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  • Kevin Patton

Just Listen

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Sometimes when emotions rise, our reasonable intelligence, and even our kindness, goes down. We might instead exchange tense statements, angry glances and verbal barbs. Clearly, this is not going to improve one's sex life. So how can you stop this cycle in its tracks, before the conversation declines into the abyss?

This exercise can be called: "You sit in my seat." Yes, it's slightly unnatural and will require some effort from both of you. But it can help break the cycle of poor communication.

Develop an agreed-upon code word or phrase you will use the minute you sense things are on the decline; you want to make an important statement; or just really need your partner's attention. Make it simple: "Can I have my three minutes now please?" is a statement that will work just fine.

The person who requested the time goes first, as the speaker.

Set a timer so the statement lasts no more than three actual minutes. This means the speaker must gather his/her thoughts, be precise and succinct.

The listener simply listens - no comments, no facial expressions, no challenging what is being said.

Now change seats. The listener is now in the speaker's seat and the speaker is now the listener.

The first listener now gets to repeat - to the very best of his or her ability - exactly what they heard their partner say. REMEMBER: This is the new pattern, so no embellishments, no interpretations, no defending yourself, no making it your own speech (even if it’s tempting to do so).

Return to your original seat and thank each other for taking the time for this exercise.

If the first speaker didn't feel properly heard - guess what? The first speaker needs to take another turn, to express their thoughts more clearly.

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