Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Dov Heller - Part 14
the things that do bother you, things that do concern you, things that you are afraid of and bring them up for discussion. Putting things out there on the table, being up front with someone, is the way that you test the strength of a relationship. I often tell people… they come to me when they’re dating, they say — We’re having a problem. There’s an issue here that we just can’t seem to get through. And my response is — Great. It’s so good that you’re having a problem. Having problems when you’re dating, bringing up issues where there’s conflict, is a great opportunity to really test the strength of the relationship. Again, when you have problems it gives you a great opportunity to evaluate how well you communicate, negotiate and work together as a team. And these three qualities, communication, negotiation and working together are absolutely necessary for success in marriage. So when you have a problem and you want to be able to be sure you can resolve your differences and come out with a win/win situation, the issue is never his problem or her problem. When people get into power struggles and they blame each other, that’s an indication that they can’t work well together. What you want to find out when you have problems, is can you work together to resolve them. So that’s the first part of putting everything on the table.
A second dimension of putting things on the table is being vulnerable. Asking questions and discussing questions that allow each of you to be more vulnerable with each other. For example, you can ask each other questions like — What was your biggest struggle in life? What is your biggest fear in life? What is your ultimate ambition in life? If you could give a title to your life story, what would it be? What would you want to have written on your tombstone? What’s very important here is to hear what they say, to hear the answer that they give and to evaluate the content, of course. But let me point out… this is so important and it underlines both this point and the last two points that I’ve made… which is, don’t just listen to what they say, but listen to how they say it. When you ask a deep question like that, how do they respond? When you put something on the table and you suggest that there’s a problem, and you say — You know, I really didn’t like the way you treated that waiter. I thought you were rather rude. See how they respond. The important thing is to watch how they respond. How do they handle it? Are they defensive? Do they attack? Do they withdraw? Do they get annoyed? Do they blame you? Do they ignore it? Do they try to hide from it? Do they rationalize it? That’s the most important thing, is measure how they respond.
So along with what they say, measure how they say it.
There’s an excellent book that I would suggest that everybody gets. It is by a social worker. His name is Shai Ostrow, and the book is called “The Inner Circle”. It has to be purchased at a Jewish bookstore. And the book helps people to focus on this deeper, emotional level of response. And checking out how you feel
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