This was posted by JamesJohn. It covers Michele's Keeping Love Alive series, and her book, Divorce Remedy.


Now it's time to get started on practicing some more specific tools. As we're working through these tools, it might help to have some particular situations in mind that you are wanting to experiment with. These don't have to be any drastic situations, and, in fact, it's ok if they're relatively small ones. It's also cool if you want to focus on a situation beyond your relationship with your partner, and maybe pick something having to do with kids, family, friends, business associates, or anyone else. Until you become more comfortable with these tools, try not to overwhelm yourself with seemingly impossible things to solve. It's ok to start out small, and remember to trust in the good old "butterfly effect"!

Have you had any wild ideas about how to handle a particular situation, but were "too conservative" to give it a try? How willing are you to "experiment with new recipes"? How willing are you to mix up some different "spices" in your old recipes to give your relationship a better taste?

#1 - Change Anything.

When it comes to some of the "problem" situations in your relationship, have you ever done anything to change the Who, the When, or the Where?

Do you have any problems that may stem from some of the "defined roles" in your relationship? For example, housework responsibilities, child-rearing roles, bill paying woes, etc., that are handled strictly by only one of you all of the time? Have you ever traded these tasks with better results?

Do you have any definite "battlegrounds", places where you end up fighting most of the time? Are there any places you can go that seem to be more conducive to more "harmonious", more problem-solving talking? Have you ever tried taking a heated discussion in a different room? Have you ever started out standing up, then sat down at any point, or vice-versa, just to change "anything"?

Is there a certain time of the day when you "always" fight? Do most of your problem times seem to happen at a certain time of the day, such as in the morning, right after work, or just before bed? Any other times in between? Certain days of the week? Any certain situations that trigger fights? For example, just before family trips, before or during visits with relatives? At what "times" do things seem to work out for the best? When do your talks seem to be most productive?

Do you have to get issues resolved immediately, where your partner may want to "sit on it" for awhile? (The issue, that is!) What are your "stalemate" situations that you can't seem to get resolved? How do you feel about agreeing to disagree? Would you be willing to take an "experimental attitude" about this situation, maybe go with the proposed solution of the one who feels strongest about it, supporting them without any negative intervention?

#2 - Do a 180.

What is the most frequent "dance" step you do with your partner? Do you "waltz" around issues when you should be doing the "two-step" over the top of them? Or vice-versa? What things do you "always" do as a reaction to what others are doing? Can you see any times where you thought you were doing a 180, when it was actually more of a 45 or 90?

What things would your partner say that you "always" do? How do you think that they would describe your actions, in just a few words? What things could you do that might "blow them away", make them stand up and take notice of you?

Like in the story about Paul and Ann, do you ever feed the "pity party" of your partner, spend too much time trying to "fix" them, get too wrapped up in their problems? Can you see how this may actually make YOU part of the problem?

Are there any 180's you tried once and didn't see an immediate reaction, so you then gave up on it?

Would you feel more comfortable with doing a 180 if you to think of it as something you were just "renting", maybe just trying on for size, instead of something you had to keep for the rest of your life?

#3 - Act As If.

Do you find yourself doing a lot of mind-reading when it comes to your partner? Do you make assumptions about their thoughts or feelings without checking in with them about it? Do you expect them to read YOUR mind?

Do you find that, at times, you are so absolutely sure that things are going to turn out bad, that you may actually be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? What do you think would happen if you were sure that things were going to turn out good? Have you ever done this, and had positive results? What are your thoughts about "You become what you think", in both the positive and negative aspects of life?

Do you find yourself playing "mood tag" with your partner, where you find yourself getting so wrapped up in their moods that those moods become yours also? Do you find yourself constantly thinking that their bad moods are your fault?

#4 - Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

Do you often rely too much on words to communicate, to get your point across? Do you often feel that your words aren't being heard? Do you find yourself talking louder and slower when you think someone's not understanding what you're saying? Repeating the exact same words over and over? Are you saying things that are tuning your partner out, maybe explaining things too much? Pushing them farther away instead of drawing them closer?

What are your thoughts about what Michele says about women focusing more on words, where men focus more on actions? Where do you find yourself relying too heavily on words instead of actions? What are your thoughts on "Easier done than said"?

In what ways could you transform your words into actions?

#5 - Power Packaging.

In what ways could you "package" your thoughts, idea, and even yourself, to appeal more to the "buyer" (your partner)? Are you planting any seeds towards peaking their interests? Are you losing any "sales" because you're trying to sell them in a way that would make YOU want to buy instead of a way that appeals more to THEIR interests?

What ARE some of your partner's real interests? What things do they seem to come alive over, that really excite them? What things, and subjects, can they start talking about, and it's hard to get them to shut up? What kind of projects can they really focus on, and get lost in doing?

#6 - The Medium is the Message.

Are you tired of having OR talks? Do you think your partner is? What other forms of communication can you think of besides talking? What other ways have you tried? Would you describe your partner as a person whose attention is drawn to sights, or sounds, touching, feeling and doing, hearing, or maybe smelling?

In what ways might you be able to "show" your partner that you love them instead of just saying the words? Which one of their senses might you be able to "tickle" that might draw their attention to you more? In what ways might you be able to "show" your partner your positive changes?

#7 - Do Nothing!

Are you a "fix-it addict"? Do you find it difficult to just let things go? Do you find yourself doing so many things that your partner has to do very little? Do you find yourself being run ragged by doing too many things, for too many people? Juggling too many balls in the air at once? If you do this, do you find any resentment building because of this?

Where do you "butt-in" where things could work out on their own? How many times do you interfere where you shouldn't? Where do you allow OTHER people to do nothing?

When you are always fixing things for other people, what kind of message do you think this sends to them? Might they feel that you think that they're incapable of fixing their own stuff? What would happen if you "dropped the rope" and started letting others do more? How much more time and energy would you have to work on your own stuff, especially with some of life's simple pleasures?

What are your thoughts on what Michele says about "Doing nothing is actually doing something"?

Remember to give these methods a chance before you dismiss any of them as not working. Take notice of the small changes over a period of time, and don't get discouraged too soon!

Are we ready to do a little brain-storming, and get the creative juices flowing?!?!