Tom and Sharon Baring, of Fairbanks Alaska, recently shared two exercises they have used in workshops. Try these out with your partner — or anyone you wish to become closer to! (And don’t forget to investigate our “exercises” section for other activities.)
Reflect, separately and/or together on the following prompt: G*L*A*D*
Gratitude – one thing you are grateful for about your partner/ relationship or as a result of your partner/relationship.
Learning – one thing you have learned as a result of your relationship, in general, about your partner, or about yourself.
Accomplishment – one thing you have accomplished, or are accomplishing now, as a result of your partner/relationship.
Delight – one thing that gives you delight about your partner/relationship.
6 Critical Life Messages
Parenting and teacher educator, Barbara Coloroso, names six messages we each need to “hear” in a variety of ways, every day, for healthy development. She calls them “critical life messages:”
- I believe in you.
- I trust you.
- I know you can handle this.
- You are listened to.
- You are cared for.
- You are very important to me.
6 Critical Life Messages for Couples
(Adapted from Barbara Coloroso)
Separately first and from your own experience, consider the relative strength of each of these critical life messages in your relationship today. Rate them on a scale of 1-5 (1-weak, 5-strong.) Are there some that are easier to say than others? Are there any you are willing to work on? Share with your partner.
- I believe in us. ______
- I trust us. ______
- I know we can handle this. ______
- I listen to us. ______
- I care for us. ______
- Our relationship is very important to me. ______
Separately, again, choose one Critical Life Message you will work on to strengthen your relationship. List 3 things that will help you to do so.
from Sharon and Tom Baring, adapted from Barbara Coloroso’s work. 7/17