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(this may seem hard to do at first but we caught on and I’m as impatient as a 30 second french fry in a fry cooker and my husband is as dense as a raw potato)

CAUTION: This is really, really, really important!! You must read through this entire article… first… maybe several times, in ordered to be fully mentally and emotionally prepared to do this exercise.

The thing is… Fights in a relationship create Fire… and fire has massive power behind it to destroy. You must realize that this is what you are dealing with when you fight. FIRE!! And like with any fire, when you’re handling it, utmost caution must be taken to keep it contained and under control so that it doesn’t incinerate you or your relationship.

* * *

I’m speaking here to couples who are at the ends of their ropes. That are tired and discouraged and don’t know what to do any more. You fight and fight and fight and nothing good ever comes of it – except more pain. It seems like you can’t even have a single conversation without it somehow breaking into a fight. Maybe you’ve gone to therapy – but nothing changes. It’s just one miserable day after another between you. Does this sound like an apt description of what’s happening to you? If it does its because we know. Because we were there. We’d been to therapy. Tons of it, but it changed nothing. Then one night, after – one – more – fight. I said to my husband; “What are we going to do? Nothing is helping. We can’t go back to therapy. It’s never done any good. We almost can’t talk to each other without having a fight. What are we going to do!?” We’d been married 26 years at the time and divorce was not on the table for us. Its just that our marriage was – dead. We were living two separate lives. Strangers to each other. So scared of each other that even the touch of a hand between us seemed to feel like – a shock.

That’s when I was given this gift. It came to me almost telepathically. In about one minute I saw all of it – in perfect detail. And so I have written it down here. It has transformed our marriage so that we feel like newlyweds all over again. Our fear of each other has evaporated – completely. It’s very, very, simple. It’s called…

A… &… B

Have you ever heard the expression;

They are a match made in heaven.

or

Don’t they make a perfect match?

When you get into a soul-to-soul relationship, you’ve been given your perfect ‘match’. It’s great isn’t it, to have that perfect match made just for you? These matches. They hold a lot of potential to make life great, don’t they? But how do you light this match so that it brings all that warmth you know it has for you both? Well, guess what? The match’s power comes from being struck during a fight!!! It’s the fight that strikes the match and makes it catch on fire. The match’s fire comes from the fight!

It starts with the relationship… ‘The Match
Which is struck and lit by… ‘The Fight
Which starts… ‘The Fire
Which lights…. ‘A Glowing Camp Fire
Which then brings magic to… ‘The Relationship

FIGHTS BRING MAGIC AND WARMTH TO A RELATIONSHIP!??

WHO’D A THUNK IT?

fight by fight… match strike by match strike… … camp fire… by camp fire… your relationship will be rekindled – even you yourself will be transformed – glowing with magic and warmth – like you’ve never experienced it before in your life.

This is how it starts…

Because it’s hot and can burn you, people usually do one of two instinctual things with fire.

1: Some couples fling it just to get it away from them, run like hell all over the place in terror, screaming and yelling like crazy people, hoping it will extinguish itself. The trouble with handling it this way though is that it most likely will get caught on something, ignite, turn into a wild fire, and then proceed to incinerate and destroy everything in its path including the running around crazy people who flung it and all the other living beings (children, other family member, friends, even pets) and non-living things (chairs, walls, china) close by. And eventually will incinerate the relationship.

2: The second way couples deal with the terror of fire is to immediately stomp on it (i.e.: “Let’s not talk about this.” etc.) and so extinguish it before it can even get going to provide them any warmth at all. Dealing with fire in this way only serves to leave them “out in the cold” again until, one by one, all their matches are used up. After that happens, all that’s left to look forward to in the relationship is a life in unending cold with no chance for any more fire to bring warmth to it. The relationship freezes to death.

Which one of these two ways have you been handling the fire from the matches you were given when you first got together?

Well there is a third option as to how you can handle the fire that erupts from those match-struck fire-fights. A way that will turn the fire that comes from your matches into one of the most treasured possessions you could own.

3: This third way is to keep your head about you even though the fire’s power might be filling you with panic. Maintain a firm hold on the fiery match and – carefully – place it into a ‘controlled burn’ area – like a camp fire surrounded by stones where it can be contained. Once there, the power within that fire can…..

bring you warmth from the cold,
cook your food,
protect you from wild animals,
and bring a warm glow to the atmosphere of the place where you lay your head.

