© Martyn Carruthers

Our couple coaching does not replace life coaching, marriage counseling or psychotherapy. Each is useful for different problems. Our couple coaching is for couples who want to cooperate and make better decisions together.

Communication Exercise: Just Listening

These exercises help motivated adults to better understand their partners’ communications. (Please allow yourselves space and time to make mistakes and learn without criticizing, excuses or complaining).

Healthy couples do not have to agree with what their partners say!

  1. Agree that you will both use this exercise to better understand each other – not to score points
  2. Sit as close as you can to each other while feeling comfortable, but not face to face
  3. Choose who will speak first and who will listen first.
  4. Pick an interesting neutral topic, not a current argument or difficult discussion. (Choosing something like “what happened today” should be safe.)
  5. The speaker shares some information – e.g. something that happened today. Start with 3-5 sentences. The listener does not interrupt.
  6. When the speaker stops, the listener repeats what was heard (do not respond to what was said, just repeat what was said). The listener asks the speaker if he or she heard everything that was said.
  7. The speaker either confirms that the listener repeated it correctly, or says that the listener missed something and repeats what was missed. Do not add new details. The listener can repeat what was missed and ask for confirmation. The speaker indicates when he or she is satisfied that communication took place.
  8. The listener, once the speaker indicates satisfaction, asks the speaker if they can talk more about what was said.
  9. Repeat this 3-5 times with different neutral topics.
  10. Switch roles.

Simple does not mean easy. Understanding does not mean agreeing.

Communication Exercise 1 Homework
  1. Practice this exercise using NEUTRAL topics until you are both  comfortable with listening and not interrupting.
  2. When you BOTH feel ready, practice using a WARM topic e.g. “What we did when my mother visited us?” (Avoid HOT issues until you have practiced communicating and listening to neutral and warm topics).

Communication Exercise 2: Values
  1. Agree that you will avoid using this exercise to better understand each other – not to score points nor to argue about what’s most important
  2. Sit as close as you can to each other while feeling comfortable, but not face to face
  3. Choose an interesting but neutral topic, and as the Speaker talks, the Listener guesses what is important to the Speaker about this topic.
  4. Speaker asks Listener for feedback on what Listener thought he or she communicated as important about this topic.
  5. Speaker shares 1 or 2 things that are important in this topic, and why they are important. The Listener avoids commenting too quickly.
  6. The Listener pauses then gives the Speaker feedback about what he or she  heard (not what was the Speaker said) about what is important.
  7. The Listener asks the Speaker if he or she understood what the Speaker said was important.
  8. Speaker confirms whether the Listener understood which values he or she communicated, or repeats what was missed. Do not add new values. Listener can repeat which values were missed and ask for confirmation. Speaker indicates when Speaker is satisfied that communication took place.
  9. Listener – once the Speaker indicates satisfaction, ask Speaker if he or she would like to talk more about it.
  10. Repeat this 3-5 times. Switch roles
Communicating Values Homework
  1. Practice this exercise using NEUTRAL topics.
  2. When BOTH feel ready, practice using a WARM topic e.g. “What is important about the next meal?” (Stay away from HOT issues until you have practiced communicating and listening to neutral and warm topics).

Communication Exercise: Beliefs
  1. Agree that you will both avoid using this exercise to better understand each other – not to score points or to try to change each other’s beliefs
  2. Sit as close as you can while both remaining comfortable, but not face to face.
  3. Pick an interesting NEUTRAL topic, and as the Speaker talks, Listener guesses what the Speaker believes about this topic.
  4. Speaker asks Listener for feedback on what the Listener thought was believed.
  5. Speaker shares 1 or 2  things about the topic that seem to be true, and mentions why this is believed (e.g. “We were taught that in school“)
  6. Listener waits, then gives feedback what was heard (avoid responding to how it was said).
  7. Listener tells the Speaker if he or she understood the speaker’s beliefs.
  8. Speaker confirms whether or not Listener understood the beliefs, and repeats what was missed. Do not try to change beliefs with counter-examples or add more beliefs. Listener can repeat any beliefs that were heard and ask for confirmation. The Speaker indicates when he or she is satisfied that communication took place.
  9. Listener – Once Speaker indicates satisfaction, ask Speaker if he or she would like to talk more about it.
  10. Repeat this 3-5 times and switch roles
Communicating Beliefs Homework
  1. Practice this exercise using other NEUTRAL beliefs.
  2. When you BOTH feel ready, practice using WARM topics (stay away from HOT issues until you have both practiced communicating and listening to neutral and warm beliefs).

You can also use this structure to practice communicating issues of Identity. You can talk about who you are (or who you must pretend to be) at certain times …

Do you want solutions for emotional blocks and relationship challenges?

Categories: Articles

en_USEnglish
en_GBEnglish (UK) afAfrikaans arالعربية azAzərbaycan dili belБеларуская мова bg_BGБългарски bn_BDবাংলা cs_CZČeština da_DKDansk de_DEDeutsch elΕλληνικά es_ESEspañol etEesti fa_IRفارسی fiSuomi fr_FRFrançais guગુજરાતી he_ILעִבְרִית hi_INहिन्दी hu_HUMagyar hyՀայերեն id_IDBahasa Indonesia it_ITItaliano ja日本語 lt_LTLietuvių kalba jv_IDBasa Jawa ka_GEქართული ko_KR한국어 loພາສາລາວ lvLatviešu valoda ml_INമലയാളം mk_MKМакедонски јазик mnМонгол mrमराठी ms_MYBahasa Melayu my_MMဗမာစာ nb_NONorsk bokmål ne_NPनेपाली nl_NLNederlands nn_NONorsk nynorsk pa_INਪੰਜਾਬੀ pl_PLPolski psپښتو pt_PT_ao90Português (AO90) ro_RORomână ru_RUРусский si_LKසිංහල sk_SKSlovenčina sl_SISlovenščina sqShqip sv_SESvenska ta_INதமிழ் thไทย teతెలుగు tr_TRTürkçe tlTagalog tt_RUТатар теле tahReo Tahiti ug_CNئۇيغۇرچە ukУкраїнська urاردو uz_UZO‘zbekcha viTiếng Việt zh_CN简体中文 zh_HK香港中文版 zh_TW繁體中文 en_USEnglish