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Couple ExercisesSave Your Relationship

Introduction to the living journal

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and to understand your unique situation. The fact that you are struggling in your relationship, and through the decision you have made to seek help, presents you with a unique opportunity to transform your life together into a miraculous journey. There is nothing more important than the quality of your relationship. When your relationship is solid, when you are loving and feeling loved and secure, you have a base from which you can grow and expand in other areas of your life.

To get the most out of this program, it is essential that you put your relationship at highest priority for the next 3-4 months. This program works but only if you put your heart and soul into it. To take this experience casually, or to expect that something is going to be done for you without you doing the necessary self reflection and honest self evaluation will only lead to modest gains if any at all.

The program has two legs to it, both of them are important to maximize the benefit you receive. The first leg is journal work. Journal writing is a powerful tool that enables you to know and understand yourself on deeper levels which is an essential condition for the growth of your relationship. When you are writing out your thoughts and feelings you immediately have a mirror to your inner world. Most of us have enormous resistances to looking at ourselves. That is OK and you are not alone. But the value in moving forward, despite your resistances, enables you to eliminate the barriers to your own happiness and fulfillment, which is within you.

What is your relationship attachment style? Take this quiz and find out.

One of the greatest resistance to putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper is the fear of being “discovered” by someone else, and so we tend to fudge on our honesty with ourselves. We don’t want anyone else to know “how or who we really are” and so we fail to really get to know ourselves. Without honest self awareness you will tend to turn your feelings into judgments, criticisms, accusations and blame, none of which will further the love that you desire to create. I suggest getting an 8½ by 11 notebook that you can call your “personal journal” in which you can keep the exercises I’ll be giving you.

The second leg is where we meet together with you and your partner to help you develop your capacity for open, honest communication. Here is where you will learn to share your feelings, needs and wants but from a “different place” than before. You will learn a basic technique of using your journal writing as a tool for communication. You will learn to let go of the habitual need to dominate, control, criticize, judge, accuse, avoid and blame which is toxic to you and your relationship; when you can learn to share your feelings from a place of personal responsibility you have the basis to turn any negative feeling or situation into a loving encounter. Any upset (and you will continue to have them) can either be shared and talked about or you can turn it into control or avoidance. When you are able to talk through feelings and reach “emotional closure” you won’t accumulate baggage that tends to contaminate other parts of your life and relationship.

Click here to take one of our self-tests to learn more about yourself.

Go to the next journaling exercise: Introduction to the living journal

Click here to download the pdf version.

*Journaling exercises written by Cort Curtis, Ph.D, used with permission.