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Three Little Words

Seven Year Switch, Channel 4s recent relationships ‘experiment’ programme, had me hooked. Four couples experiencing big problems in their relationship were taken to an exotic dream island and partnered with a new wife or husband in an attempt to help them sort out the problems in their marriage. It was make or break time – at the end of the series they had to decide whether their relationship was worth saving or not.

To say these guys were brave is an understatement. How many of us would allow the cameras to investigate our relationship so closely?

Simply put, each of the couples are complete opposites who struggle with various issues which often started once they had children.

During the series, they were quizzed on all aspects of their relationship from communication – they had to act out a past argument with their new partner in order to get a very different perspective on it – to their sex lives. Two couples admitted they rarely made love while the other two, despite their struggles in other areas, said sex was ‘the only good thing for us’.

In one insightful clip, Tony was asked by Vena Ramphal, the life coach, to choose three words to describe how he felt when he and his wife had sex. He replied, ‘caring, loving and intimate’. She suggested that these three words should form the basis of all his future communication with her. It was definitely an ‘ah ha’ moment and got me thinking about what a great exercise that would be for all couples (as long as their sex life was good!).

Whether we’ve been together for years or are just getting settled in a new relationship, deciding on those important three little words and then making them part of our everyday communication could transform how we respond rather than react to each other.

I’m off to think about what mine would be.

Ruth Adams

Ruth has worked as a trainer and a communications coach for 20 years and loves to inspire people – from a boardroom to a classroom – to find freedom and ‘unlock possibilities’.
She is an associate of Family Futures, an area coordinator for Adoption UK and a director of Achkiy, a charity working with women in the shantytowns in Peru.
Ruth is married to Alan, has 3 birth children in NY, Berlin and Barcelona, 2 forever daughters and 6 grandchildren.

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