My husband gave me the best birthday present last Month. We attended an intense four-day Marriage Enrichment class where P.A.I.R.S. skills were taught by Ellen and Chuck Purcell. Besides giving birth, it was one of my most profound experiences of my life.
We crammed in a lot of learning during the 28 hours of class. P.A.I.R.S. training has been around for 30 years or so and is highly respected by many therapists. I have already mentioned how we learned about the importance of engaging in Caring Behaviors, here in this post.
Periodically, I will be explaining some of the skills we were taught in our workshop. Of course, nothing beats going to an actual class…if you have the chance, jump on it. But, that’s not always possible...so that’s why I’m going to be sharing some of these helpful skills.
The cornerstone of P.A.I.R.S is a tool called “Daily Temperature Readings.” A lot of the tools feel clunky and artificial but start feeling natural once they become part of your daily vocabulary. My husband and I have had fun making this part of our family life.
We did an interesting warm-up exercise before diving into practicing our Daily Temperature Readings. First, we were asked to talk to each other while standing back to back. I kept fighting the urge to turn around and look at my husband. Try it….
Next, one partner stood looking straight away while the other person stood with their back to their partner at a ninety degree angle. This also felt strange.
Then, one partner stood over their sitting partner, afterwards we switched positions. Besides a sore neck, this position made the sitter feel very powerless.
Our final position found both of us sitting in chairs, with our knees touching, holding hands and looking each other in the eye. In P.A.I.R.S, it is referred to as the “leveling position.” When you do your Daily Temperature Reading, you should do so while sitting in the “leveling position.”
It is also essential to always ask your partner if they have time to do a Daily Temperature Reading and to give them an estimate of how long the process will take (a Daily Temperature Reading can easily be done in 5 minutes or so).
Once you’ve asked permission and are sitting in the “leveling position” it’s time….baby….
Here are the Steps of a Daily Temperature Readings
1. Provide some appreciation (I really appreciate how you folded the laundry, even though it’s my job…Thank you).
2. Share some New Information (I found some really well-made sandals for the Baby Girl on Zappos).
3. Share something that Puzzled you (I am puzzled as to why got off the phone with me so quickly today).
4. Express a complaint with a request for change (It really upsets me when you leave your socks on the sofa, could you please put them in the hamper?)
5. Share a Hope, Wish and/or Dream (I am really hoping that we can have a Date Night next week).
6. Give each other a long hug.
7. Other partner’s turn.
Bam….that’s it. Really straight-forward, right? Ellen and Chuck explained that some couples leave P.A.I.R.S. and only incorporate Daily Temperature Readings into their lives. Doing this several times a week has been enough to completely transform marriages. It’s amazing how just spending less than 10 minutes a day can bring a couple closer!