Tools & Techniques for Couples

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A. Ask your partner if they are willing to listen.

B. Remember that your motivation is that you love your partner.

C. Take the four steps of the Feedback Wheel. Tell him/her:

1. What you saw/heard about one particular event.

2. What you have made up about it (your assumption).

3. How you feel about it.

4. What you would like to have happen in the future.

D. Let go of the outcome.


When one partner becomes upsets they must ask for time to calm down. Often this partner will “stonewall” and never return to the conversation. However, this continues to be unproductive. The partner who wants a “time out” must identify a time needed (e.g. 5, 15, 30 minutes). At the end of the time, the couple must speak to each other. Speak to communicate regarding the conflicting situation or to express the need for additional time to calm down.

from New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real


This is an agreement that interrupts vicious cycles of communication and conflict.

If you ever feel, rightly or wrongly, that your partner is triggering horrible feelings – then you will signal a “dead-stop” (i.e. physical signal, a special phrase or work, etc.). Your partner needs to agree before that whenever this signal is presented that they come to a “dead stop” – whether the partner agrees with the perception or not. Therefore, whenever the signal is presented, your partner will “stop on a dime.” Instead of continuing, the partner will turn to you and say a version of, “I am sorry. I don’t mean to ________. Forgive me. Is there anything I can say or do right now that might help you feel better?” Each of you will promise not to give each other a hard time but rather appreciate your effort and move on as quickly as possible.

from New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real


When engaging in communication of any kind, but especially regarding feelings/centered around conflict, use this format to effectively communicate:

I feel________________________



I want/need____________________

Avoid using the words “always” or “never,” and don’t begin any of your statements with “You!”


Milan & Kay Yerkovich have developed a quiz to gain insight about how we love in a romantic relationship based on childhood and past experiences. Following the quiz, you can learn more about how your dominant styles and how these affect your relationships!

Go to the Quiz


After you’ve taken the Yerkovich’s Love Style Quiz, take a look at this interactive grid to discover how certain style combinations lead to predictable patterns in your relationship.

View the Grid


Separate from the “Love Styles” are our love languages. Gary Chapman has set forth five languages that we speak when we love each other: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Gifts, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch. Take this quiz to find out more about how you love, and how you receive love; believe it or not, it isn’t always the same!

Go to the Quiz


After you’ve taken the Love Languages Quiz, you can read more about the love languages here!

Learn More