Judith Cannon, PhD, LMFT

Healing, Growth, Creativity Enriching

Our Lives, Our Relationships, Our World

Creating Passionate and Enduring Relationships

 

Laying the Bricks

 

With a foundation of spiritual practices and a plan to decide, devote, and develop yourself in the context of your relationship, we will now focus on the healthy relationship skills that let you build your relationship, day by day, brick by brick. Once again, the focus is on you and the development of your healthy relationship skills, not on judging or attempting to change your partner.

 

Centering yourself

†††† Come to the truth (and keep coming back to the truth) that you are loveable, you are good, you are worthwhile, and you are a beautiful child of the Universe.

†††† Come to value, know and appropriately express ALL of yourself.

†††† Understand your own values, goals, and purpose.

†††† Take responsibility for your own experience, reactions, needs, and vulnerabilities.

†††† Handle your feelings without exploding or repressing.

†††† Speak the truth without blame or judgment.

†††† Control impulses. You do not have to say every thing that comes into your mind. You do not have to do everything at occurs to you as a possibility.

†††† Keep commitments. Keep little commitments like being on time. Define larger commitments you have to yourself and your partner and be conscious of honoring them.

†††† Practice self-soothing.

†††† Maintain a sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself, your imperfections, and your beautiful and flawed humanity.

 

Communication

†††† Practice deep listening.

†††† Seek to understand. Attend to verbal and non-verbal communication.

†††† Ask for clarification. Donít assume you understand.

†††† Say what you are thinking. Donít assume the other person understands.

†††† Maintain a curious, non-judgmental attitude.

†††† Practice compassion.

†††† Speak the truth in love. Say what needs to be said, but say it as gently and kindly as you can.

†††† Attend to what is going on between the two of you and not just the words you each are saying.

†††† Understand context. What old feelings are getting kicked up? What are current stresses that may be affecting you and your partner?

 

Conflict management

In any relationship, there will be difficulties and differences. The ability to appropriately handle conflict is a vital relationship skill. In a partnership, the underlying goal in managing conflict is to stay connected with the other person and to affirm the person with whom we are struggling.

 

†††† Use ďIĒ messages. Express a complaint (not a criticism) with a request for change.

†††† Take responsibility for yourself.

†††† Choose to take down your defensive shield.

†††† Manage reactivity.

†††† Know how your brain works.

†††† Know your buttons.

†††† Take time out.

†††† Stop ruminating on the negatives

†††† Examine reactivity to increase understanding.

†††† Practice creative conflict.

 

Connecting

†††† Express five times as many positives as negatives.

†††† Maintain mutual respect.

†††† Nurture the feeling of connection.

†††† Understand childhood attachment issues. Your connection with your primary caregiver affects your current relationship experiences.

†††† Seek to understand any blocks to connection.

†††† Understand natural oscillating connection/disconnection. Learn about losing and regaining love. The ability to repair broken connection is basis of trust.

†††† Express appreciation daily.

†††† Increase your capacity to play and create together.

†††† Discuss the purpose of your relationship and what legacy you wish to create.

†††† Find glory in your relationship story.

 

For more information about Creating Passionate and Enduring Relationships, read:

 

Conclusion

Laying the Brick