The Relationship Builder is a series of brief exercises aimed at improving caring, intimacy, and loving behaviors between partners.
Giving Attention: Exercise I
1. Ask your partner to describe specifically what kind of attention they would enjoy having from you. Ask for your partner to describe specifically what you do and say when you are paying attention to them. Have them describe a time when you were there for them. Would you be willing to practice these behaviors with them now or at a specified later time?
2. Reverse the roles. Specifically describe to your partner what you find attentive behavior on their part. Would your partner be willing to practice these behaviors with you now or at a specified later time?
Loving and Caring: Exercise II
1. Each partner specifically describes when they feel loved or cared for. What behaviors demonstrate love and caring? (Sending roses, long talks, something else?)
2. What does the partner specifically hear when they feel loved or cared for? (Certain words, a tone of voice, something else?)
3. What does the partner specifically see when they feel loved and cared for? (A certain facial expression, a body posture, something else?)
4. What does the partner experience tactilely when they feel loved or cared for? (Hugs, kisses, holding hands, something else?)
5. What does the partner smell or taste when they feel loved and cared for? (A scent or a certain taste. Something else?)
6. How can each partner show more of these behaviors at specific times? Can partners agree on meeting with each other at a set time to practice loving and caring behaviors?
Arranging Quality Time Together: Exercise III
1. Very important to intimacy and closeness is couple's spending quality time together to do fun things together, make love, share intimate moments, talk, and hang out. No problem solving time--just hang out and have a pleasurable time together. Agree on a set time daily to be alone together and have some quality time.
What You Want to Happen More Often in Your Relationship: Exercise IV
1. Each ask the other: What do you want to happen more often in your relationship? Can you specify exactly what you prefer? A behavior? Something said? An activity? (Make sure this is what you want to happen--not something you don't want to happen).
2. How can you and your partner ensure what you both want to happen? Can you two commit to allowing this to happen? What might get in the way? Can you come up with a mutual solution(s) for what might get in the way?
3. What can you both actively do to make what you want to happen? Can you agree on this? The idea here is allow your relationship to be more fun and stimulating.
Would you like more going out together?
Would you prefer more intimate contact and love making?
Is there a hobby or shared interest you can do together?
Is there a way to make things more passionate or romantic?
Is there some new activity you both might explore?
Would you like to discuss important things in the future?
Is there something you desire to do with the children?
Would you care for more phone calls?
4. What small actions can be done to make what you desire to happen, occur more often?
The Best Time to Make Requests: Exercise V
1. Ask your partner what's a good time to get their full attention and make a request. They ask you the same question.
2. What are the cues to look for which demonstrate your partner is ready to give their full attention? What do you specifically notice?
Obvious poor times are when they are:
On the telephone or working.
About to go to bed.
Around the children.
The good times:
They're in an upbeat mood.
They are agreeable.
They are well-rested and fed.
Solutions for Hot Topics: Exercise VI
1. Maybe you wish to explore mutual solutions to possible hot topics?
Paying bills, household economics, and money challenges?
Children's difficulties at home and at school.
Chores--who does them and when.
Nagging vs. stonewalling.
Vacations and holidays.
Excessive time spent at work.
Negative interpretations of behavior.
Fighting over fights.
Talking and intimacy.
What Would You Like to Have Acknowledged, Accepted, or Validated: Exercise VII
1. Take turns naming things you desire to have acknowledged, accepted, and validated. After you name something, your partner will acknowledge it, accept it, and validate it. Take turns going back and forth.
What Do You Expect from Your Partner and Your Relationship: VIII
1. Ask your partner what they expect from you and have them ask you what they expect from them in the relationship:
Is this to be a long-term committed relationship?
What do you expect in the way of expressing warmth and love?
What does being loyal mean to you? What do you expect in terms of fidelity?
What do you expect in terms of your partner working? The average amount of hours per day?
Will child rearing be joint or will one parent take over most of the child rearing?
Will decisions be done jointly or separately?
How do you expect thoughts and feelings to be shared?
Are there important questions left to be asked? What are they?
What about chores and small tasks around the house? What do you expect?
Intimate Sharing: Exercise IX
1. Here is a suggested list of sensual activities you can do together as a couple. Perhaps you have additional ideas you can add.
Without engaging in love making, sensually explore each others’ bodies with touch and embrace. Perhaps share sexual thoughts and fantasies you're having.
Discuss some of the main things you love about your partner.
Hold hands, caress.
If it's the right time discuss making love the next time you two are together.
Take care, Steve