Speaking Without Consequence

One of the things I encourage couples to do, from the first time I meet them, is allow their partner to "speak without consequence". What that means is giving your partner an opportunity to convey their thoughts, complaints, concerns, fears, whatever it may be, without immediately giving a rebuttal or any sort of emotional response. The only response is to acknowledge whether or not you UNDERSTAND their statement.

So often, when our partner is talking about something important, we immediately begin drafting our response in our head, so we don't always hear what they are saying, or are able to listen to see what they are ACTUALLY asking for. Too often, we make a snap judgement, craft our response, and then simply wait until we have a chance to speak.

"Speaking without consequence" is the exact opposite of that. Since you are not responding, you are giving your full attention to the speaker. The benefits of this are immediate: you actually hear your partner and are better able to understand what they want, and the speaker feels valued and validated because their concerns are truly listened to.

This is not the same as agreeing with everything your partner says, but as you probably have experienced, a great deal of the frustration and conflict in a relationship arises because one person doesn't feel like they are being heard or listened to. 

I would be happy to help teach you and your partner how to do this. It really is a game-changer.