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Newsletters by Wendy Allen


April 2012

  • Shifting from complaint to request
  • Speaking out with love and savvy
  • Responding with Generosity
  • Empowering Each Other
  • Cherishing

The above are the 5 Winning Strategies that bring partners in relational intimacy. Each of them asks that your boundaries and egos are set appropriately, that your strengths are acknowledged, and that what comes out of your “worst self” is not only acknowledged but taken responsibility for. The individual, bottom-up work is being done  in a way that helps you participate in the above five tasks with hope and eagerness. They can bring you and your partner into a sweet place.

Fights don't have to last as long. Neither do debates, decision-makings, and defensiveness. We learn to get out of the red as fast as we can and into the green.

All of that individual and relational technique that we are using and getting good at brings us to #4: Empowering Each Other.

Give What You Can.

The old model of couples therapy,  negotiation and compromise are the solutions. Those are mutual solutions. Give What You Can arises from the flow of listening with generosity out of your Highest Self, as you would with you a friend.  It arises from good listening and validation from Feedback Wheel of How to Speak, How to Listen, and Shift from Complaint to Request. Give What You can is unilateral, not mutual.

Your partner has made a request of you. Sometimes its small, like, “please do your own dishes.” Sometimes its big, like “ When you're angry with me, please stop walking out the door.”

This is called the request. It is part of repair. The repair process is again,unilateral, not mutual. One partner asks for and receives help f4rom the other in order to move out of a state of acute discontent (disharmony) back into the experience of closeness and connection (harmony). The listener must put his/her needs aside. Your ego comes from wanting to get that feeling of coming from your Highest Self, not wanting to win.

In those first few moments of raw connection, the upset partner doesn't care all that much about you one way or another. What s/he needs to know is whether or not you care about him/her. Once you have demonstrated your care and sincerity, once you have addressed his/her concerns, then s/he might have an interest in you. But before that occurs, a distressed partner will perceive any bid on your part to focus on you as a deflection .Even with your best intentions, he/she will see this as you being ungiving, defensive, selfish, or evasive.


Wendy Allen, Ph.D, MFT is an expert in couples and marriage therapy. She has been practicing in Santa Barbara for almost 30 years. She is the only Marriage therapist in the tri-counties using the Real Relational Living model, from which all of these ideas are based upon.