Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist
Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor
A Couple's Communication Exercise
By Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.
The "Honey Jar" is a conversation starter for couples. It consists of 250 sentence stems, each one serving as an open-ended prompt to discuss
one of a number of individual or couple subjects. It was designed by Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D., a licensed marriage/family therapist who has been
assisting couples in restoring the love, unity, and intimacy to marriages that have lost their passion and positive feelings. While it is designed to assist couples who have an established, stable, but lifeless marriage, it has been found to be very helpful to couples at any stage of their committed relationship.
The Honey Jar, is more than a jar of sentence stems. The Honey Jar sentence stems were field tested for therapeutic value. The items were specifically formulated to assist partners with restoring a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy that is so crucial is re-establishing connection and trust. All of these changes improve a couple's ability to improve their communication, sense of connection and committment. As couples devote the time, energy, and willingness to take risks with each other, trust, positive regard, and love, which has sometimes been obscured for a long time, can re-emerge.
The Honey Jar allows the couple to create a neutral converstional tone with non-threatening subject matter. Each partner puts into each item (sentence stem), his or her own thoughts, feelings, memories, or frames of reference. With each partner projecting his or her own content onto the items, some non-positive responses can happen. This exercise is not for the highly conflicted couple, who stay primed and ready to argue at a moment's notice. However, high conflict couples, after working with counseling assistance to eliminate destructive cmmunication patterns, could probably benefit by using the Honey Jar to reinforce the communication gains that they have made.
The Honey Jar can can assist with creating a safe environment to take risks, thus rebuilding trust, experiencing positive communicational events, and providing a relationship activity that is fun. One of the most helpful things to relationships that have lost their vitality, is a return to having fun together. When you are having fun with your "Honey" (spouse), it is easier to remember how you came to choose him/her and to love him/her in the first plae.
The Honey Jar also provides a built in opportunity to learn and practice new listening skills. The absense of good listening skills leads in part, to conflict, discord, and erosion of closeness. The Honey Jar could very well be the first step in "falling back in love" with your spouse.
What People Are Saying About "The Honey Jar"
"We used the Honey Jar on our drive to our vacation spot. We thoroughly
enjoyed finding out new things about each other and talking about things
we haven't talked about in a long time"
"Fun and insightful!"
"We had a great time using the Honey Jar."
" I learned things about my husband I didn't know."
"We tried date night and had a hard time finding things to talk about."
Reasons Why The Honey Jar May Be The Best Communication Exercise For You
- It can assist with building upon your strengths as partners and as a couple.
It does not assume that all couple communication difficulties are based on cyles of conflict and arguing.
It can assis with learning how to open a conversation with neutral, honest, genuine statements.
It can allow you begin to grow from where you are, without a lot of formal training.
It can teach and encourage active, reflective listening.
- It encourages the development of "sacred" time where a couple establishes a routine devoted to engaging themselves in communication.
It can provide a safe vehicle for couples to learn how to have fun again together.
It is flexible. You can decide together the circumstances of when and and where you use the Honey Jar.
It does not require a professional counselor to assist you in benefitting from it.
It is compact and portable. You can take it on vacation. You can use it for car trips, date nights, or winding down at the end of the day.
It is not promoted as the "end all - be all" couple communication exercise guaranteed to fix your relationship.
Peggy's Note: There are helpful couple communication article on the Communication Articles Page of this website and on my Marriage website.
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