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Train Your Partner


by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

In case you haven’t heard me say this before, we come to relationships basically feral, untrained, and barely parented. Therefore, as romantic partners we must train one another to be in secure-functioning relationship. This IS NOT accomplished by whining, complaining, threatening, withdrawing, or avoiding. Rather we train each other head-on with statements made directly into the eyes. Make sure YOUR eyes are friendly and try some of the following or make up your own:

“Put that [insert distraction here] down and be with me.”
“Try that again and this time say it like you love me.”
“Look at me and tell me that you think I’m terrific.”
“Tell your handsome guy/beautiful gal [that would be you] that you’ll always be mine.”
“Protect me and I’ll protect you.”
“Come here and sit by me.”
“Do this with me.”
“Tell me how wonderful I am.”
“Tell me how much you appreciate me.”

If your guy or gal resists, refuses, makes jokes, or does ANYTHING other than give an equally direct and sincere response gently repeat with the prefix, “Try that again.” Do this only once again with friendly eyes and up close. If your partner responds properly thank him/her and make it worth his/her effort. If your partner still resists, just say something like, “We’ll do this again later until we get it right…for both of us.” And drop it.

Always helps to have a bunch of treats in your pocket!

Good luck,

© 2013 – A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® – all rights reserved



  1. Alise Wardrope (Wade) says:

    Don’t know where I’d be w/o you! My husband and I are working on our commitment, our marriage–dissolution papers nearly signed. Thank you, Stan


  2. just in time for valentines


  3. patricia lucas (former sbgi student) says:

    Loved the treats part!


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