UNEXPECTED EVENING CATCHES COUPLE – PREPARED!
Marsha and John, (not their real names nor picture,) are a married couple in their mid-60’s who had completed ten of the 20 Dialogues when they reported the following event to Barbara:
Marsha came home after seeing her new individual therapist. Talking with her had stirred up some painful feelings and she needed to talk. Since John, who might normally have avoided such a discussion, had been practicing the Dialogue all week, he felt ready to just listen and reflect back as Marsha shared her thoughts. And, because Marsha, too, was now familiar with Dialogue, and because she felt heard by John, she was able to send in a more conscious way than she had done in the past.
As more intense emotions emerged, each felt a desire to “run”, something that had often occurred in prior discussions. But with the safety of the Dialogue structure, they managed to stay calm and present. Several times, Mary started to go off on a tangent, but John pulled her back into the process, saying kindly but firmly, let’s stick to the topic. Later, she told him how happy she was he had helped her stay on track and that he had just continued to listen.
John’s newly acquired Dialogue skills enabled him to stay focused and connected to Marsha as she spoke. Later, Marsha commented that because of this, she felt they had stayed “in tune” throughout their exchange. As a result, she was able to open up to a much deeper, more vulnerable level than she had in a long time. When finished, Marsha reported that she had felt heard and “complete”, with “no residual” feelings left over! (Something of a new experience, to be sure).
John, who took his own turn at sending, used the dialogue to share some of his feelings as well, and although he felt a degree of discomfort around the topic they were discussing, he experienced satisfaction at being able to express his feelings rather than leaving with them bottled up as he has done so many times before.
Both agreed that the Dialogue gave them a much better path to follow than the one that came more naturally to them both, which was to run!. The result was a positive exchange, resulting in a dramatically different outcome from discussions in the past that had broken down in mutual hurt and anger.
Key to their success, however, was they’re having faithfully practiced the Dialogue the previous ten or so days, thus preparing themselves for that moment when the need for great communication skills was suddenly upon them!
John’s comment about 20-In-20: “It’s a teaching program to get you used to using the Dialogue so that when you need it, you can use it, because you’ve already mastered the technical parts.”
Congratulations, John and Marsha and thanks for giving permission for your story to be shared!
If you have a successful Dialogue Story to share, please let me know. Each couple’s experiences can inspire others to find the hope, commitment and confidence they need to accomplish successes like the one above.