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Monday, March 2, 2015

Love Is More Than a Feeling - 2


My February 4th post :Love Is More Than A Feeling" ended with four questions. This month we'll explore those questions and answers using Dr. William Glasser's Choice Theory and Reality Therapy as the foundation for possible answers.
Judith and Friends

Why these four questions? Because if we step back and honestly answer them, we can see our relationships with others differently. Even after over forty years of knowing of Dr. Glasser and over thirty-six years of involvement with The William Glasser Institute, I use these questions when I want to figure out what is happening in my relationships, especially if something doesn't seem to be going "right".

Sometimes it's a challenge to answer these four questions honestly much less have a conversation with the other person about what your perception is of what's going on.

1. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and 1 low/bad, how congruent are the words and actions of the people you love towards you?

If there is a high degree of congruence, you are most likely very happy in this relationship. However, in general the more in-congruence, the increase is in unhappiness.

Rule of Thumb: if you like what's going on, keep doing what you're doing.

Problems occur when there is more in-congruence than we want. For example: you are a new parent and getting ready to go out for the evening. Your baby spits up on your shirt/blouse as you lean over to kiss her goodbye. Being covered in baby puke is seldom seen as a positive. However, most adults do not believe some action needs to be taken (other than changing clothes).

Another example: in your family the roles of husband and wife were clearly delineated. You and your new spouse talked about wanting more of a partnership, a sharing of household tasks. Months into your new arraignment, you realize you are the only one taking the garbage out. The next time the garbage needs to go out you say "It's your turn." If you're succinct that's all you say. If you want to make a point, you remind your spouse that since you moved into this place, they have never taken the garbage out.

Yes, even something this small and insignificant in the relative scheme of things can create bigger problems. If in your family, you saw that taking the garbage out was a sign of caring for the other spouse, you may not even realize that was your perception until you are the only one taking it out.

Baby spitting up? That's what babies do.
Do we like it? Not particularly but that's what babies do.

Leaving me to take the garbage out? That's a sign I'm disrespected or maybe not loved as much or ?

2. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and l low/bad, how congruent are Your Words and Actions towards the people in your life you love?

In general we find it easier to look at someone else's behavior than our own. To create a high level of connectedness which can also be seen as unconditional love or unconditional acceptance, we must look at our part in the relationship.

How I communicate my perception of the whole "who takes the garbage out" situation matters. Even the succinct "It's your turn" if said in a negative tone (critical, sarcastic, nagging, etc.) creates repercussions we may not want. If we add the history of who has and hasn't taken the garbage out, we are upping the ante and increasing the odds of distance between ourselves and our spouses.

Here we are, six months into the marriage, we are the only ones who are taking the garbage out and we thought we had an agreement of sharing household tasks. It doesn't feel like we are doing any sharing of this one.

A. Why is it important that your spouse also take out the garbage? What is "the other" meaning of that task to you? (See above for one example).
B. How and when do you bring the topic up if, after you've answered "A", you still this task handled differently? (Hint: neutral is best. One tactic that backfires in the long, if not the short run, is to bargain for control. "I'll fix your favorite dessert if you will..." 
C. In any relationship, establishing boundaries in communication is important. Basics are no threats, swearing, name-calling, etc.

After dinner while you are both clearing the table and cleaning up the kitchen?
During a commercial in a television movie or sporting event?
While getting ready for bed? or getting ready in the morning?

What do you say to start the conversation?
Sweetie, do you realize you never take the garbage out?
Remember before we got married we talked about sharing household tasks? How do you think that's going?
The other day I realized a holdover from my family I'd like to share with you. My dad always took the garbage out and my mom always thanked him and gave him a hug and a kiss when he came back in. Or maybe In my family we always knew we were in trouble when we had to take the garbage out.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you what to do or even how to do it but to present some ideas that will provide a framework for you to think about the level of connectedness or disconnectedness in your relationships. 

The conversation continues next Monday. If you have questions, please ask. If you have examples of how you bring up for discussion sensitive or difficult subjects, please share.


Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance. She is also on the Senior Teaching Faculty of The William Glasser Institute and schedules training leading to Certification in Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.

Learn more about her work with Dr. Glasser’s conceptswww.glasserconceptstraining.com or check out TheWilliam Glasser Institute for more information on training and educational opportunities.

Learn more about her writing and The Sacred Women’s Circle series at www.judithashleyromance.com

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