Friday, January 2, 2009


I am generally against starting a post with, "So I just was reading in Oprah about..." but here I am, doing it.

I just read in Oprah that Dr. David Burns has written a new book on relationships called Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work. His "groundbreaking theory" is what I have been telling my clients for years. Own your own stuff and work to improve it. Don't waste time trying to fix your partner. Talk to each other, yes, but don't just sit around expecting them to change while you eat bonbons. It is a guarantee that for every issue you have with your partner, they have one to match. While I don't think it is particularly groundbreaking, it is a solid and mindful theory, so I plan to read the book.

The one thing I hadn't heard before is his advice to couples in the moment. He says to respond to criticism from your partner by owning it, no matter what it is. They say, "You are such a controlling jerk" and you say, "Yes, I can be that way sometimes, and I know it is really irritating. I am so sorry. Can we talk about ways I could communicate without the control factor?"

That hadn't occurred to me before... the whole owning it in the moment as you are being called a jerk thing. My thoughts had run to the more global, preventative spectrum. Things like talking about issues when there isn't conflict at hand. I like this, even though it would be killer to try to do. But why not? Toss defensiveness out the window, treat my partner as my teacher, and listen, with neither anger nor self-recrimination when she points out irritating things I do.

I haven't actually talked to my partner about this, so surprise, my love! Have fun with this honey, it should be a blast!

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