The questions, and the supporting micro-essays, invite candour, confession and radical openness. While using them, it is centrally important to maintain an atmosphere of extreme kindness and calm, without any hint of moralising or bitterness.
We often give up on each other too soon. Relationships that, with the right assistance, might have been good enough (or even more than that) come unstuck because we don’t work out how to speak about, and listen to, what is really on our minds. This box is a tool with which to save love.
– What I would like to be forgiven for…
‘We need to create an atmosphere where an admission of guilt will be met with tolerance and sympathy. At this moment, we’re not asking the other person to wipe the slate clean. We’re just stating something from our own side: that we would like to be forgiven for certain things that, we admit, we’re really sorry about. We will try to do better – if we’re given the chance.’
– I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I…
‘Everyone is foolish in lots of ways. Admitting our own weaknesses and quirks isn’t designed to be humiliating. It doesn’t take away from any of our real strengths and merits. Ideally we discover that our partner isn’t surprised, or that they knew already, or that they find these details (which we worried so deeply were ridiculous) rather endearing.’
– I could change X, if you changed Y…
‘We often feel locked into behaviour that we don’t much like in ourselves because it feels like a neccesary (if bad) response to things we don’t much like in our partner. The solution is for both sides to become conscious of the dynamic and mutually to vow to do a little better going forward. It can be tentative at first: if I go first and admit I can be awful in this way, can you join me and admit that you are a bit difficult in a corresponding area?