Here’s a secret retailers don’t want you know: the best Valentine’s gift this year won’t cost you a dime.
But it will take you time.
Of all the skills couples, parents and families learn in relationship and marriage education classes that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the most valuable is also the easiest to learn.
Do it with good will for 30 days and it will become a habit. It will be one of the most important things you’ll ever do for yourself and your family.
Without exaggeration, it can change your life and affect generations to come.
It’s called the Daily Temperature Reading, also known as the “DTR.”
It has five steps.
It was developed by the late Virginia Satir, one of the greatest contributors to the world’s understanding of intimacy and the building blocks of lasting love and strong families.
The exercise was refined by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation after extensive research and experience helping tens of thousands of people in practically every language and place on Earth learn skills to create and sustain great relationships.
Here are the five steps to do when you can be completely focused on each other without distractions for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes. During your DTR, turn off the television and put away your phone.
Each participant, whether you DTR as a couple, family or with youngsters, completes each step before you go on to the next.
Be sure to do all five steps in order. The sequence matters.
1: Appreciations: Say what you appreciate about each other. Be sincere, specific and generous.
2: New Information: Talk briefly about what’s happening in your life to keep others up-to-date.
3: Puzzles: Ask about anything you’re wondering about without being attached to getting an answer. Be comfortable putting your puzzle out there for others to know and provide information if they have something to say and feel comfortable saying it.
4: Concerns with Recommendations: When someone you care about behaves in a way that upsets you, say what it is without giving a lecture (focus on the behavior, including a specific example, without judging, criticizing or going into any more detail then is necessary for understanding), say how you feel when it happens, and ask for exactly what you want instead. Don’t expect a response beyond knowing you’ve been heard and understood.
5: Wishes, Hopes and Dreams: Say what you hope for today, this week, this lifetime or anywhere in between. Pay close attention to the wishes, hopes and dreams of others. Do what you can to help them come true.
Set aside a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes for 30 days, the combined equivalent of less than a single day of your life, to DTR with each other. It may feel awkward at first, but within a month will become a natural part of how you interact with each other.
While evidence-based relationship skills and marriage education classes offer many additional exercises to improve communication, relieve negative emotions, strengthen empathy, negotiate differences, and learn to stay a pleasure in each others’ lives, after 30 days of doing the DTR, you’ll know much more about each other and the real potential of your relationship.
Wherever you are in your relationship, the DTR for 30 days is the best Valentine’s Day gift you could give yourself, each other, and your family.
Today is a good time to begin discovering what’s possible and creating the relationship you want.
As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, we’ll send you a free pair of laminated wallet cards to remind you of the five steps of the DTR. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to PAIRS Foundation, Daily Temperature Reading, 1675 Market Street, Suite 207, Weston, Florida 33326.
Valentine’s Day itself is on Monday, February 14th.
Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Weston, Florida, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.