Touch while talking or arguing

Submitted by CuriousFellow on
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This awesome suggestion came from http://www.sixwise.com/Newsletters/2009/June/17/Are-You-at-Risk-of-an-Un.... (They have a free email newsletter with lots of articles about everyday living, nutrition, etc.)

Consider agreeing in the good times to always hold hands softly and tenderly while discussing any point or issue, even during arguments. This keeps most people positively connected and keeps them from raising their voices or tempers.

I think I would stress the "always". If she talks to me while not touching me, I'll pretend I didn't hear it.

Tried it, unilaterally

About 10 days ago I posted the above mentioned article prominently on the refrigerator door, with the section quoted above highlighted.

This morning, when I went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for myself, Zoe was already there cooking some stuff for the next few meals. We stood next to each other preparing and cooking. Zoe started with her usual list of complaints. Before she could get very far, I put my arm around her and asked, "Did you read that article?" Since she wasn't looking at me, I leaned around to look at her face. She seemed to be suppressing a smile. I think Mona Lisa may have been one of her ancestors.

"What article?" "The one in the middle of the refrigerator door with the highlighting." "No." (Hmm, not sure I believe that, but anyway...) "Well would you please read it sometime, at least the highlighted section?"

She resumed her complaining, I resumed preparing breakfast. Sometimes, if I felt compelled to answer or say something, I would put my arm around her before speaking - and sometimes I would just speak without touching her.

I had expected this "touch while talking" suggestion to work as advertised, and even to work if applied unilaterally, but I am surprised at how consistently it worked. When I would touch her, I didn't feel any annoyance and I didn't say anything that would escalate the complaining. But when I didn't touch her, it was just the usual defensiveness and verbal sparring. She: "You always do such-and-so." Me: "Well, you do that too. Yesterday you did yada-yada."

This suggestion is also very Morita-therapy-like in some ways: it can be practiced unilaterally without the partner's participation, and it mainly seems to affect the person who's doing it. It certainly affected my feelings and behavior, but it didn't seem to have much effect on Zoe, except indirectly, in the sense that I was saying fewer things to get her riled up.

Zoe continued with her complaints, and after a couple minutes of that with no end in sight, I walked out of the kitchen and went elsewhere to do some work while waiting for Zoe to finish cooking and leave the kitchen. After a while she came out and mildly announced that she had made lunch and I could help myself. Normally I would expect her to be more angry.

Not a bad outcome from that experiment. I will continue to apply gentle pressure to get Zoe to read that article and encourage her to try it.

Awesome Suggestion!

Hi Curious,

As Marnia noted above, I tried it and was impressed by how well it worked. I found that it helped BOTH people even if only one was doing it purposefully ("Stealth Karezza"). I would put the emphasis on "tenderly" as well as "always".

P.

She's On To Me

Day 3 of Stealth Karezza and she's on to me. After dinner, sitting out on the deck with the kids off doing whatever kids do, I pulled my chair over beside her and "absent mindedly" stroked her arm. We were talking about this and that when suddenly she looked at me and said, "OK, why the sudden change?" I'm chuckling inside, because I've been working on change for a long time now, but I haven't been successful at getting her to recognize it.

This is far from scientific, but I'm convinced that it was skin to skin contact that revived the spark in her eyes.

So, I talked about everything but Karezza. I have ordered the Peace book. When it comes, I'll suggest we read it together. Until then, I'm going to keep the magic of Stealth Karezza going. Later, while I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher, I got a spontaneous hug. OMG, this is the most fun I've had in AGES!

What fun!

You're lucky to have such a loving goddess.

Sorry you ordered "Peace." "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" is the update of it. Not only is the research up to date, it also has a simplified version of the Exchanges, which is more user friendly and a bit more...mainstream. But, whatever. As I tell people, "it's the same great plot." Wink

Loving Goddess

Ohhhhhh. I thought I should start with Book 1 before Book 2. Oops. I'll just get both. After all, the cost of both of them put together is less than 1 hour of marriage counseling. This web site has already given me that much and more.

But yes, I consider myself very lucky. Best thing I ever did was marry someone smarter than I. She is more ant to my grasshopper. She works extremely hard and is devoted to her work and our family, but sometimes she needs to be reminded to have fun.