Your Inbox Intensive

Dreams within Conflict

Module 8

Keep your momentum going at home after the intensive with this exclusive program for Couples Therapy Inc's retreat couples. Start with a self-assessment, review an important lesson for relationship health and finally, determine what your next steps should be.

1. Assess

2. Learn

Dreams within conflict

Every couple has important differences between them. These differences are fundamental to their personalities, life experiences, or biological functioning. For example, some of us are early to rise and early to bed (“larks”), while others are late to rise and late to bed (“owls”). No matter how much you fight about it, these differences remain or the adjustments to being the “same” are often painful and short-lived.

Happy couples take these differences as a given and work hard to compromise with each other despite never finding a perfect solution. For other couples, the differences are so fundamental to who they are, as people (values, ethics, beliefs, hopes, etc.) that they work hard to change each other. When these topics come up, they flood quickly and say hurtful things they don’t mean.

The Dreams within Conflict intervention focuses on these fundamental values, ethics, beliefs, or dreams that make this battle feel like a life-or-death struggle. When a couple can discuss these deeply held beliefs, they are able to create new meaning around the gridlocked issue and feel greater closeness and stop the emotional withdrawal. Each feels more accepted, respected, and entitled to their own perspective, despite their differences.

If either feels dishonored in holding the goals or values they have, this intervention is designed to change that. We want to help you to change the way you try and influence your partner. We want to help you to demonstrate basic respect and gain a greater understanding.

If this fight seems entrenched, it probably is. Keep in mind that Gottman found that the average couple waits six years between feeling like something is wrong and seeking help.

At a glance:

  • The goal is NOT to solve the issue or resolve the conflict. This conflict will probably be here for the life of the marriage.
  • The goal IS to move from gridlock to dialogue.
  • Understand the two steps: 1) reveal the dream that underlies the conflict and 2) figure out how to honor your partner’s dream. Realize that honoring your partner’s dream is a continuum.
  • Perpetual issues go through stages from dreams in opposition, to an entrenched position, fears about accepting the other’s influence, vilification, and finally emotional distance.
  • If you find yourselves feeling high levels of fatigue, emotional distance and apathy with low levels of humor and affection, it’s time to hone your Dreams within Conflict skills.
  • The goal to working with perpetual problems is reached when couples find themselves able to craft a solution that respects both dreams.

Try it at home

Once you’re ready to overcome gridlock, here’s how to proceed.

3. Follow up

Is it time for a follow up session?

If you haven't already scheduled follow up sessions, our staff can help you to plan your next appointment.

The next module...

Our next module will look at "state of the union meetings". We will send the link to your email on your next scheduled check-in or if you want to get started now, you can check it out here.

Schedule some quality time

Do you and your partner have some time on the calendar for each other? Make sure you have a date night planned.

Dreams within conflict

Think of a gridlocked issue between the two of you and use the exercise to talk it through and honor each other's dreams.

We're here to help

Have a question about this exercise? Looking for more information about follow up sessions? Send us a message, we'd be happy to help.