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Share Before You Fix

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 10, 2017



John Gottman, noted American couples therapist, has some wonderful ideas around good communication. One I particularly like is the concept that you have to share before you can fix.

What this means is that when you have something you need to discuss or resolve, it’s important that the two of you take the time to share how you feel about the situation before you try finding ways of solving the situation.


You need to speak about your feelings until you each feel heard. You’ll know when you’ve reached that point because there will be a shift in the energy between you, you’ll feel a coming together, a sense of connection and being in sync.

Once you have that feeling, then, and only then, do you start to look at options and explore ways of dealing with the issue.

If you go into the fixing before you’ve done the sharing of feelings then one or both of you will feel frustrated at not being heard. That frustration can manifest as anger or giving up, neither of which are useful emotions to have when trying to resolve something and move forward.

It can be with the best of intention that you go into fixing mode too early. When one hears the other’s problem they quite probably feel that to help their partner they need to find solutions. But no, not only do you have to allow your partner to express how they feel about the situation, you also need to express how you feel about that situation.

Sometimes people feel that they shouldn’t express their feelings, that they should be logical and go straight into solution mode. But without the feeling behind it, there isn’t the full raft of information at hand, so you’re short changing yourself. You’re also likely to miss what’s most important (which might actually be that no solution is needed, simply expressing is enough).

I’ve written elsewhere about how you need to sink in to sync in for good sex. It applies to all aspects of intimacy, including communicating. It you want quality communication, which is an element of good quality on-going sex, then you also need to sink in to sync in. The sinking in is expressing how you feel and the syncing in is then working on a solution.


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