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The marriage skills e-mail series includes:

  1. It's all about listening.
  2. How affair-proof is your marriage?
  3. "What the !@#$*?" How fights start.
  4. What kind of marriage problems should I look out for?
  5. What are the keys to supportive & intimate relationships?
  6. 10 reasons anger hurts your marriage.
  7. The sexless marriage checklist.
  8. Stop trying to help! Or... how to be a supportive partner.
  9. How can you fix your relationship?
  10. What is Good Communication?

Yes, And Worksheet

Successful marriage rests on keeping both of you important. Digestive Listening with yes, followed by your own perspective linked with and, validates that both of you have contributions to add.

  • Polly: Taking airplanes is foolish given how many crashes there have been lately.
  • Ezra: Yes, there have been a frightening number of recent air disasters, and at the same time, if we don’t fly we would miss my sister’s wedding, which I would feel just terrible about.

The example above actually has four important parts:

  • 1. Start with the word yes.
  • 2. Digest Aloud what you have heard, finding something to agree with in the provocative statement.
  • 3. Add the word and, leaning on it to emphasize that you are adding rather than subtracting information.
  • 4. Then add your perspective.

Some statements are likely to be particularly tempting to answer with a "but." With practice, you can respond even to provocative statements that seem to make no sense or to be blatantly wrong with a yes, and. This worksheet will help you to practice this skill.

  • Statement: Children who don’t behave in class should be given a dunce cap.
  • Yes, and response: (1) Yes, (2) a dunce cap certainly could be dramatic punish­ment, (3) and, (4) I would worry that it would make these children even less likely to try hard in school.

Fill in the blanks below with the four steps of the yes, and formula: (1) say yes, (2) digest what you can agree with, (3) add and, then (4) add your own views.

How’d you do? Compare your answers to some sample Power of Two responses:

    Yes, no parole would keep potentially dangerous criminals off the street, and at the same time, I’m concerned about how expensive it is to keep people locked up.

    Yes, carpooling would sure help with congestion and car emissions, and I really like the luxury of being able to have my own schedule and private space in the car.

    Yes, I do like the idea of there being someone who was truly made just for me, it’s so romantic, and at the same time, life gets complicated and it’s important to me to learn skills for keeping that romance going when stuff hits the fan.

    Yes, it’s true that the lawn is a big project. I was so appreciative that you got it mowed and trimmed and looking so nice last Sunday. And, at the same time, I’m totally overwhelmed with the laundry. I just can’t keep up and really need some help.

    I do really appreciate how rarely you’re home late. Actually, it’s amazing that we basically manage to have dinner together every night. That’s one of my favorite things. And, at the same time, I was a real wreck when I couldn’t figure out where you were. I was so worried and upset that the dinner I’d worked on was kind-of ruined.

Accepting a variety of perspectives is a hallmark of maturity. As individuals grow emotionally and intellectually, they come to realize that the world is complex, with most issues having many aspects. To see the world from your spouse’s point of view doesn’t mean that your spouse’s view needs to replace your own. It just means that you are augmenting what you see by also taking in your spouse’s understandings.

Most of the strategies for dealing with differences that you will be learning in the chapters ahead depend on yes, and skills. Without this ability, every time you and your spouse have differing views, you are at risk for a tug-of-war. However, if you succeeded in writing yes, and responses to the provocative sentences above, odds are you are ready to use yes, and responses with your spouse as well. Remember, whatever your partner says must have something worth trying to understand. It’s up to you to find what makes sense, utilize it, and add to it.

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