The Do-One-Thing-Different Approach

I just re-read Martha Beck’s short article “Pull the Plug on Your Same Old Fight,” from the September issue of O: The Oprah Magazine. I love Martha Beck—she’s funny, right-on and always shows me some new way of approaching life’s challenges. Like this article. Which I chanced upon right as Ken and I were having yet another “our house is disgusting and who’s going to help clean it” argument.

Ahhh, nothing like wedded bliss.  I don’t know about you, but man, I love having the same argument over and over and over again!

But—according to marriage therapist Bill O’Hanlon—all we need to break this pattern is the “do-one-thing-different approach. For instance, you can criticize each other’s TV habits, but only if you’re wearing oven mitts. You can insult relatives as long as you’re lying on the floor. You can question each other’s sanity, but only in whispers (184, O).”

Pretty cool, huh? Apparently, the simple act of changing just one thing in your regular ‘old argument throws your brain into another gear, which helps you lose “the familiar flow as you see the useless toxicity of whatever you’re about to say.”

Of course, the do-one-thing-different approach assumes that we’re willing to give up the need to be right. Which is another post for a different day….

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