By Rob Furlong
A constant theme when talking or writing about marriage and relationships is that of communication.
It is acknowledged that good, clear communication is a vital aspect of all relationships and over the years there has been some very helpful advice given, along with practical steps on how to enhance this part of our relationships and interaction with others.
A really good one that my wife, Karen and I have been using over recent years is the Community Temperature Reading which has been developed by Pete and Geri Scazzero.
The genius of the CTR is that it gets people talking about different areas of their lives in ways that are natural and fun.
The emphasis, and I stress this, is on brief sharing and the method allows everyone to participate! You will notice a picture of the CTR in this article which provides a helpful visual as we look at the steps involved.
We begin with appreciations or excitements. This is an opportunity for you to express appreciation to someone for something they have done or to share your excitement about something coming up.
"I am excited about the camping trip we have planned for next weekend" or "I so appreciate it when you make me a cup of coffee without me having to ask for it or expect it."
So often we miss the opportunity to thank people for the small things they do or never give voice to something that we are genuinely looking forward to!
Worries, puzzles and concerns are precisely that. They are the things that we do not have an answer to and are causing us some level of anxiety.
"I'm worried about John. His exam is next week, but he has been so sick he has been unable to study and I am concerned he might fail."
"I'm puzzled why Gertrude has not answered my email. I sent it two days ago and I have not heard from her."
Using this type of language frees us to speak about our concerns, but in a non-judgemental way.
And then there are complaints and possible solutions.
Instead of launching into a tirade that begins along the lines of "I don't like the way you..." or "I'm sick and tired of..." why not try this approach:
"I've noticed that you often leave the toilet seat up. I would prefer that you put it down when you are finished." (This is a common complaint I am sure many men have heard before, but notice the way in which it is expressed along with a possible solution!)
Too often we simply like to complain as a way of expressing our displeasure at something. The CTR method challenges us to also come up with a creative solution to the complaint, allowing people to be honest but to also (hopefully) resolve frustrations.
New information is simply something new that you have not shared yet.
"I received a great review from my boss today!"
"I've booked us in to see Avengers: End Game tomorrow!"
The CTR concludes with hopes and wishes.
What are you hopeful or dreaming about?
"I hope our upcoming holiday will be relaxing and life-giving."
"I would really like to take guitar lessons this year!"
The CTR can be used in a variety of situations.
Two friends over a cup of coffee.
A couple having dinner or by a family around the meal table.
Or as a new addition to your staff meetings!
It is a wonderful way to allow people to express themselves in ways they may not be used to and our experience is that it encourages and enhances genuine community among people.
Why not aim to use it two to three times a week?
I am confident your relationship will be the richer for it.
Make it a priority over the next month to take the temperature of your relationship!•