Three Gifts For A 20-Something…How To Do Relationship Repair

What three “gifts” would you give a 20-something if you were a “Forty-Godmother”? Here 40-somethings share three wishes to help a 20-something get a head start on the confidence to make decisions that are right for themselves. No more woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Yesterday I went to Gwyneth Paltrow’s In Goop Health summit…a day of panels, products and experiences all geared to answer the questions many of us have about our well being — from energy levels and skincare to relationships and our purpose in the universe. Just like her website has products that go from high to low so did the subject matter being discussed by neurosurgeons and integrated health specialists to Pilates gurus and mediums alike.

I’ll be writing about this on my blog at Forbes but for today sharing three tips from Terry Real, a relationship expert and family therapist who has a reputation for saving marriages from the brink of divorce. He said his techniques are a little unconventional, but they seem to make pretty good sense!

First, a primer f you haven’t heard about the book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus the popular nineties manual to understanding the other sex. The book popularized the theory that men do problem solving listening (jumping in to solve the problem you are telling them about) and women to empathetic listening (focusing on what they are saying and letting them be heard).

Real believes that marriages (or long term relationships) go through three stages: Harmony, disharmony and repair. “When it gets dark, it does not mean you are in a bad marriage,” he said. “It means you are in a marriage.” Apparently most of us, men and women both are good at the first two but not well equipped to do the repair. Here are his three steps, or “wishes” for today:

  1. Let them know there’s an issue. When in disharmony, say to your partner, “This is important to me, you have to pat attention”. Then when they say, “okay”, you have to roll up your sleeves and help them. You can’t expect them to know how to to what you are asking of them. You have to teach. And not from a position of superiority or opposition. Don’t act as if you are the expert in the relationship. You can only be the expert of you. The mistake people make it to let things happen and then complain about it after. Real’s mantra is, “Be assertive upfront so there is less resentment after.” If you are clear about what you want, there will be less disappointment.
  2. Give instruction. Tell them how to listen. If you know they are different then just be straightforward and say, “I want to vent for 10 minutes and I want you to just to put your arm around me and tell me it’s going to be okay, or that you understand.”
  3. If they do it, reward them and always speak with respect.



on Twitter

on Facebook

on Google+