Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Tips from Mark Mooney and Madeline Wade, Certified Master Somatic Coaches in Relationship Coaching
You always never listen to me. I’ve told you so many times and you’re still the same. Why do you never change?”
For the past year, Jenny realized her conversations with her husband often started with complaints. She knew nagging and complaining won’t take her anywhere, yet sometimes she couldn’t help it.
All she wants is to have proper conversations with her husband, with the hopes that she can reignite the magic when they first meet.
Jenny—like many others—realized that conversations are the cornerstone for any thriving relationships. They can either fuel you with happiness or drain your energy.
As the founder of Mindful Space, Vernessa Chuah, beautifully said, “If you want to improve your relationship, change how you converse with your partner.”
Each conversation may seem insignificant, but they can accumulate and impact the relationship over time.
Worry not, there are many mindful ways you can employ today to improve your conversations with your partner.
Here are tips from Mark Mooney and Madeline Wade, certified Master Somatic Coaches who have helped thousands of couples across the world to achieve thriving, healthy relationships that last.
1. Centering Yourself
Centering yourself is about being aware of what you’re feeling—especially intense emotions like anger—and able to calm yourself before you spiral out of control.
Have you ever had instances where you regretted what you said to your partner? And thought you could’ve said things in a better way?
When we’re being overwhelmed by intense emotions such as anger or frustration, we may tend to say unpleasant or hurtful words. As a result, our words hurt our partner’s feelings, even if we didn’t mean to.
Action Step: Practice centering yourself. Whenever you notice you’re at the brink of losing self-control, take a few deep breaths or walk away, and revisit the conversation at an agreed time later.
By doing this, you’re interrupting the flow of intense emotions and stopping them from overwhelming you. Then, you’ll be able to calm down amidst the chaos and think of better, healthier ways to converse with the other.
2. Request Instead Of Complain
Let’s imagine your partner talks to you in two ways, A and B.
Partner: Why are you throwing your socks everywhere again? How many times do I have to tell you that you need to throw them into the laundry basket?
Partner: Dear, you forgot your socks again. Can you help to put them into the laundry basket?
Which way would you prefer?
Most likely, it’s going to be B. And there’s a reason for this.
If you want your significant other to do something, requests always win. Because no one likes to be complained or nagged to. When your partner hears a complaint, instinctively, he or she wouldn’t be interested to listen.
The truth is, a complaint is an unspoken request. Whenever we complain, we are indirectly asking our partners to do something, to fix something, or for something.
Now that we know a complaint is actually a request in disguise, how about we shift our perspective from complaining to requesting?
Action Step: Instead of complaining and saying, “Why are you doing this again?” how about requesting, “Honey, what you did bothers me. I have a request for you to do it differently. Would you hear my view?,” And then, both of you can have a proper conversation.
Remember that humans become more defensive whenever they hear complaints, and they become more receptive whenever they hear requests.
3. Set Agreements & Expectations
In every relationship, there is a set of norms. For example, who is responsible for which chore, how much alone time or couple time they need, and how to balance responsibilities between managing finances, children, household administration, and so on.
However, friction in relationships starts to happen when both expect each other to do certain things that weren’t agreed upon.
To explain this best, here’s an example:
Jessica said, “I thought you’re going to clean the dishes because I’m the one cooking. I’m already tired from cooking, so why can’t you help me out?”
Jack drags his body out of the couch and slowly walks towards the kitchen. Clearly, he’s dissatisfied because no one told him he should be washing dishes when the wife cooks. In his family, it has always been the wife who cooks and cleans.
Do you notice there’s an unspoken expectation here?
Jessica expects Jack to clean because she’s the one cooking. While Jack expects Jessica to cook and clean since he is tired from work.
Now, let’s look at this story from a different perspective.
What if Jessica and Jack have shared their expectations and come to an agreement?
They would know what is expected of each other and chances are, they would be in a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship.
Setting expectations and agreement is a powerful technique to improve your relationship because it brings two people on the same page and creates a safe space to discuss one another’s expectations.
Action Step: Spend quality time to have a discussion with your partner and ask them the following questions:
How do you see ourselves in 5-10 years time?
How a satisfying, fulfilling relationship looks like to you?
How would you like to show up as a partner/spouse?
Towards A Healthy And Long-Lasting Relationship
Learning how to center yourself, requesting instead of complaining, and setting expectations are only the tip of the iceberg to create a healthy and long-lasting relationship.
As the dynamic of a relationship changes over time—a new addition to the family, change of career, or evolving individual needs—each change can be managed better when we’re more mindful of our emotions and the way we converse.
What if you have the courage to start a difficult but necessary conversation with your partner?
What if you can connect, acknowledge and compromise each other’s needs with dignity?
What if you are equipped with tools and techniques to manage different kinds of dynamics (including challenging ones) in your relationship?
What if your centering practice can help you pull the handbrake before intense emotions overrun your logical mind?
What if you can learn the art and mastery of a long-lasting relationship?
Mindful Space invites you to join a complimentary masterclass conducted by Mark Mooney and Madeline Wade, a couple of 42 years.
In the 12th year together, they felt their relationship was not going as they wanted. There were no major breakdowns, they just wanted something more. Their attempts to improve the relationship have led them into relationship coaching and made dramatic positive shifts in their 42-year relationship.
Today, their relationship is as magical as newlyweds and they’re teaching couples all around the world on how to achieve the same.
We could also see that it was not a factor of not wanting intimate, honest, and authentic relationship, it was more of a lack of skill.
Mark Mooney, a Master Somatic Coach who teaches at Strozzi Institute for 18 years, and had the honour to teach courses in the US, the UK, China and Singapore. In the last 28 years, he has more than 8700 teaching, coaching and organisational training hours.
Madeline Wade is a certified Master Somatic Coach/Bodyworker with a private practice in California. Madeline facilitates the cultivation of the self by bringing more than 15 years of somatic bodywork experience.
They have worked with many couples to begin their relationship and families in an empowering way and taught them skills to handle difficult conversations, life changes, and breakdowns that may occur.
In their decades of experience, most couples lack the skill of having conversations that are productive and safe. Some feel they have lost the intimacy and connection over the years.
And when those conversations are improved, the relationship transforms altogether.
“We spent most of the days bickering at each other’s mistakes. Through somatic coaching with Mark and Madeline, we learn a variety of tools on self-centering, making gentle requests, and doing the somatic dance of blending. Mark and Madeline have helped us to “do over” conversations and identify and overcome negative conversation patterns. Thanks to the coaching, we are more grounded and have more happy days. Our work with Mark and Madeline has truly touched our daily lives.”
John and Janice found themselves at wits’ end, ready to dissolve their relationship. Before they made the final decision, they met Mark and Madeline. Through coaching, they came to understand that past experiences were driving their automatic responses and negative communication patterns. Together, Mark and Madeline helps them develop new practices for communication, intimacy, and living together. This allowed their relationship to start anew and thrive till today.
We live what is possible, not perfect, and we work at it ongoingly. The cost of breakups is huge on many levels, and often unnecessary with the right skills.
You too can learn the proven tools and techniques to improve your relationship and bring back the magic when you first meet.
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