The Couple Dialog has an additional step when used to converse about frustrations in the relationship.

The process can feel a little unusual. It seems to be intentional, and you might not be used to that.

  • Either one of you: Is now a good time to talk?
  • Either one of you: May I be the speaker?
  • SPEAKER: Talk … Talk .. ( a part of a sentence)
  • RECEIVER: Reflect … Reflect .. (reflects it back)
  • Do this 4 or 5 times
  • RECEIVER: Can I sumarise that?
  • SPEAKER: Helps The Reciever to build a summary if asked
  • RECEIVER: Checks in .. “Is that a good summary?”
  • SPEAKER: “Yes” or “No”.
  • Either one of you: Pass the batton. “Will you have a turn as The Speaker?”… Or, “Can I have a turn as The Speaker?”

Note: Only ask “Is now a good time to talk?” just once a day, not every time you pass the batton.

Become Fluent

As the Receiver, “dive-in” with your reflections early. Don’t wait too long before reflecting.

It makes it more conversational if you start reflecting sooner, rather than having long drawn-out silences.

This seems to bring about greater fluency in the Couple Dialog process.

Externalise into the Relationship

One big step into becoming better at communicating is externalizing into the relationship. Or externalize into the event.


Here is an example of ‘externalizing into the event’.

Instead of saying “you” and playing a blame-game, replace directed comments with externalized language.

Instead of saying “I feel upset when you walk mud into the carpet”, say … “I feel upset when the mud is walked onto the carpet”.

By externalizing into the relationship or the event, you address the issue without blaming language.

Use externalizing language rather than “You Statements”.

Get Help

For help learning how to externalize and to become more fluent, book a Couple Session with me in Frankton. You can book online here to meet me in my Frankton, Hamilton practice.

Henk Ensing