder to tune out.
Nancy Dreyfus, Psy. D. is a transpersonal psychotherapist in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and the author of Talk To Me Like I’m Someone You Love: Relationship Repair in a Flash (Tarcher/Penguin).
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