When a couple engages in an everyday disagreement they are talking but not always listening. Each is most likely thinking about their own response and how to defend against what the other is saying. Often they really don’t want to hear what is being said and are figuring out how to cleverly convince the other they are wrong.
The difference between that discussion and the Couples Diaglogue is that in the above argument they are not listening-to-understand each other, and certainly not dealing with each other's reality. Consequently, there is no real resolution, and the issue can come up again and again.
Imago Couples Dialogue, or intentional dialogue is a different way of talking and listening. It is listening attentively, and talking honestly and openly about issues. Dialogue protocol creates a safe place that allows the defenses to drop and an honest, real, heart to heart connection to happen. The Dialogue helps eliminate phrases like "You're not listening to me," or "You don't understand me."
When a couple communicates honestly and openly, and feels safe to do so, they can discover the real source of their issues. They can begin to heal and improve the relationship. Resolving, negotiating, or improving relationship issues such as trust, anger, intimacy, and finances results from open, honest, effective communication. This can be achieved through the Couples Dialogue--a communication skill that can easily be learned. (adapted from T. Atkinson, Imago Relationships Int’l)