The quality of life in a relationship depends on our ability to recover from the inevitable periods of fighting or withdrawing; that is, from turning each other into adversaries or strangers. At a minimum, we want to keep such fighting and withdrawing from destroying the relationship. But it is possible to turn these hazards into means for deepening the relationship by conducting a recovery conversation. In such a conversation, we go over the fight or withdrawal we were just in, but with an appreciation for each partner’s struggle and a recognition that each partner’s position made sense. Typically partners don’t have recovery conversations. They don’t talk afterwards about their fights; they’re afraid of rekindling them.
In this workshop, we show what a recovery conversation looks like and what it takes to have one. In an optimally functioning couple, fighting and withdrawing become opportunities for intimacy. This workshop for couples will be led by a couple and will include role-play demonstrations and experiential exercises.
Recommended reading: Wile, After the Honeymoon: How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship, revised edition.