Relationship problem? Tried Everything? What to Do?

by Rick on March 12, 2019

If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute. –Mark Twain

When your relationship is less than wonderful, and you have run through your usual repertoire, here’s the plan: 1. Don’t react; Act. 2) Listen actively. 3) Do something surprising. 4. Change the context. It works with 3-month-olds, and it works with adults. Here’s my son Peter showing us how it’s done.

Actually, don’t wait till you’ve tried everything. Do it right up front, like this:

  • Don’t react.
  • Say “Yes” to what’s coming at you.
  • Listen, accept, and reflect back what you hear.
  • Ask “is that right?” and “Is there anything else.?”
  • Say something surprising. Something New. Something you have never even thought of before
  • Change the context.

It’s the fool-proof plan for all relationship problems, because it creates the conditions in which things can change–starting with yourself. And, as Peter shows, it can turn a conflict into fun.

Update: Allan Stern just sent me this story. Imagine a culture where people don’t get angry.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn March 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Love it, Rick! The baby is adorable and the strategy is great. Thanks for sharing.

Rob and Lucy Wood March 13, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Great Rick!!! And Kudos to Peter too of course. What’s the name of his playmate? Rob Wood

Suz March 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

So precious. Mercury is in retrograde which means it looks like it’s going backwards around the sun. It’s not. “Experts” say it effects our communications misunderstandings, computer problems, disagreements etc. Such timely advice from you, Peter and the little one. Gracias 🙏

Rick March 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Peter’s daughter Anna is now 2-and-a-half.

Bobby Richman March 13, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Rick,
Awesome post! If I had followed these guidelines I might have been able to save my marriage.

Marty Dutcher March 13, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Wonderful. The video shows it all. It takes some imagination and some courage to “make up” a conversation (that is, a dialogue). Kudos, Peter. I’ve enjoyed reading your responses to Rick’s posts, too.

Maria March 14, 2019 at 10:40 am

This is so wonderful thank you for sharing.

Rick March 25, 2019 at 11:48 am

A psychologist friend of mine sent me an email: “Validation and irreverence. This is exactly the strategy I use in therapy with my clients with borderline personality disorder and it works like a charm.”

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