Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

Couples Awareness and Action Exercises

The Couples Awareness & Action Exercises will cover these 5 key areas in relationships and draw attention to them for possible change. The 5 areas are:

*Love, Distance, Closeness, and Making Requests.
*Appreciation, Challenging Behaviors & Wants.
*Acting as If You Loved Your Partner until You Do.
*Noticing Positive Qualities.
*Your Partner's Viewpoint.



EXERCISE I: Love, Distance, Closeness, and Making Requests.

Either by yourself or with your partner write down the answers to these questions and reflect on them:

(1) What does love look like, feel like, and sound like to you? To your partner? Describe examples of love occurring in your and your partner's life. How can you create more of this love in your relationship? What can you do on your own to make love happen for you and your partner?

(2) When have you felt closest with your partner? What did that look like, feel like, and sound like to you? To your partner? Describe examples of it occurring in your life and your partner's life. How can you make more of this closeness in your relationship?

(3) When did you ask for something you wanted from your partner and they gave you what you wanted? How did you do this? What did you say and do that got you what you wanted? How much closer or even loved did you feel? How might you repeat this again in your relationship?

(4) When was the last time you successfully took responsibility for good things happening in your relationship? How did you give up waiting for your partner to make it happen or stop demanding a 50/50 split in responsibility for making good things happen in your relationship? What exactly did you do, say, or notice when you made these good things happen in your relationship?

(5) Describe in writing the effects of the following strategies in getting something to happen in your relationship:

*Asking your partner directly for what you want.
*Repetitively nagging about what you want.
*Not asking for what you want.
*Denying what you want.
*Angrily demanding what you want.
*Failing to recognize that your partner might want something else.

EXERCISE II: Appreciation, Challenging Behaviors & Wants.

Either by yourself or with your partner write down the answers to these questions:

(1) Make an inventory of all the items you appreciate or enjoy about your partner.

(2) Make a list of all the challenging things you notice in your partner. What if these challenging things didn't exist--what would that be like?
What if those challenging things about your partner were "facts of life" and you could accept them? What would that be like?

(3) How does what you do or say impact on your partner to make them behave as they do? What might you do differently? How might that impact on your partner?

(4) How do you make yourself angry, anxious, down, jealous, or envious about your partner? How does your thinking and actions impact on your emotions? What could you do differently?

(5) What would you want to happen in your relationship which is not happening? What might you do or say that might advance what you want to happen? Be specific. What has your partner said in regards to what you want to happen?

(6) What can you do to change your behavior instead of trying to change your partner or blaming them?

EXERCISE III: Acting as if you loved your partner until you do.

Either by yourself or with your partner write down the answers to these questions:

(1) Notice what happens between you and your partner if you acted "as if" you loved your partner. Do this for at least 5 days.

(2) Notice what happens between you and your partner if you acted "as if" you appreciated and cared for your partner. Do this for at least 5 days.

(3) Demonstrate once a day during the 5 days each of the following:

*A loving behavior. What would it look like, sound like, and feel like?

*A caring behavior. What would it look like, sound like, and feel like?

*An appreciative behavior. What would it look like, sound like, and feel like?

(4) If you felt good about your partner, how would you act?

(5) If you felt good about your partner, what might you say?

(6) If you felt good about your partner, what would that feel like?

EXERCISE IV. Noticing Positive Qualities.

Either by yourself or with your partner pay attention to their positive qualities.

(1) For a week mention only your partner's positive qualities. You may want to write
them down in advance while other positive qualities may occur to you as continue to notice.

*I really liked _________________ about them.
*It was pleasurable to notice __________________ about them.
*They have __________________________.

If during the week long exercise negative thoughts about your partner occur to you, use them as a cue
to recall 2 or 3 good things about your partner.

(2) List any so called incompatibilities they might have with you. How would they feel if you saw them as "facts of life" and accepted them?

(3) How would your partner's so called incompatibilities seem if you felt love or a warm affinity toward your partner?

(4) Make lists of interests you and your partner share and might enjoy doing together. Movies? Food? Travel? Mutual hobbies? Walks? Music? TV? Reading? Sporting
events? Love making? Long conversations? Something else?

(5) How many different ways can you communicate your love and caring to your partner?

EXERCISE V: Your Partner's Viewpoint.

Either by yourself or with your partner write down the answers to these questions:

(1) Is there a conflict? If so, how does your partner view the conflict? What do they think, feel, and notice?

(2) What led them to this particular viewpoint? Which of their previous life experiences may have affected their viewpoint?

(3) Is there anything you appreciate about your partner's perspective?

(4) Can you accept their viewpoint as a "fact of life"?

(5) Can you switch your position from a demand to a preference? Can you agree to disagree?


Have fun, Steve

If you'd like to help keep our site up on the Internet and free of ads:

Share on Facebook

Share on Facebook