The Daily Temperature Reading – A Skill for Committed Relationships
Dr. Rita DeMaria, LMFT, CST is a Staff Therapist and Director of Healthy Relationships and Wellness Programs at Council for Relationships.
Yes, you can love someone for a lifetime–but you need the knowledge and skills to maintain and grow the relationship.
It’s not how much you love each other that strengthens a long-term relationship; it’s how you resolve differences and preserve fun and sensuality. Luckily, everyone can learn, practice, and improve their relationship skills. Later in this blog, I will share a quick exercise, the Daily Temperature Reading, that helps couples improve their regular communication skills and builds closeness.
Over many years as a therapist, I have identified the seven reasons people want to develop healthy relationships skills:
Communicating – listening and self expression
Managing anger and resentment
Dealing with individual differences
Wanting more out of the relationship
Rebuilding trust when it has been broken
Being single–wanting to find the ‘one’ and develop a healthy relationship
If you’re looking for any of these things, then you’re in luck: I designed my programs around these key facets. I teach people how to communicate effectively, manage conflicts without damaging closeness, and how to preserve and enhance commitment, friendship and intimacy. If you’ve never been to a program like this before, you may be wondering what kinds of skills you could learn. In this blog, I’m going to share one of my favorite exercises, the Daily Temperature Reading, with you.
The Daily Temperature Reading was developed by Virginia Satir – a pioneer of family therapy. It is a skill-based activity that you and your partner can do together on a regular basis to build a connection and learn to communicate on important topics. It was used in the PAIRS Program and by the Smart Marriages- Healthy Families Conference.
As you’ll learn in the video below, the Daily Temperature Reading is made up of five parts:
Appreciation – something you each appreciate that the other person did
New Information – big or small, something you haven’t shared with your partner
Puzzle – what’s on your mind, what issues are you struggling with
Complaint with request for change – ask your partner what you need
Wish, hope, or dream – something you’re looking forward to
Watch the video below for a walk through of the exercise:
You can find my Daily Temperature Reading worksheet here. You may find it helpful to print this out and refer to it until you and your partner have the steps memorized.
About Dr. DeMaria
Early in my career, I became interested in a number of relationship skills programs, including Prepare-Enrich and PAIRS – Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills. For over 20 years I taught the PAIRS program to hundreds of participants. I also conducted research on helping distressed couples, published several professional books, and a bestselling health and wellness book with Reader’s Digest, The 7 Stages of Marriage.
I have trained and collaborated with my colleagues at Council for Relationships to develop the Relationship Check Up and Healthy Relationships and Wellness Programs, for which I currently serve as the Director. The experiences of helping people with their most important relationships has transformed me as a person, as a wife, and as a clinician.