A WARNING: This may feel like the opposite of what you KNOW IS RIGHT at first but that’s because almost no one (and that included us) knows how to ‘control burn’ the incredible fire power that can be generated from the matches created from the union of two people.

Here is the structure for this exercise:

Do this in a large room sitting down, not facing each other, with lots of space between you. In the beginning make sure you have at least an hour to give to this. Later on it will take a much shorter time to complete. You can get loud – but never physical. Never leave the room except to go to the bathroom if necessary. The “A” part will get hot for a little while. Expect that. After all we are talking about handling fire here. Also, you both may need a day or two for processing the “B” part in the beginning before you get the hang of that. You’ll understand why later on. But, other than that, you must stay in the room until the exercise is completed. So expect that too.

For simplicities sake here’s how “A” & “B” works… each partner gives the other one the opportunity do both an “A” and a “B” themselves with each partner acting as a talker and as a listener to the other partner.

“A” : The talker rants at the listener while the listener listens with no rebuttal or comment.

“B” : There is a quiet period for both, during which the talker (calmer now because of having had their match gently removed from their hand by their listening partner), begins to reflect upon what their own contribution might have been to the fire fight.

The listening partner must stay level-headed and calm during the “A” process. During “A” , the listener will be holding their partner’s fiery match in their hands in order to move it to the containment area (the stone-encircled campfire we talked about earlier) so that it can become transformed into the ‘magic’ of “B”. I know you’re fully confused right now. But please… keep reading. If you do, It will be well worth your while.

Usually the guy gets to be ‘the talker’ first, and the girl gets to be ‘the listener’.

There is a good reason for having the guy go first – but this is not always the best way in every case. Each couple relationship is unique. We’re just suggesting that it be this way because it usually works better. Even though there’s great ‘heat’ involved in the “A” process, usually it’s the girls who catch on to the magic of this ‘controlled burn’ experience faster than the guys do, so if this is the case in your relationship, then the guy should be the talker first so that the girl can demonstrate to the guy how the process of being the listener works, and how to take a ‘rant’ from someone with complete composure. A lot of communication ability is required on the listener’s part to do this and girls seem to be more adept at that. I’m not sure why this is but it’s most likely because this is the way God has wired girls brains. Usually, girls brains are naturally wired for relationship interactiveness better than guys brains are so the guys need extra time to catch on. Which, by the way, is perfectly ok guys.

You girls don’t get off the hook that easily though. You have a weak area to watch out for too. You’re wired for – pretty severe – impatience with your guys. Guys are relationally naive…. Girls are impatient…. (Again – kind of a generalization). Both of these weak areas in our sexes need to be watched out for, for this ‘controlled burn’ to work. You girls though, unfortunately, because you are naturally better in the communication department, will have to do some pretty heavy lifting for the both of you on this one. But you can do it. You were built for it. God gave you really good ‘relationship and communication muscles’ for this purpose. Much better than He gave the guys. You’ll just have to watch out for the patience issue a little bit – that’s all. It won’t be that hard for you though, like it will be for the guys. They’re going to be doing some pretty heavy work on their innards and it’s probably gonna be crazy-ass hard for them to do it too. So please… give them the time & space they need to do this, and applaud them for the hard work they’re doing. They’re gonna be sweatin their tails off!! Again – these are generalizations. It could be backward for your relationship. You’ll have to see what’s what for you both as you go along. See who’s better at what, as you practice. If it’s the opposite for you then substitute all the ‘guy’ references for ‘girl’ and all the ‘girl’ references for ‘guy’.

The girl needs to ask the guy for a time when they can go through this exercise to do a ‘controlled burn’ on the fight, asking that it be done as soon as he can after the fight. Here is the beginning of that ‘heavy lifting’ for you girls that I talked about earlier. Why should you have to wait on the guy’s convenience? This is your impatience talking. Letting him set the time for it is because the guy has to become mentally ‘ready’ to take on a conversation like this. Where you girls can jump into the deep end of the pool right away, for them the pool is made of mud that they can only slog through. You’re quick like gazelles, but they’re more like slow slogging elephants who can only lumber into the ‘relationship’ part of their brains. You can’t make them jump fast and be like you. God made them to be like elephants and you like gazelles. You have to wait for them to catch up. Sorry.

