Indigo's Peer Journal Exercise- #9

The Half Hour Meeting

Allowing your partner to assist in your healing process is always a good step toward building trust in your partner and in relationships in general.  One prelude to transferring good communication skills to intimate situations is knowing your partner is listening to you AND hearing what you say, which is not always the same thing.

Give your partner the opportunity to help you express your feelings and help you make sense out of their feelings by using this exercise.

Note: this is a weekly routine.

The following exercise gives you the opportunity to:

Build Trust
Decrease Defensiveness
Allow your partner their thoughts and feelings while attending to your own
Constructively report your anger and resentment and still propose a solution
Express and receive compliments
Express your wants and needs
Feel Heard
Hear your partner
Feel safe to say your truth
Experience consistency (positive predictability)
Gain mutual accountability
Emphasize "We Are A Team"
What you need:
Half hour of uninterrupted time once a week
Relationship Journal (blank book)

With your partner's participation, conduct a Weekly Half-Hour Meeting, each of you having equal time to talk and listen.  This is a time for reporting in with each other, giving each other information without discussion; it's a time to listen and a time to be heard.  You merely report your feelings, needs, wants and solutions.  If you want to discuss anything as a result of your meeting let your partner know what you want to talk about and request a mutually acceptable time separate from your Half-Hour Meeting.

How it works:

Each week you alternate the role of the recorder who notes in your relationship journal the points each of you have made.  The recorder's notes are in list form rather than paragraphs or descriptive sentences.  Use the format below to report to each other your thoughts, ideas, wants, needs, feelings and joys, leaving each other room to ponder what has been heard.  Discussions can come later, separate from your Half-Hour Meeting.

Start by telling your partner what you appreciated about them during the previous week.  This can be something you appreciated in relation to yourself or their relating with others.  When you have finished and that has been recorded, your partner reports what
they appreciated about you and that is recorded.

Next, tell each other what you did not appreciate.  For the purpose of this exercise, report something you did not appreciate ONLY if you have a solution for your partner.  For example, if you were upset with your partner's anger, your solution would not be that your partner not be angry, but how your partner could have expressed that anger in a way that would have been easier for you.  Remember, for this experience, solutions always follow what you did not appreciate.

Then, share with each other what you are looking forward to enjoying with each other in the coming week.

Finally, if you want to talk about anything that has been said make an appointment with your partner at a time separate from your Half-Hour Meeting.  Be sure this is uninterrupted time.

After you have finished, agree on the date and time for your next weekly Half-Hour Meeting.

Helpful Hint: Create an expression you both enjoy (something fun) that says "we are a team", "we are family", "we are together".  Have fun with this.  Examples:  high five with a hand slap, thumbs up, signing "weee are faaammmillyyy"  What ever you come up with, say or do this together everyday. This
is important, everyday.  Predictable positive consistency helps survivors expect good things from confrontation.

Caution: This exercise may evoke past or present feelings or issues you have been successful at avoiding. If you find yourself avoiding your Half-Hour Meetings or unresolved conflict increases, you may want to consider professional help with your communication.  See also Having a Good Fight for tips on fair fighting.

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