Last week Seal and Heidi Klum announced they are divorcing after seven years of marriage. Some reports suggest that Seal had an anger problem. Whether that's the case or not, the couple told People Magazine they still love each other but have "grown apart." Sadly, this is consistent with what research shows as the number one reason couples (gay or straight) split up - a slow dissolution of the friendship between partners.
How can couples in the LGBTQQI community reduce the chances that this will happen to them? How do you nurture and attend to your love relationship in an intentional way, while also juggling careers, home maintenance, hobbies, civic duties, relationships with friends and family of origin, finances, parenting, etc? How do you keep the spark alive, minimize resentment, and reduce the number of toxic fights that tear at your connection?
For the past two years I have been prescribing a nifty little tool to many of the couples in my psychotherapy practice and the majority of them report that it has helped tremendously. It's called the "Daily Temperature Reading" (or DTR) and was originally developed by the groundbreaking author and psychotherapist, Virginia Satir. Satir contributed greatly to the understanding of family systems, self-esteem, and human interaction.
The professionals at the Pairs Foundation have refined Satir's original DTR into an exercise that couples can complete in about 15-20 minutes. The exercise guides couples to share on five items that research shows are key to maintaining a strong connection and reducing misunderstanding; Appreciations, New Information, Puzzles, Concerns with Recommendations, and Wishes/Hopes/Dreams.