Each partner is given a 20 minute block of time to do their “A” & “B” work – 10 minutes for “A” followed by 10 minutes for “B” with each partner taking turns. Each “A” & “B” block can be repeated for each partner as many times as is necessary until both partners feel calm, deflated of all anger and resentment and both have become cleared-headed enough to take a stab at a little bit of “B” solution (in the beginning, “B” may take a day or two to complete). With both of you working at it, you will begin to get a sense that a nice warm camp fire has started to be built and some warmth is returning as you watch your campfire spark to life again like it was when you first met each other. Oh, the sparks flew between you back then didn’t they?

So… now we get to the nitty-gritty of it …. “A”

Guys: You go first.

Let your girl ‘have it’ – full guns blazing. You can say anything about how you feel about your partner’s part of the fight. Or anything else you want to say about your partner. Anything you want to say to her at all… anything… sky’s the limit. You can rant and rave and blame your partner in every conceivable way you can think of with all the anger you can muster – for 10 minutes. Pound your fist on the sofa cushions (no throwing or punching things please). Let out as much steam as you possibly can in that time period, until the pressure inside your body and mind feels completely deflated. If you can’t say it all in 10 minutes, don’t worry. You’ll be given as many 10 minute blocks of time as you need to get it all out of you.

(For you girls… how to endure the heat.)

For this part, you (the girl) are the listening partner. Your job is to say nothing. Only an “ok” or “I hear you.” or “I’m listening.” etc. Nothing else. This will take stamina, and you could even get a little panicky feeling. Guys can get pretty loud sometimes. They’re usually much bigger and louder than you girls. But try to remember, it’s only decibels. Try not to be afraid. He’s only going to be pounding on pillows so you won’t actually get hurt and, take my word for it, it will be well worth your while to deal with all the noise. If your guy is a physical type though – and by this I mean physically dangerous – don’t do this exercise with him. Actually why are you still with him if he’s this way? Anyway – that’s your business, not ours. But don’t do this if he could get physical on you.

It’s not just going to be about the noise though. We know. It’s also going to be about the words. Many of his words will hurt to hear. I want you to remember though about the fire, this is all about Fire we’re dealing with. Fire can burn and hurt. It’s dangerous stuff to handle and you have to respect it and maintain your wits while you’re holding it. But you are demonstrating to him about how fire must be handled. However, we’ll let you in on a little secret. This is essentially ’emotional’ fire you’re dealing with, and emotional fire is actually – feelings – hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt feelings, that your guy is feeling. He lashes out at you with flames of anger, but underneath all those flames lies a tenderly beating heart of flesh. Handling his fire is not for wimps. But if you can get past the flames with your quiet composure during the rant, you will get to his tender heart – WE GUARANTEE IT!. And this will be MAGICAL FOR YOU!!!

Now Guys … Go on to do … “B”

You have a 10 minute block of time to look at this aspect of this specific fight, but actually, this is really only a period of silence which can be used for the purpose of meditating on these two questions…

What was my own contribution
to this fire-fight?

and

What could I try to do differently the
next time to prevent
another one of
these fire-fights from occurring again?

You may not understand this “B” part very well for a while. Initially, you may be stumped by these questions. If you are, then take your time and think on it for the 10 minutes in quiet. If nothing comes to you, don’t worry, eventually something will surface. This might even take a day or two. But when the answers do surface ….

Then say them to your partner.

(A Warning for you girls… about dealing with
impatience during your guy’s “B” time.)

When it’s time for your guy to start thinking about his own contribution to the fight. Keep as silent as you can to allow him room and time to think. He needs to figure it out on his own as much as he can without hints. Anything he comes up with will help. ANYTHING! He’ll slowly get better at this through time and practice with each fight. It may even take a day or two for him to come up with something. If he doesn’t get back to you by the next day, ask him once if he’s been thinking about it. And don’t belabor. Gentleness is the watch-word here. And giving him the time and silence he needs – to find his own answers. This practice will exercise his ‘communication and relationship’ muscles. It will also exercise your ‘patience’ muscles as well. When he does come up with something give him lots of kudos and loving care! Be gentle and compassionate with his willingness to be vulnerable with you. This is sooooo hard for guys.

He may insist he did nothing wrong. If he says this, you might say something along the lines of it being impossible to have a battle without there being two people wanting to fight. He might get this analogy. But try to say as little as possible. Also, as he watches you come up with your own “B” stuff, this may help him learn how to do the “B” part better too.

