O.K., your partner looks unhappy, withdrawn or tense. You immediately think: "It must be me....what did I do? Why is he or she upset with me?"
It's so natural to assume that whatever is going on with your partner has something to do with you. But, what if has nothing to do with you?
Remember, most of us are not mind readers.
So, you may say, "Are you angry?" Did I do something to upset you?"
Notice that this type of questioning invites a "no," "yes," or "I don't know" type of answer. That's a dead end in your communication. (Try to avoid "Yes/No" questions.)
What if you could turn this moment into an incredibly supportive and loving experience for you both...just by asking the right questions?
Some years ago, I was in the car with Orv. He looked tense and angry. I thought, "Uh oh, what did I do?" But I didn't say that.
Instead I used two of the powerful questions I'm going to teach you.
I said, "Honey, what's going on with you right now? What are you feeling?"
He replied that the computer had left him feeling frustrated.
Phew! It wasn't about me.
Then I asked, "How can I support you? What do you need from me right now?"
His reply was, "Just your smile."
I could do that! And I did!
In an emotional conversation, you need information in order to act appropriately. And, in asking these four powerful questions, you put the ball squarely in your partner's court. You enable them to look inside, see what's going on with themselves, and then tell you exactly what they need in the moment.
That's real empowerment, and once you know what they need, you can give them exactly that!
In other words, never assume that you know what is best for your partner. That will probably lead to crash and burn!
Oh, and don't worry if you get the famous "I don't know."
Just tell your partner, "O.K., when you do know, come and get me. I'm here for you!"
(Quite often they do know, but are afraid to ask for what they want.)
So, here are the FOUR GREATEST QUESTIONS you can ask if your partner looks like he or she is upset, withdrawn or angry.
1. What are you feeling?
2. What's going on with you right now?
Then, when you get an answer…
3. How can I support you?
4. What do you need from me right now?
You don't have to ask all the questions. You can choose which feels the most comfortable in the moment.
(This technique is especially helpful for you men, because you don't have to figure out how to "fix" anything!)
Try it...see how it works. It may feel strange or awkward in the beginning because it's a new way of doing things.
Make sure to ask if it's a good time to talk to your partner and keep eye contact. Ask in a loving way, with real concern.
I think you'll be happily amazed at the results you both will get!
Maeve and Orv Fry
WHO ARE MAEVE & ORV FRY?