The famous 75-year Harvard study on happiness concluded this: “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
And the happiest people on the planet? Men 65 to 70 years old married more than 25 years.
But sadly getting there can be needlessly lonely, painful, and hopeless.
We see couples every day who love each other but have come to a place where they are not sure if they can stay together. With our process, they find more love in each other than ever before. And with the tools and skills that we teach, have long-term success not only in their relationship but with their kids and jobs too.
Relationships are the world’s most renewable resource.
We say this because we know it is true, we see it all the time. One doctor started recommending that her clients see us because she found it appalling that some of the counselors she was referring clients to suggested divorce in the very first session with couples. We have found that only about three percent of marriages need to end. Ninety-seven percent can make it given the right tools. Everyone deserves the chance for the most happiness possible, and according to Harvard building, long term quality relationships is vital.
What our coaching is about is learning a system of “speaking your truth in love.”
So nearly eighteen years ago, after five years of helping couples, we developed the Feeling Wheel 4.0. It helps us all speak a common language with the fundamental agreement that everyone’s feelings are real and only they are responsible for them.
It also helps us figure out our old “modes” that no longer serve our relationships. Modes are the patterns we develop to cope with our feelings. They are generally formed by the time we are seven years old. They often do not serve us well. The song “Someone I used to know” by Gotye has the line “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The first thing every couple must do is change the rules. The old rules almost never work. Many of our agreements are never spoken out loud and no longer serve the health of our relationships. Step one to begin to make better forgiveness is to forgive fully those around you so you can start to listen to them. We all think we are expert listeners and this is only true in listening to what we want to hear. To hear the truth, accept it and be present to your family, and our partners, in particular, we must listen to everything they are saying.
To do this, you have to be willing to learn to listen differently than ever before. Marla and I use the following acronym:
L- Look and Learn
Learn to forgive and once you have recognized what was hurt and honored your pain over those things, then remind yourself whenever that old habit of sadness that we all rehearse in our minds to focus on a new outcome. Then focus your eyes on your partner’s. Look for little things like microexpressions; you probably know them best so see if you can learn something new.
Use your intuition and really “be” with your partner when they are talking. You don’t have to be into Nascar to appreciate someone else’s appreciation. Stop multitasking and just “be” with your partner. I first noticed this at dinner with a bunch of fellow travelers who were British, and when I talked they put their forks down and looked at me attentively. It feels a little strange at first because, in North America, we are used to multitasking. Put down your phone, turn the t.v. off and show that you’re interested.
I am the worst at this. Marla often is so interesting and excites me into talking over her. This is not listening or caring for the person speaking. Not talking at all is not silence because an active listener does vocalize sounds of interest while nodding matching your partner’s gestures in a complementary way. Listening with your eyes helps as well as turning to face them.
Connecting means seeing the bigger picture. The heart has been proven to be the master of the amygdala and the fight, flight or freeze responses. The electromagnetic waves of our hearts are the real communication. What message are you getting and giving from your heart, and theirs? This is where all good things start. You can learn to set the tone of the conversation by using your heart waves, sounds a bit crazy but check out Heartmath.org.
As with your body position and head tilt, let them expand on what they are saying, asking small questions you can focus the conversation, gently, in the direction that will help your partner share with you what matters to you both. Remember your questions are very telling of your interest level, and intention. Anything that feels like judgment or criticism to them will have an adverse effect. Often, those that are sarcastic are perceived as judging or not interested.
The present is the only give we give each other, and it is rare. Just look around at a restaurant. How many people have their phones out? I hate when I let the phone rob me of a better conversation. It can almost always wait. Being fully present means not allowing anything but the person and what they are saying and not saying, occupy your thoughts. It just takes a bit of practice every day.
Maya Angelou said people want to know:
Do you see me? Do you care that I am here? Am I enough for you? Do you need me to be better in some way? And, can I tell that I am important to you by how you look at me.
By giving these things to your partner, you can begin to have a better conversation. At Passion Provokers we operate on the principle that “if you can describe someone’s Pain, as well or better than they can, there is nothing they won’t do for you. If you can listen with your heart and communicate that you care deeply, then you begin a new conversation, a new relationship, and the possibilities are limitless.
Thank you so much for reading,
Jami and Marla bring eighteen years of relationship coaching as well as their Occupatonal and Counseling degrees to your relationships. Having worked with thousands of singles and couples they have achieved a 97% success rate in keeping couples together, happily! The Passion Provokers system is supplemented by their Feeling Wheel App available at iTunes. The powerful insights and concise teachings are easily learned. Many have said that in three or four sessions they have made more progress than ten years of other work.
Our Affair Repair system has saved many couples years of pain. The sooner we are cantacted the sooner the healing can begin. Vist their website to learn more at: http://www.passionprovokers.com/