If you’re looking to develop supportive and understanding communication patterns, this intervention is right for you! Here you will learn how to connect with your partner’s life dreams, triumphs, or struggles. Often, when individuals experience difficult personal or relational situations they will withdraw in their relationships. This causes couples to drift apart and feel alone in the relationship. If you feel like you are beginning to disengage from each other as friends, cultivating a communication style that increases an encouraging and understanding listening style can increase your attachment to one another. By strengthening your friendship connection, you can build your ability to address more difficult topics within your relationship in the future.  

In this exercise you’ll take turns sharing a life dream, triumph, or struggle and listening supportively. Below is an outline of how you should practice developing these skills.

First, one partner please share a life-dream, triumph, or struggle. This is probably not something related to your relationship, rather something about your life outside your relationship. Sharing something on a personal, emotional, level is going to be better for the intervention and will likely produce better results.

Now, whichever partner did not share an experience, please summarize what you think your partner was really trying to say. Then after you summarize what you heard, ask your partner if you got it. If your partner does not feel like you understood what he/she was saying, ask for clarification. If he/she does feel like you understood, then switch roles.

Now, switch roles and repeat steps I and II. You may choose to repeat this process 2-3 more times in order to get a good feel for this style of communication.

After you have completed this process, discuss with each other what you feel you have learned about each other’s experiences, triumphs, or struggles. You may want to discuss how it felt to share something emotional or meaningful with your partner. You may also want to share with your partner what specifically they did that helped you feel loved and supported. After you’ve discussed these things, talk about implementing this technique into your daily lives. Brainstorm together potential ways that you may use this intervention to stay connected to each other’s dreams, triumphs, and struggles. For example, you may choose to use this skill daily in a 5-10 minute discussion with each other or by setting aside a longer period of time once a week. Implementing this skill in your day-to-day interactions will help you develop compassion, love, and connection in your relationship.