Ada — In marriage, we can find ourselves hurting our partner, and being hurt by our partner on a regular basis. Even though we might be diligent in confessing and apologizing for wrongs to each other, continuing the same hurt over and over can make our partner wonder how committed to change we are, and how safe he/she feels with us. Remember, safety comes before love.
The healthiest way I know to deal with repetitive hurts in an ongoing relationship is the Issue Resolution Technique. If you use it the way it is designed without modification, you may find yourself resolving your longstanding issues safely, and in less than five minutes.
There are three steps to the technique. Step one is “Setting it Up.” One person goes to his/her partner and says, “Honey, I have something important to talk about. When would be a good time? The approached partner gets to pick the time. I suggest it be as soon as possible, but no longer than 24 hours away. I know this sounds like a simple step, but you will discover that setting it up this way will help eliminate many failed attempts to discuss something all the way through to a solution because you demanded the discussion happen immediately. Your partner may agree to the demand, but you run the risk of him/her listening resenfully, or not fully attending to what you are saying because they are still thinking about that program he/she was watching that only comes on once a year, or is a series, and they are missing an important part of the ongoing story.
It is in your best interest to let him/her pick the time. There will be less of a chance that he/she will be angry. You have a better chance of having his/her full attention. And, it feels good when someone important to you sets aside specific time to talk about something that is important to you.