I was thinking of you….

One of the major issues that couples face is how they communicate what they want and what they need.  Some do it quite well.  Some do it quite poorly complete with mega-conflicts, and at times, ugly incidents.  Others don’t do it at all.  They choose to just work on  the “you know” principle–that is my partner should know what I what and need.  “If s/he were in tune with me, s/he’d know what to do” is a common line that I hear in my office.

In order to communicate, couples can use request language to guide their partner to fulfilling their wants and needs.  It’s the language of being in a  restaurant–“I would appreciate it if you could do this” or “it would make me happy if you did this”(or didn’t do this).  They could also use my personal favorite, actually discovered at a restaurant–“Would it be possible for you to….”  This language system works because people  are  making requests, not demands.  They are not attacking their partner.  They are asking for something that would be helpful.  Once these requests are delivered, the obvious next communication is the “thank you”.

In my office,  I get to hear from  couples who don’t wish to use request language because “if I tell him and he does it, it hasn’t proved anything anyway….”   These relationships are usually  filled with anger/resentment, at times betrayal, and a lack of trust.  For these kinds of relationships, the words are meaningless.  It’s more in the “show me, not tell me”.  So how would a person show their partner how they feel?

They would enter the “I was thinking of you….” place. (IWTWP) This place is quite simple and the decision by the partner to go there in the first place is  good example of the  show me state(not Missouri).  Upon entering, the person would do something to show their partner that they were thinking of them!  There is an endless number of possible things that a person could do that would show the distrustful partner that they were indeed thinking of them.  Some of these might be trivial(a favorite flower, or favorite food).  Some may be more meaningful –(the completion of that nagging household chore) or could be very intimate(a written note or letter about the person’s feelings towards his/her partner).   One note:  The partner who enters the IWTYP cannot have an expectation that this will be the ticket towards  an improved   relationship. If s/he does, and it doesn’t  go that way, this could lead to an equal and opposite reaction of anger and  disappointment.  Going  to IWTYP needs to happen in the spirit of doing something different to improve the relationship —period. 

The I was thinking of you place is an infinite location of partner pleases and pleasures.  It can be a great building block towards rebuilding even the most distrustful of relationships.  Combined with request language, can lead to better “doing” in the relationship. 

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