Now it’s the Girl’s turn to do “A”…

Do the same thing for yourself that you allowed your guy to do to you. If he starts to put up a fuss or tries to stop you – it’s patience time again, and all that heavy lifting we talked about earlier. Gently remind him that you gave him the courtesy of allowing him to rant on you and now it’s your turn. If he puts up a fuss again, you just have to gently remind him – again – and again – and again. This will be hard for him but just keep going at it until you yourself feel like you’ve gotten out everything you’ve always wanted to say but were afraid to say it. Don’t worry too much that you guy can’t ‘get it’ right away. When he finally sees the value of listening to your “A” – and then the magic of your “B” that follows – he will get it. Eventually he will come to realize that your ranting will not kill him, and that he will, in fact, even benefit from it. Then it’s your turn to go on to perform the magic of “B”.

(For you guys… how to endure the heat.)

This may be real hard for you – listening to your partner rant at you. It may even feel like you’re going almost crazy. BUT… You are going to have to sit on you hands and sit on your mouths and let your woman – rant at you!!! Just remember… SHE let you rant at HER!! and she never said one word about it to you. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!!! IT’S ON YOU!! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU’RE MAN ENOUGH TO TAKE IT!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! Stay put and let her rant! You may be thinking; “This is going to kill me!” It may feel like that – but it won’t. Its just gonna get really, really hot for a while, but remember, you are dealing with Fire here. And its gonna take a lot less time for the heat to die down than you think it will. It won’t take that long for her to have her say. It will be over before you know it so just hang in there. You Can Do This!!! And then BOY! Will You Be Rewarded for your bravery!!! Before your very eyes, she will turn into a melted kitten and roll into your arms and you’ll have your sweet darling back again like you had her when you were first in love. She’ll be a purring kitten in your arms. Just hang in there. I GUARANTEE THIS WILL HAPPEN IF YOU JUST HANG IN THERE AND LET HER RANT!!

B: For the Girl

When you are depleted of all your anger and blame, look inside yourselves and find those ‘things’ inside you that you know contributed to the fight and what you could do differently the next time to prevent another one. It is in there. You can find it inside yourself. You can….

Then say them to your partner.

(A Warning for you guys of difficult girls…. during their “B” part)

From what we’ve seen, girls usually will come around pretty quickly to seeing where they were at fault during a fight. Some find it difficult, but most don’t. If you have a difficult partner, you could refer back to the paragraph written for the girls about how to deal with difficult guys – above. But for the most part… for you the guy – now’s the time to enjoy the magic of the camp fire.

*  *  *

Initially, learning to control-burn a match struck fire can be hard, but hang in there! After a few match struck fire fights, you will learn how to do the control burn with hardly any trouble at all. It will be AWESOME FOR YOU!! You will – finally — be able to just talk to each other…. just talk. Any match-struck fires will simply be put into magical camp fires and used to warm things up.

*  *  *

To THERAPISTS:

You may think…. “Saying terrible things like that should never be addressed between partners because doing something like that could only serve to drive even more of a wedge between both parties in the relationship. The hot stuff should be discussed with disinterested parties.”

I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I know this sounds hairy. To increase the tension and craziness already occurring in a tense and crazy relationship. It does sound counter-intuitive. But I believe that for a relationship to grow stronger trust must be developed. The only way to develop this trust is to allow for the two persons to walk through some fire power together so that they can have the experience that each of them will hold the other one up while walking through the flames. These fights can become the fire they need to walk through and experience this ‘holding each other up’ process. They need to be able to look each other in the eyes and know that it’s their partner not their therapist – who will keep them safe while in the furnace. If a therapist, other family member, or friend is the one acting as ‘listener’ and ‘protector’, and the partner is still locked in as ‘enemy’, what good will that do for the relationship?

You will have been heard by your partner!!! This is why it’s so important that your partner be the listener and not a friend or therapist. This has to be done with your partner so that you will know you can trust them to stand by your side with you when you find yourself having to walk through fire together. You know they will be there with you, and for you.

I also like to look at these pressure cooker battles as ‘engineered bottoms’ for a relationship. Let the relationship get as hot as you can make it to burn all the dross out of it so that only the gold is left. Most change for the better in people lives comes from them having hit a ‘bottom’. Why not engineer this bottom in relationships quickly and under controlled conditions rather than let it burn slowly to death under uncontrolled ones?

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