Bring Play to Your Promises
I’ve often said that August is our most difficult wedding vow. And it can be, but it’s the Season of PLAY right now so when Raj and I sat down for our monthly relationship summit, we decided to lean into love – and lighten up a bit while we were at it.
Bringing PLAY to our promises, especially the tough ones, is a good idea.
One of the benefits of leaning into an “engage-in-play” focus instead of “fix-a-problem” focus is that it calls us into acting as ALLIES rather than adversaries.
We get to be playmates masterminding a mutually satisfying path to transform conflict into connection.
Let’s Play A Game
It’s much easier (and more fun), to aim for awesome than it is to fix a problem. “We need to talk” are never the words anyone wants to hear. “Let’s play a game!” is usually MUCH more enticing.
This is why Raj and I like to lean into love and lightness by creating Games to play with this traditionally difficult wedding vow.
Our August wedding vow is “I promise to breathe deep, get off it first and give especially when it’s difficult.”
First, let’s break down exactly what this promise means…
We promise to breathe deep… This means that when in conflict we embrace that calming and grounding ourselves is our PRIMARY task. We agree in advance to self-initiate and accept a call to pause and breathe.
Get off it first… This is our pledge to give up our right to be RIGHT. We agree that we won’t use our perception of being right as an excuse to get or stay triggered or mad. We agree to hold our intimacy above of our egos, to prioritize being connected over being correct, and to aim for being united over getting our way.
And to give, ESPECIALLY when it is difficult… This one is the real doozy! Not only do we agree we will give up being right, we agree to release our attachment to our position or argument FIRST!
Like I said, not easy. Which is why we’re bringing a playful Game to it.
We’re calling it 1-2-3 Off It!
It’s the opposite of the Game we used to play as kids when we didn’t want to do something and someone would call out “1-2-3 Not it!” – then the last person who said it was it/had to do the task.
So we decided to flip this on its head and instead of being last to do it, we’ll be first to do it. It meaning you will take on being the first to end the argument, calm ourselves, and to be generous with our beloved in a difficult time. EVEN and ESPECIALLY when it was difficult.
The Game is whoever sees that we are in a conflict and are stuck on being right, to let go of the rope of the argument on their side so there is nothing for the other to pull on.
They call “Off it!” to signal they see that they are trying to be right AND that they’re letting their position go.
Call And Response
It’s a call and response Game so when one of us says “Off it!” the other playfully says “Prove it!”.
This is a signal to demonstrate your commitment to the relationship over the current conflict. A hug and a kiss are Raj and my favorite ways for “proving” we’re dropping being right and embracing our connection first – still, we encourage you to experiment with your own intimacy onramps for this Game.
Your Action Option
Here’s our Game laid out in simple steps. Consider this your Action Option – your mission should you choose to accept it is… when you have your next argument and it is getting unhealthy explore these steps and see what works best for you and your relationship.
- Step 1. Breathe Deep – Take a deep breath. Take ten! Even better, practice an intentional breathing technique. My favorite is to inhale for a four count, hold it for a four count, exhale for a four count and hold for a four count. Then doing it again and again until your body and brain can calm, connect, and get creative about resolving your conflict. Prioritize calming yourself, de-escalate the unhealthy dynamic, and press pause on the “problem”.
- Step 2. Get Off It FIRST – Release being right (no matter how right you are). Let go of blame.
- Step 3. Give Especially When It’s Difficult – Be giving, especially when it is difficult. Your beloved needs your love the most when they deserve it the least. This might mean you own some part of what happened or just holding your beloved close.
- Step 4. Win By Getting Off It First – Call out “Off it!”. The first one to call this out wins.
- Step 5. Prove You’re Off It – When your beloved calls out “Prove it!”, (or if they forget then you can ask them if they want you to prove it), then prove you’re letting go of blame, being right and the argument itself with some signal of you prioritizing your relationship – ex a hug or a kiss.
Pause, Don’t Avoid Conflict
This is NOT about avoiding conflict or sweeping an issue under the rug. That is not healthy either.
Still, what IS healthy is when we’re aware of ourselves and our dynamic with our beloved moment by moment so that when we fall off course with who we want to be in our relationship and we slip into the natural defaults of irritability, blame and upset, we can still catch ourselves, calm ourselves, de-escalate and restore connection.
First Restore Connection
THEN you can return to resolving the argument. But FIRST, restore the connection.
Trying to solve conflict from INSIDE a conflict is messy, painful, and often unsuccessful or worse, can actually be damaging to your relationship.
If an argument has gotten unhealthy, then it’s likely in service to your relationship to stop the problem-ping-pong and back-and-forth-blaming you’re engaging in.
First calm yourself, then create connection, and THEN resolve the conflict.
Want to Play a Game?
Raj and I are playing 1-2-3 Off it for the next 30 days while we practice this wedding vow. Do YOU want to play a game? If not this one, find another one that resonates or even make up your own!
Let us know how it goes. We love hearing from you and all about the Games you’re playing.
A wonderful relationship doesn’t happen on its own. PLAY full out!
Your Partners in a P3 Relationship,