Relationship Communication Tool

After my last blog I thought it would be useful to describe one of the relationship tools that foster insight into why partners end up yelling and swearing about seemingly inconsequential matters. The tool is called The Awareness Wheel and it is from a book called "Alive and Aware" by Miller, Nunnally and Wackman. So don't hesitate in buying the original text if the ideas here work for you.

To begin, choose an issue that frequently causes problems in your relationship. For the purposes of this blog I'll use the basic task of paying bills because it keeps the exercise nice and simple. Now imagine a wheel that has five segments. The segments are titled: Sensing, Thinking, Feeling, Wanting, Action. Each segment represents your own thoughts and observations regarding the issue at hand. What I would have a couple do is write down within each segment what they often experience when discussing the problem. The Sensing segment can include any physical observation (e.g. your own anxious feelings or the tension you see in your partner) or Intuition (e.g. the "tension" in the room).

The other segments are far more self-explanatory. Try to be exhaustive and honest with all your thoughts. If a discussion regarding bill payment makes you "almost" suspect that your partner doesn't trust you, write it down. Same goes for your desires, emotions and what plans you can make to "harm minimise"in the future.

What you do with the insights you get from the wheel is up to what you feel needs to happen. Do you need to be more honest about your what concerns you? Maybe even try to think about how your partner would fill out the wheel. If you do this try to remember they have their own insecurities but also keep in mind the love or fondness they have for you. You may also want to try and play The Devil's Advocate so you can broaden your perspective on your partner's motivations.

I have found this device great for insight but also how these insights can lead to more constructive, less emotion-driven action.