The Art & Science of Love
Homo sapiens have been gifted with the use of speech. Unfortunately, it's more like mis-speech, really. Our world is full of miscommunications. Since it's baseball season I will explain it to you with a baseball analogy: Even the best batter misses the ball at least 70% of the time. So even the world's best communicators are misunderstood a majority of the time.
(Photo at left: Steve demonstrates his ability to "self-soothe" without the guidance of the Gottman method meditation sequence. He says he learned how to meditate at a smoking cessation program long ago. Wendy noticed the dialogue one partner reads to the other is basically the same as what her hypnotherapist uses to relax her. The purpose of "self-soothing" and relaxation is to lower the heart rate, thus being able to "listen" better by not being in a state of fight-or-flight.)
Steve and I have been married for over 8 years. Most of it's been great - while also being hard. We are always facing job, health, or financial situations (who isn't, I guess). I long for the days of being able to pay bills without needing to check the bank account first. We had that for a short time - before we bought a house and tripled our housing costs (now quadrupled). I want there to be so much money in there it won't matter.
One thing we are really great at is having fun together. We really enjoy each other's company and doing fun things. But "everyday life" sometimes is more difficult due to those little miscommunications along with other long-term misunderstandings. We thought it would be super if we could add some new communication skills to our toolboxes.
We generally ddidn't feel we needed "counseling". What we needed was a course on talking to each other - and listening to each other. Steve read a white paper written by the research assistant to a professor at the University of Washington and by way of that and a suggestion from someone else, we found The Gottman Institute. http://www.gottman.com/
We signed up for The Art and Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples with John Gottman, Ph.D., Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D. and Certified Gottman Therapists. They only hold these workshops a very few times each year, and people fly to Seattle from all over the country to attend. We are fortunate to live in the Northwest. We signed up for it in early February - and sometimes it felt as if April couldn't get here soon enough! http://www.gottman.com/marriage/weekend_workshop/
We safely made it to April 22nd. We're pretty good when it comes to disagreements - we both will get heated but the sun never sets on an argument and we've always been real respectful of each other and never stooped to name calling or other harmful behaviors. I think we both felt our attendance at this workshop was for "enhancement" and not "relationship repair".
The Gottman Institute rents out the Rainier Rooms at Seattle Center. Not just one room - ALL of them, the entire BUILDING. Every room was arranged with widely spaced pairs of chairs facing each other, for the work sessions we would be engaging in over the two day workshop.
What I came away with is that understanding one another is a lot of work. And solving gridlocked issues is tough - especially since as you talk the issue you think you're talking about metamorpheses into something else. Marriage isn't easy, altho I like to think ours is easier than many, despite all of the "challenges" we have been faced with over the years. Confirming that you are indeed in a strong loving relationship is a wonderful feeling. Truly being great friends and being able to have a good time together is a real bonus!
The weather this weekend was fabulous! We spent some of our work sessions outdoors on the plaza. It was also Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival at Seattle Center. There were some martial arts demonstrations, and some great Japanese drumming!