Jim and I have experimented quite a bit with applying The Core to
everything. A theme I’ve noticed in talking with many of you, is
that you are interested in how to apply the protocols to family and
marriage. I am going to talk about one idea we believe in. I have
several more but this one has a lot of facets so I’ll stick with just
CheckOut and Marriage
We have found that a key to creating a harmonious marriage is to use the CheckOut protocol *to the letter.* This means that as soon as either one feels that the interaction is not going well, he/she checks out. You can almost always deal with an issue later and get better results. There are very, very few real emergencies. As a friend of ours put it, “the key to a good marriage is to leave each other alone when one of you is in a bad mood.” Well said.
It is important to be strict with each other about the details of
1. Once someone says “I checkout” he should leave the area
immediately. If you checkout, don’t expect the other person to leave the area because you checked out.
2. When one of you says “I checkout” both of you must ZIP IT! Neither person can say another word at that point. This has been a challenge for me. But it gets easier.
3. Institute a default CheckIn time period. For us, after 2 hours
has passed from any CheckOut, each person is assumed checked back in whether he said it or not.
4. If you want to checkin earlier than the default checkin you can
either say “I’m checked back in” or you can say you are checked in and do a full checkin. We just say “I’m checked in.” You can also acknowledge you are checked in even if the 2 hours has passed. It seems to create connection to declare it.
5. If 2 hours has passed and you are still not feeling integrated,
make sure you extend the checkout. Be sure to make checkouts as long as necessary for you to get what you need to act in a mature way when you check back in.
6. I recommend leaving the house/hotel if you are especially upset
with your partner. There is something about moving that moves your mind too. If you can move away from your space for awhile, it can work wonders on your attitude. Staying at home while very upset seems to make me more likely to stay upset.
7. If there are violations of the protocol deal with them later. For
instance, if you say “I checkout” and your partner says something
back, don’t try to fix it then. Fix it later when you are both calm.
8. To fix violations I recommend meeting when you are both calm and ready to work on the issue, possibly with a good counselor. I
recommend bringing it up like this. “So, I want to make sure we are aligned on using the Checkout protocol. We agree that once someone says ‘I checkout’ then neither person may say anything else. Are we aligned on that?” Something along those lines works well.
9. A really important part of Checkout is that both partners “get”
that it is always a good thing. Checkout is a smart thing. It is
not OK to shame or punish the other person for checking out.
10. If you are thinking that it is not OK for your partner to
CheckOut, then you need to ask for help. Because that’s about your feelings. Your partner is being wise. Your feelings suggest
something going on with you, not your partner.
11. If it seems like you are in a continual state of CheckOut with
your partner (lots of Checkouts when you are together), then you need a good marriage counselor. You have a boot problem. To make improvements in your collaboration, you’ve got to get to a point where you can both stay calm and mature with each other at the same time for a significant amount of time.
12. Remember that counseling is a luxury, not an admission of
failure. We are so lucky to live in a time and place where there are
people whose only job is to help us make our emotional lives better. I go to a counselor even when things are going great.
Well, this will probably end up in a book about Marriage and The Core someday. This is my first draft. I hope it is helpful. I’ll talk
about more ideas later.
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