The Boot Camp process is a simple, but DIFFICULT process. Most couples start litigating who’s right and who’s wrong which generally gets you NO WHERE fast! You must start with the CONNECTION because this is what you are fighting for!
Once you have established what you are fighting for, then you can take on the issue that has disrupted the connection. Remember, according to researcher Dr. John Gottman 69% of all couples conflict is UNRESOLVABLE! Find ways to make room for each other instead of trying to get your mate to agree.
With this in mind, use this methodical, step-by-step approach:
1. Focus on ONE ISSUE with a complete A-B-C picture (ACTION-BELIEF-CONSEQUENCE).
2. Take turns listening to each person’s perspective and feelings. Limit this to 3-4 minutes.
3. Mirror and validate each other’s perspective. If they miss a part say, “you got this right, and I want you to also understand this”. Take a couple of turns until you feel well heard.
4. Take turns sharing your best-case solution. This can be completely selfish.
5. Mirror and validate each other’s perspective.
6. Take turns sharing what you would be willing to settle for.
7. Mirror and validate each other’s perspective.
8. Finally, negotiate a mutual resolution
The first step is to agree on ONE issue that BOTH of you want to resolve. Keep the topic focused and short. Avoid snowballing! Once you agree on the single issue, SEPARATE and break the issue down into A-B-C. DO THIS PART SEPARATELY!
A – What ACTION started the conflict.
B – What is your personal BELIEF about the action.
C – What is the CONSEQUENCE of this belief?
Take some time really thinking this through. Don’t solve it yet! Write it down.
Take turns sharing your view of the conflict. Give your side of the issue; describe in as much detail as possible and share how this makes you feel. When one is talking the other is listening so that the listener can mirror and validate. )The listener will have to wait until after mirroring to share their perspective but you will have a turn)!
When the first person has shared their perspective, the second person mirrors and validates. This is difficult because you don’t agree with this (that’s why you’re fighting ;))
“What I heard you say is…” and “I hear that you feel…” Now the listener does STEP 2 and the other person listens respectfully. After both sides have been heard, go to STEP 4.
The BCS is a personal, perhaps selfish, perspective. You will share exactly how you would like this conflict to be resolved and your partner will do the same. Don’t get heated! This is simple information gathering.
“What I heard you say is…” and “I hear that you feel…” your partners BCS.
Now that you’ve heard your partner’s BCS and you know what you want, What are you willing to settle for in order to get back to a place of warmth and connection?
“What I heard you say is…” and “I hear that you feel…”
You now have enough information to negotiate openly so go ahead and talk about the best way to take this “rock out of your duffle”. Most couples start at step 6 which is a recipe for disaster!
Work the steps and find your way through conflict in a way that gives you the best shot at your own “happily ever after!”
Tools for your marriage can all be found in the Marriage Boot Camp Book – Defeat the Top 10 Marriage Killers and Build a Rock Solid Relationship by Elizabeth & Jim Carroll
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – FIGHT FOR STRONGER CONNECTION
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