There’s a story I often share in my workshops that illustrates how sometimes even the simple idea of planning “date night” can generate conflict. I am not the story’s author, but it’s a great example of how to navigate through a difficult conversation from a mindful zone.
Ann and Glenn have young children. The grandparents have offered to babysit for the weekend. When Glenn arrives home from work, he excitedly announces to Ann that he has made dinner reservations at their favorite restaurant. This plan both surprises and disappoints Ann as she tells him that she brought home take – out and was hoping for a quiet night in. Glenn gets angry and leaves the room feeling rejected by his good intentions. Ann feels sad and disappointed that Glenn is now angry.
However, since Glenn and Ann have also taken workshops in navigating conflict situations, and after taking some time for reflection, they come back together to talk about why they created their plan for date night. Glenn wanted to be out of the house, and Ann wanted to be in a quiet place. Through their talk, they realize they have the same need, to connect with each other, but had thought of different strategies to meet the same need.
After discussing other possibilities that would still meet their need for connection, they decide to pack up the take-out and go to a nearby park for a picnic supper. This met Glenn’s need to be out of the house and Ann’s need to have a quiet night with her partner.
Essential conversations begin when we have tools like the ones Glenn and Ann used to strategize a plan that met both their needs. To schedule a workshop or coaching session, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will look forward to hearing from you.