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We all face different relationship challenges and need reminders and opportunities in our daily life to grow and honour our relationships.

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To go with RELATIONSHIP TIP # 2:

JOURNAL PROMPTS

  1. What did you notice in your body when you visualized and felt yourself being criticized?
  2. Which of the suggested ways to remain open might be most successful for you?
  3. Put yourself into the other person’s shoes for a moment. What might the other person be longing for underneath their complaint or criticism?

Here are some examples:

Complaint: You never hold hands with me anymore.

Longing: I am longing for some affection and holding hands makes me feel loved and connected.

Complaint: Why is it so hard for you to say thank you?

Longing: I feel unappreciated and would really love it if you told me more often that you are grateful for what I do.

Complaint: You always overreact when I tell you bad news.

Longing: It would be much easier for me to tell you bad news if you stayed calm. Can you please take some deep breaths and take a moment before you respond?

  1. Did you discover a gift in what the other person said? Was there something for you to learn, change, or improve?

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To go with RELATIONSHIP TIP # 3:

PARTNER EXERCISE:

In all our relationships, we need to make amends at times for hurting another person’s feelings. Otherwise, these hurt feelings accumulate and cause resentment. Delivering effective apologies and accepting them gracefully is part of a functioning relationship. An apology delivered with an open heart and sincerity is a meaningful apology which can transform a relationship.

  1. Sit across from each other, look into your partner’s eyes, and breathe together for a few minutes. Just notice what’s going on in your body. Decide who is going first to deliver an apology and who is going second. One person is the RECEIVING PARTNER (R) first, the other one the DELIVERING PARTNER (D).
  2. D: Drop down into your heart and consider, what are most likely the other person’s fears, thoughts, experiences, stories, intentions and feelings?
  3. D: Validate and acknowledge their feelings. You could say something like, “You must have felt so hurt”, or “I understand why you felt like I didn’t care”, or “I am sorry you felt afraid”, or “I can see that your intention was to help”, or “I know that your parents preferred your brother when you were a child and how that has impacted you”, or “It makes sense that you would feel excluded when I did that”.
  4. D: Check with your partner if you got it right. If not, allow your partner to share. Listen actively and reflect back to them what you have heard.
  5. R: As the receiving partner, refrain from going into a lecture. Focus on your feelings and make “I” statements if you want to share your experience.
  6. D: Once you have understood your partner fully, look deeply into your partner’s eyes and deliver a sincere apology without using the words “but” or “if”. Make sure you take full responsibility for the impact you had on your partner.
  7. R: As the partner, accept the apology gracefully.  
  8. Share with each other what this exercise was like for you. Then take turns, going through step 2-7 again. This time, the apology delivering partner becomes the receiving partner.

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