Ross and Debbie moved from out West and were deciding whether to return. Ross said, “I told you I appreciated you moving out here.” Because the statement is in the past tense, Ross’s tone sounds defensive; I had Ross restate his statement in the present tense. “I do appreciate you moving out here.” and Ross even followed up with an apology, “I’m sorry you felt underappreciated.”
Ross felt strongly about moving back west, whereas Debbie was more tentative. Ross said, “The cold weather here will take a toll on your arthritis.” Said in this way, Ross was trying to convince Debbie to move and Debbie found the statement slightly manipulative. I had Ross restate the statement using the lead in phrase “I’m concerned….” Ross instead said, “I’m concerned the weather will take a toll on your arthritis.” Debbie heard Ross’ loving concern in that statement.
Trying to convince Debbie to move back West was unlikely to be effective. It seemed to put Debbie on the defensive. Instead I had Ross listen to Debbie’s concerns. Debbie talked about building their home here and putting her heart and soul into the house. She was feeling grief about leaving this home. Ross’ listening supported her grief which ultimately made the prospect of moving less upsetting to Debbie.