Friday, May 28, 2010
There is a chapter in "Fighting for Your Marriage" titled "Being There". The suggestions sound like common sense ways to support our partners, but often we overlook the obvious.
For example, when I see Everett struggling with something I might blurt out, "What's wrong?" His response, "Nothing." How much better to offer to talk. "Would you like to talk?" When you do that you listen supportively.
The book suggests:
Focus on your partner
Pay attention, do not multitask
Touch your partner while listening
Let your partner know you are listening
Do not interrupt
Make your partner feel understood
I would add that you can make him/her feel understood through reflective listening. Do not give your partner solutions or advice or tell him/her what went wrong. Trust him/her to work out solutions to his/her own problem. Support that. You will find more about how to do reflective listening in my book, "Becoming Soul Mates".
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I recently received a new book called, "Fighting for Your Marriage". It is actually a revised updated edition of an old book titled, "Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce" by Markham, Stanley, and Blumberg. The size of the book, 428 pages, is a bit overwhelming, but the print is reader friendly. This updated version of the book addresses the significant changes marriage has gone through during the last decade.
My book, "Becoming Soul Mates" was published in 2003. Although the basic truths for making relationship work haven't changed, certainly the negative influence of technological communication and change in lifestyles make a revised approach to talking about it desirable. This book has done that.
I will share some thoughts from "Fighting for Your Marriage" in the days ahead. Look forward to that.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Some couples take togetherness to the extreme. They don't understand that spending time apart can contribute to growth and differentiation. For a guy to get away for fishing or hiking or golf with friends can actually give him new energy and appreciation for the woman he loves. Women benefit from getting away as well.
I recently spent a weekend at beautiful Woodleaf attending a women's retreat. I did a workshop on Saturday afternoon on "A Little Love Can Create Miracles". I enjoyed making new friends and enjoying women young, old, single, married. We knew each other by first names and not by labels--all women coming together to celebrate our faith and love of God.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The premise of my book, "Becoming Soul Mates" is that you don't find a soul mate, you learn to become one. To become soul mates you must accept the fact that relationship constantly changes as you go through the stages of life. You need not feel sad about that because as Anne Lindburgh says "all living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must perpetually be building themselves new forms."
A part of the excitement of a growing relationship is the kaleidoscope effect changes bring. New knowledge, new challenges, new discoveries, new growth in your partner and in you. People who try to hang on to the "honeymoon stage" or the "child-rearing stage", for example, will never be successful at becoming soul mates.
These changes are often called the stress points in relationships. Unfortunately, both partners may not change at the same time. This stresses the left-behind partner and may lead to infidelity, disconnection, and even divorce. If you can survive these changes your love deepens, trust grows, and your relationship matures. You may even realize you have become soul mates, comfortable with giving your partner freedom to grow.