How To Strengthen Your Relationship


Worth Reading from Off the Web!     ~ excerpt from: https://blogs.psychcentral/Relationships

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If you’re stuck in communication patterns where you can “predict” what one another will say or do, it likely means it’s time to stop and think with your frontal cortex.

While it may be true that what your partner is doing is not working, its’ also true that you only have 100% of the power to change your part in the drama.

To make this work, each partner must own their part. You are not a rock or an island. You’re interconnected.

But even if only one of you becomes more responsible and aware, the sooner you own your part, the sooner you can access your power to make optimal choices and create great outcomes. And if you put the habit of criticizing to rest for instance, the more likely you will “influence” your partner’s heart to do the same.

After all don’t you already:

“See” and “know” how ineffective it is when your partner uses blame-, shame-, or guilt-inducing comments, or gets stuck on making negative forecasts etc. See and know how unloving or unloved you “feel” inside when your partner seems to be competing for “who” is right, better, superior, etc.?

So then why would you use the same or similar tactics when you’re arguing, and expect a different response from your partner?

Ask yourself, do you really want the prize of “who’s more hurt, wronged, etc.” on your mantel? What would you gain if the whole world agreed that your partner is to blame or impossible to live with? If you continue to stay on a track that builds a case against your partner, would this finally lead them to give you the love and value you yearn to realize in the relationship?

Likely not.

Keep in mind, like your heart, the key that opens your partner’s heart is feeling loved, valued, appreciated. You’re both wired to keep reaching to feel good about your self and life (i.e., happiness, joy), and thus, absent healthy ways of knowing how to feel good in moments of stress, boredom, etc., your body-mind will subconsciously opt for old tried-and-true “cheap-feel-good” options, which are often a waste of time and energy at best, if not harmful, destructive.

In a sense, you become your thoughts. It’s not just a good idea to become consciously aware of your thoughts. To not do so is like sitting on a million dollars rather than investing in creating ways. The good news is that it’s never too late to change negative patterns. Perhaps the most important take away here is to know you have this power.

Realizing your potential to create happiness and healthy relationships is a living, breathing process that ebbs and flows. The most vital moment at any time in life is always the present one.

If you do not own your happiness, seek to actively grow, to learn what works and what does not (wisdom), to take action accordingly, then you risk approaching your partner with discouraging tactics of criticism, blame, doubts, etc., triggers their deepest fears and doubts. It’s as if you are not there.

If you allow your thoughts or self-talk to keep you worrying about the future or wallowing about past failures or regrets, you cannot be present moment as an observer of your self and your relationship with your partner. It’s as if you are not there.

If you do not know what your partner wants and their reasons, you are at risk of making energy-deflating assumptions or treating your partner as an extension of your self. It’s as if you are not there.

If you do not take actions to consciously support you and your partner to realize what you want, you are at risk of getting stuck in fear-based patterns that activate old emotion-command circuitry in your brain (so old, it takes you back to patterns formed when you were 3 or 5 years old!). Again, it is as if you’re not there.

Realizingyourpotential as individuals and a couple is less an “outcome” and more an intention to live life fully, to learn, to grow in wisdom and understanding, to realize the amazing built in capabilities you have to stretch your capacity for compassion for your self and your partner.

What does that mean exactly and what is true potential? One thing your potential isn’t is a fixed, static outcome written in stone. Flexibility is a characteristic of creative energy (power); whereas inflexibility is characteristic of destructive power.

Potential can be described as a growing desire to bring into your life and relationship more love, more authenticity, more integrity, more acceptance, more humility, more gratitude, more sense of wellbeing. This is living with the intention for you and your partner to love one another by living to keep reaching for your highest, true potential as individuals and partners.

Ultimately realizing your potential involves cultivating your ability to do the “right” thing, and keep doing the right thing , especially when you do not “feel” like doing so, builds character, strength, courage and also deepens and matures your capacity to love your self, partner and life in a compassionate, wise-and-understanding way.

To do the right thing is to takeaction accordingly, meaning that it stems from wanting to do so, thus, out of emotions love, joy, caring, thoughtfulness, kindness, instead of emotions of fear, guilt, and shame.

