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What’s your level of skill at being in close relationships?
I confide my thoughts and feelings regularly with my partner, with emotional openness.
I listen empathetically to my partner without interrupting to give my point of view
I recognize when I am overreacting and take responsibility to reduce and change inappropriate responses.
I express important hurt, fear or irritation directly (after listening thoroughly) to present a different perspective or request for change in a positive way.
I check out my partner’s intentions (rather than mind read) about puzzling behaviors or actions.
I make resolving issues to a win-win solution a priority (rather than seeking to be the “winner” of a disagreement).
I share my unspoken beliefs and expectations with my partner in order to avoid mind reading and misunderstandings.
I initiate asking for change when I feel resentful or disagree -- such as the division of responsibilities -- rather than stew about it silently.
I make play, recreation, pleasure and humor an important part of my relationship.
I know what my partner’s “buttons” are and refrain from pushing them intentionally.
I choose trust, truth, mutual respect and fidelity as the foundation of my lasting, loving relationship.
I encourage adequate autonomy, independence and breathing room in the relationship by having a good sized network of friends and community to balance my closeness.
I regularly express gratitude, appreciations, wishes, hopes and dreams to my partner.
I take responsibility for hurts inflicted in the relationship, and at the same time, choose to let go of grudges and forgive in order to move on to a positive future.
I work to develop a strong “sense of we” -- intentionally choosing to sometimes do activities my partner enjoys and create memories together, even if it is not my favorite thing to do.
SCORING- How many boxes did you check?
12-15 Excellent! You are a rare and very skilled partner! 7- 11 Pretty good -- and, there are definitely a few PAIRS skills to learn! 0-6 Better sign up for a PAIRS workshop… TODAY!
[Adapted with permission from “Premarital Counseling from a PAIRS Perspective”, in the Handbook of Couple’s Therapy, Lori Gordon, Robin Temple & Don Adams; Wiley, 2005.]
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