Skillful Thoughts

Series F – Improve Your Relationships & Marriage

Download Series F

Underlined thoughts diminish you – Thoughts with dots empower you

F-3 Relationship Tools:

My spouse ruins every TV program by talking during the clues, punch lines, and final analyses.

  • By listening more intently most of the time, it will be easier for me to get him or her on pause at the critical times.
  • You and your spouse choose a signal which means “Zip-it” for the moment; I will get back to you as soon as I can get free.



F-2 Clarifying Your Feelings (See also Downloadable Series E, Topics 6 & 7):

Once she starts to complain she never lets up.

  • If I let her know that she has been heard she will let up.
  • If she knows I have acted on something she has said she’ll think I am wonderful.



F-3 Relationship Clues & Cures:

My husband just closes up.

  • He’s being the way he is because I’m being the way I’m being.
  • I just learned that people who live in disapproval all stop talking.
  • I guess I can’t expect a lot of affection if I don’t give any.
  • He knows I never let up once I start.
  • Now that he is listening more I praise him more; it’s a shame it took me so long to get that.
  • Men tend to deal in issues; women tend to deal in feelings.



F-4 Fixing, Resisting & Controlling:

My daughter refuses to listen.

  • If I can be more of a fan and less of a coach, she will seek out my company rather than try to get away from my cautions and criticisms.
  • If I show her lifestyles she likes; it may encourage her to strive for them, without me trying to push her.
  • If I had been more interested, available and approachable when she was young she’d be less inclined to fall for the first guy who seem good.



F-5 The Secret to Fix Others:

I feel powerless to get my son to be neater.

  • I will praise him enthusiastically when he puts things away.
  • I will not complain.
  • I will remind myself that “My inclination to be neat doesn’t trump his inclination to be messy”.
  • I will negotiate which areas can be messy which areas need to be standing tall.



F-6 The Bubble Concept:

When my boss uses harsh tones everyone in the office wants to quit.

  • He alienates everyone and will not change.
  • He has a good heart and doesn’t mean any harm by his gruff manner.
  • He has a bubble where most of us have people skills.
  • Because I accept him the way he is, he confides in me and gives me more responsibility.
  • I have become valuable to him, and my associates know that when they need to get something from him I can get it done.



F-7 Reducing Conflict:

When my husband casts me in a bad light in front of friends I get furious.

  • I will explain to him that when he tells others my faults it makes me feel unloved and disrespected. If you have problems with me I wish you would tell me. If you do I will listen.
  • An affectionate response in public: “What would your life be like if you didn’t have me to nag?”
  • A humorous response (in a group): “I’ll stop nagging when you stop wearing my clothes.”
  • If he responds like he still doesn’t get it, tell him in private “Our friends have told me that it makes them uncomfortable when you criticize me in front of them.”
  • If that doesn’t work say that to him in a group so all can hear.

I can’t get my child to learn.

  • I will test to see whether John has physical problems like hearing or vision, emotional problems, a social problems, or bubbles?
  • I will get him any therapy, tutor or tools what will help him in class.

How can I make it easier for him or her?

  • To validate my son I will support his non-school interests more so my push for better grades doesn’t seem like the only thing I care about.
  • I will try to get my daughter into activities with kids who are more ambitious than her current classmates; or do the things she likes best.
  • I will try to expose my daughter to experiences that may spark her interest.

I can’t get my husband to stop; he bounces checks even when we have money.

  • It’s a blessing that he can bring home the bacon.
  • I will try to cover for him.
  • Accounting is a bubble we both have. I’ll look for a bookkeeper we can afford or who can mentor us.

I am a neat nick and my wife is Mrs. T J Max; it’s never the same pace twice.

  • Looks like I will be living in a lot more clutter than I want.
  • She sees value in everything.
  • I can live with it if she’ll keep her collecting out of the office, the garage and the front of the house.

I can’t control my temper.

  • I have been using my temper to get my own way.
  • I use my temper when I can’t justify what I want.
  • My relationships will improve now that I am more empathetic.
  • I getting it; the emotions I use I choose and I am responsible for.



F-8 Making Your Point:

He gets difficult about too many things.

  • I will tell him that I am considering changing something about how we interact.
  • If we make this change I want you to be happy with it.
  • What are your ideas on the matter?
  • Let’s try it out long enough to get used to it and change our change if it isn’t working?

He seems to like confrontations.

  • I avoid discussions that are likely to get confrontational.
  • I can be more persuasive if I wait for the right moment to present my case.
  • I don’t feel the need to win, just to be heard.



F-9 Arguments are Opportunities for A Peace Process:

All I do is defend myself and everyone thinks I’m a terrible person.

  • My protestations tell others that I would rather be defensive or escalate the matter than take responsibility for behavior they consider inappropriate.
  • I am beginning to get it; my anger is to get my own way or to keep me from having to defend what I say.

My anger causes others to shut me out which only makes me madder.

  • If I truly valued anyone else I would never show my anger.
  • I am learning that my anger disrespects others.
  • Before I can regain some friendships I will have to be more civil for a long time.



F-10 Dwindling Romance:

I have quit trying because he’s so set in his ways.

  • What am I doing that triggers or prolongs his stubbornness?.

I will:

  • Stop trying to control or fix him.
  • Give up all of my resentment.
  • Show more interest in the things he does.
  • Show him appreciation
  • Be more affectionate
  • Assume the responsibility for my own happiness



F-11 Refreshing – Your Relationship:

She uses the silent treatment all the time. I am beginning to get it. When I don’t listen to her hurts, it tarnishes our relationship.

  • I eventually do everything she asks but I am not careful to acknowledge that I am doing it in response to her request.
  • If I started to put some of her things near the top of my to-do list, my stuff would still get done, and she wouldn’t think I was wonderful.
  • I will set aside time for an old fashioned date on a regular basis.
  • I will show more interest in the things she does.

I’ve given up on him; he’s a workaholic.

  • Maybe I am not that interesting to come home to.
  • Maybe I need interests of my own so I have something interesting to talk about
  • He isn’t going to give me more time if I continue to withhold my appreciation, approval, and affection.
  • The more fun I am the more time he will try to make for us.
  • I’ll go out of my way to show him thanks?
  • Every other Wednesday I’ll plan a date.
  • Every day we will set aside 10 minutes to chat and coordinate our efforts; no criticisms allowed.
  • If I show more interest in his work he will make more time for my company.