One of the most powerful (and least accessed in relationships) kinds of action is to make clear, action-inspiring requests.

In couple relationships, this often comes “easy” for one partner, and not so easy for the other. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It seems to be nature’s plan to bring together polar opposites on this (and other) dimensions. Nature seems to be interested in your growth, progress, transformation, and loves to challenge you.

Your couple relationship is a top-notch school, you may say, and the curriculum seems custom designed for both of you to stretch or change or modify your approach in the direction of the other.

For example:

  • For the partner who “easily” makes requests, it may mean they need to tone down the intensity with which they make requests so they sound less like demands, ultimatums to the other.
  • For the partner who responds with “I don’t know” when asked what they want, it may mean they need to stop talking themselves out of connecting to what they really want or making requests (to avoid upsetting the other).
  • For both partners, it likely means you need to learn to “reimage” the other in your mind, so you “see” and treat the other as loving and loved, valued and appreciated (as you did when you first met!). This is an infinitely more powerful and effective way to restore your relationship –  better than criticism, reactive negativity and the like.

To create the life experiences that meet your deepest yearnings means you must develop the ability to ask for what you want, and to listen to understand your partner’s.

Set an intention to become more and more aware of how you choose to use your power in present moments:

  • to know and understand what you and your partner want and why
  • take action to make life consciously more wonderful for one another This also frees you both to access life-shaping, miracle-making energies inside.

Relationship Success

… boils down to 2 qualities –

Kindness & Generosity

couple-1190902_1920A team of researchers hooked couples up to electrodes and asked the couples to speak about their relationship: how they met, a major conflict they were facing together, and a positive memory they had. As they spoke, electrodes measured the subject’s blood flow, heart rates, and how much they sweat. Then the researchers sent the couples home and followed up with them 6 years later to see if they were still together.

From the data they gathered,  John Gottman (and team) separated the couples into two major groups: the Masters and the Disasters. The masters were still happily together after 6 years. The disasters had either broken up or were unhappy in their marriages.

One fact they found interesting: The more physiologically active the couples were in the experimental lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time. Now we’re not talking “aroused”  as in “sexually attracted”. We’re talking about being in fight-or-flight mode. Having a conversation, sitting next to their partner was, to their bodies, like facing off with a saber-toothed tiger! They didn’t feel safe with each other. Conversely, the masters had created a climate of trust and intimacy. They were more emotionally comfortable.

How did the masters create a culture of love and intimacy?

All people make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” The Other could respond by either turning toward” or “turning away.

Though the connection-bid might seem minor and silly to One partner, the Other partner apparently thought it was important enough to share, and the question is whether the partner recognizes and respects that.

Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow-up had “turn-toward bids”  of only 33% – Only 3 of 10  bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87% of the time. That means 9 out of 10. They were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
By observing these types of interactions, Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples — straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or not — will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later.
Much of it comes down to the ‘spirit’ couples bring to the relationship – personality characteristics. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?
Gottman concludes, “there’s a habit of mind that the Masters have. They are scanning the social environment for things about their partner they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building a culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.  On the other hand, the Disasters are scanning the social environment for their partners’ mistakes.”

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there.

People who give their partner the cold shoulder — deliberately ignoring the partner or responding minimally — damage the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and invisible, as if they are not there, and certainly, not valued. Being mean is the death bell of relationships.

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together. Research independent from Gottman has shown that kindness, along with emotional stability, are the most important predictors of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated.

There’s a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to love and generosity in a relationship. Please note: this means that one partner can bring out goodness in the other – by way of example.

Gottman gives an example: “Disasters will say things differently in a fight. Disasters will say ‘You’re late. What’s wrong with you? You’re just like your mom.’ Masters will say ‘I feel bad for picking on you about being late, and I know it’s not your fault, but it’s really annoying that you’re late again.’”

Masters appear to take the time to choose their words. They don’t ignore their feelings like some Disasters do (only to blow up later). They own their perceptions and approach the partner with a desire to share and solve the problem. Disasters will often approach as though they are an expert on the other and there is no invitation for a discussion.

Couples can learn to communicate with respect. They can learn about connection-bids. But they have to be motivated.

Excerpts from: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/happily-ever-after/372573/#ixzz3InrNj0bN

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