Thinking Before You Talk

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You know how sometimes conversations with your partner go wrong practically before you even start to talk?

You have the power to make conversations safer, more connected, and more satisfying, before you even start to talk.

Read on for five quick tips on what to think through before the words even come out of your mouth.

1) The ONE Focus

Choose only ONE thing to talk about.

What is ONE part of ONE thing that you want to discuss? Get clear in your own mind first.

Too much: How do we want to redecorate the house?
ONE great focus: What paint color would we like for the main wall in the living room?


Yes, there are so many things to talk about. After your successful conversation about this ONE focus, you can choose the next one.

2) How You Feel

Figure out how you feel about that one thing. Be clear with yourself, so you can let your partner know when you bring up this conversation. Try to be specific with yourself – if you feel “upset” can you narrow that down – sad? annoyed? confused? When you’re clear, and then you let your partner know, they will be better able to connect with you and your emotions in the moment.


3) Your Conversation Goals

  • What do you want from the conversation?
  • What do you want to happen?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • What do you want at the end of the conversation?

The clearer you are before you bring it up, the clearer you can be with your partner.

For example:

►do you want your partner to simply listen to you while you let them know what’s been going on, and have a long hug at the end? Or,

►do you want your partner’s advice about different ideas for fixing a problem that you have. These are really different goals!

You’ll both feel more calm and in control if you know up front what your goals are.


4) Appreciation for Your Partner

To help your state of mind, and get ready for opening your conversation with your partner, think back to when you had a successful conversation with your partner similar to the kind you want to have today, or when you observed your partner talking in this way with someone else. Remember what you appreciated about your partner, including some details of it.

Take a few moments to really appreciate and be grateful for the ways your partner participated before.


5) When and Where

When you sit down to talk together, when is a good time for both of you? Good energy, no distractions, no interruptions. Think about times when you won’t be stressed or hurried, and can be alone together.

Where is a good place, where you generally feel cozy and comfortable together? The room in the house, the bench outside, or the walk you go on, where you tend to enjoy each other.


Keep This in Mind

Next time you want to have a conversation with your partner, rather than just starting to talk, take some time to reflect on these points so you’re clear before you even say anything. You’ll both feel better when the time for the conversation arrives.

Every couple has a door between them. How open is yours?

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Dr. Sarah Rattray 201910

Hi there I'm Dr Sarah Rattray

For over 30 years I've helped couples get closer and more connected by strengthening your communication. I'm known for my wise, grounded, caring energy, and for providing clear, practical steps you can take right away to improve the way you talk with each other.

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