(Part 2 in a 3-Part Series on Marriage)
Now that Pete and Pam have learned to fight fair, they’re ready to move on to emotional intimacy, that elusive certain something separating married couples into categories of roommates versus best
Dr. Doug Weiss taught us an exercise called “Three Dailies” and on the surface it may sound like a childish game at best and psychobabble at worst. But Pete and Pam are finding it surprisingly helpful to their relationship, and I challenge you to give it three months before you judge. If, as a couple, you practice this faithfully for 90 days and still find yourself in the same old rut, I promise to give you back every penny.
Part One: Feelings.
Pete and Pam went online and found a list of Feelings words here but you can use Google to find others. Either randomly point to words on the list or choose them systematically. Pete and Pam decided to pick one word from the front of the list and one at the end and work their way to the middle.
Once they’ve selected two feelings, they each think of how to complete the following sentences and take turns going first. The script looks like this:
Pete: “I feel ___ when ______” (This example should be fairly recent.)
And “I remember feeling ____ when _____.” (This example is from under the age of 18.)
Then Pam takes her turn. They repeat the process using the second feeling, and Pam starts. Don’t forget three important rules:
Rule 1: No examples ever about your spouse or the relationship during this exercise. You can easily see why breaking this rule could lead to a train wreck. Suppose the word is “embarrassed” and Pam says “I feel embarrassed when you wear your purple shirt.” Introducing conflict is not the point here.
Rule 2: Maintain eye contact.
Rule 3: No feedback when someone shares a feeling, just listen to them. (Although Pam and Pete often find themselves going further into conversation, particularly when one of them shares a childhood story the other has never heard.)
Part Two: Praises.
Each partner thinks of two things they love, like, or appreciate about the other. When both have thought of two things to say, they ping pong their praises. Here’s a sample script:
Pete: “Pam, I really appreciate the supper you made tonight.”
Pam: “Thank you. Pete, I really love how hard you’re working on becoming a better dad.”
Pete: “Thank you. Pam, I like how you smile even when you’re stressed out.”
Pam: “Thank you. Pete, I appreciate you filling the gas tank today.”
Pete: “Thank you.”
Be sure to truly receive the praise before you respond with thanks.
Part Three: Prayer.
Regardless of your beliefs or whether you’ve ever prayed aloud, you can do this. First one spouse prays and then the other. Yes, out loud. This can be as simple as Pete saying, “God bless Pam in her job interview today,” and Pam saying, “God, please help Pete when he sees the doctor this afternoon.” Bonus points if you hold hands or hug while you pray. Later, you’ll want to move on to including prayers for your kids or others.
I can guarantee the Three Dailies will feel awkward at first. But if you stick with it, you may find yourself with a new best friend right in your own home. Are 15 minutes a day too much to invest in your #1 relationship? Establish a daily time and have fun with it!