Friday, 24 June 2011

Get Connected at the Heart Level

In his book Finding Ever After Dr. Robert Paul makes some interesting observations about more effective ways of interacting when couples are experiencing a difference of opinion.

He says, “Human beings have an uncanny ability to sense insincerity, judgment, and manipulation, and we have a natural inclination to avoid all three. As we pose a question to our spouse we must ask ourselves “Am I motivated by a quest to understand and care, or do I have some other agenda?”

When experiencing differences of opinion, too often we are motivated to win our point of view, to prove we are right and/or to maintain power in the relationship.

Dr. Paul offers the following advice for dealing with differences of opinion which should net much better results in the long run.

Legitimate questions you might ask:
o What would you like me to understand about you and your heart on this issue?
o What are you feeling?
o Where would you like our focus to be?
o What do you think would be the best here?

Things NOT to ask:
o Who is right and who is wrong?
o Who is at fault and who is to blame?
o What really happened?
o What should we do to fix this problem?

Dr. Robert Paul
Unfortunately problem solving can shift the focus (prematurely) from the heart to the head without first connecting at an emotional level. It is important that each person believes that the other cares about what they feel, think or want.

Just understand this is not where guys normally live. Guys tend to be problem solvers. Connecting on an emotional level for many men might be like learning a foreign language.

Here’s what I know about men and women in general. We all like a good outcome, one which leaves us feeling good about ourselves and good about the solution. What Paul is proposing is to alter our normal process. He advocates a “no loser policy”. Which begins as outlined above with the ultimate goal of clearly hearing one another and arriving at a solution that pleases both parties. NO solution that isn’t satisfactory to both is satisfactory. Arriving at such a solution can take a great deal of creativity but it eliminates the competition because you are striving to seek a solution that both are pleased with.

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