Make Love Not Conflict [Discussion with Jonathon Robinson, Psychotherapist]

Make Love Not Conflict [Discussion with Jonathon Robinson, Psychotherapist]

– communication is key for a healthy relationship
– it can be the difference between people liking or disliking you
– it is about communicating to the outside world as people cannot read your mind
– good communication is about how to build trust
– it also involves showing interest, listening well while also being human & vulnerable
– it involves saying what you appreciate about a person
– for e.g. Saying/showing how much you appreciate your partner (not criticising them)
[Gottman Institute ratio 5:1 positive to negative]
[sandwich techniques for communication]

– Acknowledgment Formula [can be applied to all relationships with people]
– It is about making your partner feel understood & to validate their feelings
– What we want in a relationship – more than anything else – is that our partner understands us
– It sounds like blank – it must be a blank *********************************
[the formula is better than saying you disagree or agree with them]
[you are acknowledging your partner’s reality & how they are feeling]
[your partner will not care about what you have to say until you have listened & acknowledged what they have to say – is helps the partner to calm down]
[it involves walking in their shoes & grows intimacy & understanding of your partner]
[It involves giving up the idea of defending ourselves and showing how wrong our partner is]
[physical cues – such as putting a hand on a partner’s shoulder – can also prove useful & further reinforce the idea of calming down – also reciprocates & encourages more contact]******

– idea of also being aware & using mindfulness / knowing what you are feeling & needing [technique – ask yourself these two questions: what am I feeling? What am I needing?]
– idea of advanced mindfulness [ask yourself these two questions: what is my partner feeling? What is my partner needing?]
– this is often not obvious – for e.g. Your partner tells you about their crappy day & you then tell them how to fix it etc., when in fact they may be seeking nurturance & reassurance they are doing the right thing & in fact want a hug
– you can even ask rather than just assume you know what is going on (watch tone of voice & what you say as it may carry implications of non-support/frustration with them)
– you can even admit you are not sure what your partner is feeling
– learn also to watch & read non-verbal signs
[always about working out what is best to say & there is much subtlety to it]

– he say there are 2 types of couples:
1) those who never argue [be more real, & say what you are thinking]
2) those who argue too much
– hug & breathe together to connect (for one minute)
– use acknowledgment formula
– [rather than blaming]
– “yellow light” – proceed with caution – time out/goes for a walk/ listen to a song / pat the dog & then resolve in 5 or 10 minutes [agreement to say “yellow light”][note it is not shelving something indefinitely] – idea of pausing during an argument

– relationships are about giving empathy to each other
– relationships are also then about solving problems efficiently together (such as brainstorming 3 different ways we could handle this, & the situation then becomes a negotiation rather than a blame game)

Other tips:
– expressing gratitude to your partner -ask yourself: what do I appreciate about them today?
– all stages of life – have a date night (no problems, no issues discussed)
– what 3 features/characteristics do you want in a partner & then work out where you would meet such a person

Source: Relationships Advice Podcast / date: 1 November 2016

******* see Gottman’s “emotional bids” or emotional connections @


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