Soul-centered dating is first and foremost a process of self-discovery. It’s not about how to dress or what to say, but rather how to balance your head with your heart so you can make good relationship choices. Once you begin to move away from the self-limiting beliefs that have held you back (Step 1), you want to start to create a clear, vibrant picture of what you’re moving toward.
I recently completed my 64th weekend workshop for couples. Once again I was impressed by a group of intrepid couples who were willing to leave their emotional comfort zone to create something better for themselves. One of the exercises of the workshop is brainstorming a list of effective communication behaviors and attitudes. Then I ask the group how many saw their families exercise these behaviors 50% or more of the time when things got tense. I never have had more than 15% of the couples raise their hands.
It is impossible for me to even estimate the number of times I hear couples in my office say their partner doesn’t listen or understand. Often both people will say it. As my practice is in Silicon Valley, home of some of the brightest people on the planet, one would think understanding would come easier. Maybe it has to do with concentration. So I’ll give you a test to check your powers of concentration.
This blog post features us negotiating through a real conflict in our life. Ellyn really wanted to go to Africa to participate with a non-profit strongly supports. Pete didn’t want to go. And he had a lot of very good reasons! It’s a bit disarming to share our own personal journey. But it underscores our commitment to differentiation in our lives and the lives of our clients. We deeply believe in the material we teach and its value for couples’ evolution. We practice what we preach, and we’re willing to let you know where we struggle.
“Chore Wars” are a common problem for couples: 1) sharing housework 2) negotiating the schedule for chores 3) agreeing on standards that are acceptable to both partners. It’s a problem that won’t go away. Bathtubs get grimy, dust bunnies multiply in corners, clutter accumulates everywhere – as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.
How much do you value being seen and heard? Do you really want a truly successful relationship? How important is it to have impact on others? Then speak up! Of course, for some people, that’s easier said than done. You might prefer to sky dive without a parachute than tell another person what’s really on your mind. But it is possible to develop an assertiveness connected to head and heart that clears the way for honest, empowered living-without being rude to others.
A marriage is the most rewarding – and the most challenging – relationship of your life. Don’t let this alarm you, but no matter how old you are, how smart you are, or how hip you are, your relationship to your spouse will parallel your relationship to your parents during your childhood. Your marriage will mirror many of the stages you went through beginning with infancy, when you believed that you and your mom were in fact the same person; to the tantrums, withdrawal and defiance you used as a toddler to separate yourself from her.
Effective leaders and effective marriages have three things in common: 1. Leaders and partners learn from their experiences. 2. They learn how to adapt to changing conditions. 3. They pay attention and anticipate probable future problems. During the winter of 1911, Robert Scott was racing to be the first man to get to the South Pole. He set off on a journey of adventure with the potential for enormous satisfaction but also filled with hardships and difficulties–just like the adventure of marriage.
It’s understandable that couples are wary about bringing up sensitive topics. The avoidance of pain and distress are major motivators to go into hiding. But too much avoidance can lead to marital corrosion. So how can this difficult problem be managed? Because of the extra length, this month’s column is divided into two parts with the second part finishing next month.
Summer vacations can involve family visits, which often present a challenge for many couples. I thought it might be timely to share with you a column I wrote for the “San Jose Mercury News.” Q: My husband and I are at odds over visiting his family in Florida. His mother has remarried (his father died years ago) and her husband is impossible to be around. He is constantly criticizing me and the kids, and when we visit I have a terrible time. My husband says I am overly sensitive and should just “let it go,” which is how he handles his family.