Getting The Love You Want
Couples Exercise adapted from Harville Hendrix’s book titled,
Getting the Love You Want
This activity is best completed separately at first. Once each partner has completed the exercise they should come together and discuss each section and what they learned from each section.
Take out a blank piece of paper and draw a large circle, leaving 3 inches below the circle. Divide the circle in half with a horizontal line. Put a capital letter B above the line on left and A below the line on left
On top half next to B list several of the positive character traits of your mother, father, and significant others who influenced you strongly, particularly when you were young. List the traits as you experienced them as a child. Describe in simple adjectives or phrases: kind, religious, always there
On bottom half, list the negative traits of these people: harsh, judgmental, absent
Circle the positive and negative traits that seems to affect you most
In the space below the circle, write down
C and complete this sentence: “What I wanted most as a child and didn’t get was………”
Now write down a capital letter
D and complete this sentence, “As a child, I had these negative feelings over and over again……..”
When I didn’t get what I wanted or had these negative feelings, I usually reacted by:
E: list one or more ways you coped with or responded to these negative feelings
- Draw a second circle and again divide in half marking:
F list your partner’s positive traits
G list your partner’s negative traits
Circle those affecting you most, if any
Compare these traits with those on B and A and with those on F and G
Now reflect on the following statements:
- I have spent my life searching for a person with the traits in B and A.
- When I am with such a person, I am troubled by the traits circled in A
- And I wish the person would give me C
- When my needs aren’t met, I have the feelings in D
- And I often respond by doing something on my list on E
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