Will and Sharon were fighting in the car. Will was willing to take over a project that Sharon was struggling with, but Sharon wasn’t ready to hand over the project, since she was already invested in it. They were approaching Will’s parent’s house and Sharon wanted the conversation to end. Will wasn’t ending the conversation, and she felt he was being disrespectful by not stopping. Will was frustrated that his offer to help wasn’t being acknowledged.
We processed this conflict. Sharon’s insisting on respect and Will’s insisting on appreciation were creating a hostile impasse. Rather than focusing on their own needs, I suggested meeting each other’s needs. Over the next couple of weeks, I asked Sharon to find 2 or 3 small ways to appreciate Will and asked Will to find 2 or 3 small ways to be respectful to Sharon.
Will shared a story from that morning in which he was going to ask Sharon for breakfast. However, he noticed she was dealing with their challenging daughter and decided to get breakfast himself. Sharon noticed what Will was doing and made it a point to get him breakfast. They were already applying what I was requesting.