Put on your "Big Ears"


Two friends of mine were given a set of fluffy stuffed bunnies with big floppy ears as a wedding gift.

They have provided the language of this metaphor, which is especially useful when you & your partner are engaging in a conversation that both might find difficult, due to delicate feelings or because you're each invested in the issue.)


One day when they were getting into a conversation which was triggering issues for both of them, Lonnie picked up one of the bunnies, handed it to Kate, and said,"I need to you to listen to me like this bunny: silently, and with big ears." When starting such a conversation now, one of my friends will say to the other, "I need you to put the Big Ears on," and the other knows exactly how to act.

Money conversations are often these kinds of conversations. If you are stressed about finances, and you know that your partner is also stressed about finances, you want to make room for your partner to express his or her thoughts and concerns without triggering yours. So s/he knows that when you ask her/him to put the Big Ears on, s/he'll help you by listening, and responding to any concerns or queries you have dispassionately. Once you've gotten the clarity or relief you need, then you give her/him space to process anything that conversation brought up for your partner. You take your turn with "the Big Ears," and each gets their own individual time to explore something with much less stress.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Betsy Nelson

Counselor/TherapistBetsy Nelson, LCSW Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Couples and Individuals 630 S. Orange Avenue, Suite #2 Sarasota, FL 34236 941-685-3022 www.betsynelson.com
Location: Sarasota, FL
Credentials: LCSW, MSW
Specialties: Anger Management, Couples/Marital Issues
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