Valentine’s day is here! Whether it’s a holiday we love or one we love to hate, there’s no denying that it puts ‘love’ on the brain. One of the most loving things you can offer your partner is the privilege of knowing you and knowing them in return. However, often this level of vulnerability is difﬁcult even in our closest and most intimate partner relationships. Below is a sharing exercise that sets the table for daily engagement and opens the door for deeper, more fulﬁlling conversation that will allow us to know and be known.
feelings • afﬁrmation • needs • ownership • spirituality
In Greek the word fanos means light or lantern …. We will use this acronym to help us take a brief time each day to turn on the light and allow what is in your soul to be plainly seen by your partner. Set aside time each day to share with your partner from each of the 5 areas. You will take turns sharing and follow the rules below:
Rule #1 — No interrupting when your partner speaks.
Rule #2 — No replying to what your partner says during this exercise.
Rule #3 — You may listen.
Rule #4 — You may ask clarifying questions at the end.
Rule #5 — At the end of your listening/clarifying respond with the words “Thank you for sharing.”
Rule #6 — Do not engage in any deeper conversations resulting from FANOS for 24 hours.
When sharing with your partner try to cover each of the areas of FANOS:
FEELINGS – What are you feeling today? Be as open as you can. Avoid blaming. Take responsibility for the way you feel. Explain it simply yet fully.
AFFIRMATION – What is one thing that you can readily afﬁrm about your partner? It can be something big or something simple. Something conﬁned to that moment/ day or something ongoing.
NEEDS – What is something you need? This may be something you are feeling like you need from your partner in particular or just any other need you may feel. It may be an obvious one that (s)he already knows or it may be something new.
OWNERSHIP – What is something you need to confess and take ownership for? Big, small, the whole story, or just something. Taking ownership, unprompted, every day for some shortcoming demonstrates to your partner the proactivity that (s)he needs to feel from you to believe in the forward progress of your partnership together.
SPIRITUALITY/STRUGGLE/SOBRIETY – Share some part of one of these areas with your partner. What has moved you, challenged you or inspired you?
(The FANOS exercise was taken and adapted from “Shattered Vows” by Debra Laaser, pg. 184-186)