Our June Divorce Salon in Vancouver, led by Relationship Coaches and Mentors Jack and Soorya Resels, involved a rich dialogue with our participants about how to rejuvenate their relationships and thrive. So that those who weren’t able to join us can still benefit, guest bloggers Jack and Soorya share the key themes and ideas from that evening with our larger Connect community here.
When people hear that we’ve been married for 48 years, they often look at us incredulously and ask “How did you do it? How have you stayed together for so long?”
Usually we look at each other, smile and ask, “Do you want the short answer or the truth?”
Here’s the truth in a nutshell: We have stayed together for all these years by recommitting again and again to our relationship, and not to being right. What does that look like?
For us that looks like being willing to learn and discover the answers to these five important questions. Below we have summarized what has consistently worked for us.
1. How do you build a strong foundation for creating a long lasting relationship?
Here are 4 pillars to build your strong foundation:
- Be authentic in your communication: Take the time to say what you need, think and feel (without blaming) and to listen (without interrupting) to what is true for your partner.
- Learn to express your emotions transparently: Share what you feel without fear. And if there is fear share that. The three main emotions that cause the greatest difficulties with couples, when not expressed or expressed inappropriately, are anger, sadness, and their root, fear. You can learn to feel and communicate them responsibly.
- Align your values and accept your differences. Create exclusive times where you can wonder together and discover what you each really want, so you can make plans to reach your goals.
- A healthy dose of humour and having fun is key: i.e. don’t take yourself so seriously.
These 4 pillars are skills that you can definitely learn.
2. How can you eliminate conflict?
This question fools us all. You can’t eliminate conflict! Conflict in relationships is inevitable. However, you can learn from every relationship interaction and you can reduce dissension. How?
- By focusing on listening (hearing your partner without judging, with curiosity) in order to understand each other. Understanding is more important than agreeing with each other.
- By slowing down your communication. First pay attention to what your partner is saying. Only then think about how you will respond.
- By understanding and accepting that conflict is your opportunity to take responsibility, open and grow.
3. What is the key ingredient for creating positive experiences in your relationship?
Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate: the more you appreciate, the more you find to appreciate.
Gay and Katie Hendricks say that attention is the currency of relationship. Just as negative attention is the surest way to destroy safety and trust, positive attention is the key ingredient to nurture your relationships to their full potential.
John and Julie Gottman say that 5 positive interactions or communications are necessary to undo the damage done by one negative comment, look, or tone.
4. What qualities do you need to adopt to get back on track when you are inevitably triggered?
Commit and recommit to your relationship: You will get triggered. You are a human being. No problem. When you notice, just recommit to learning and discovery in your relationship.
When you get triggered, get curious about what the trigger is telling you about yourself instead of blaming and being right.
5. What are the most effective tools to get unstuck from negative patterns?
The quickest way to soothe your agitated mind and upset feelings is to move your body so that stuck energies can flow. We call it: Take a ride in your BMW.
- B = Breathing (Reset breath): take a few easy breaths and on an out breath, let it go fully and hold your breath out until your body says, “Time to breathe now.” Do this 3-5 times.
- M = Moving (Creative joint play): the simplest form of movement is to move any joints that feel stiff and stuck in new creative ways. Move until you feel flow. The sillier you feel and look the better.
- W = Wondering: think of stroking your chin as Einstein might have done and say “Hmmm, I wonder… Wondering opens your mind to letting wisdom and surprise come to you instead of repeating age old patterns.
For insight and support in your own journey, you are welcome to contact us at info@JackandSoorya.com.
About the Bloggers:
Soorya and Jack are relationship coaches and spiritual mentors. They are certified Conscious Loving and Living Coaches and have worked with 100’s of individuals and couples. They have studied and trained with world renowned relationship experts Drs Katie and Gay Hendricks. Learn more about Jack and Soorya here.