Keeping Cupid active in February and beyond

Feb 01, 2019

Have you ever wondered what marriage and family therapists (LMFT) do when they work with couples? As a licensed Washington State LMFT, I will take you behind the closed door on how we use some tools that doctors John Gottman (AKA “The Einstein of Love”) and his wife Julie Gottman have given us to help our clients evaluate where their partnership is at and where it might be headed.

These Orcas Island residents have worked with troubled couples for years, and due to their interactions with more than 3,500 couples, these islanders have developed principles for assisting us therapists to help couples help themselves.

In my practice I have often used “Einstein of Love” guidelines as a map on how my paired clients can evaluate their overall relationship. With these Orcas Islanders’ compass I have couples sit face to face and instruct them to talk directly with each other and not to me. Then I give each person three minutes of uninterrupted time to rate their relationship from a low one to a top eight.

Each person will then explain their answer, and after the first one does, the other will have time to respond to their partner’s comments.

I remind them their goal is not to get through the questions in one session, but rather the goal is to talk to each other.

Tell me two things your partner accomplished in the last two days.

Name either your mate’s favorite movie, book or vacation, and how it affected your mate.

What dreams of things to be does your companion have?

What motivates him or her to get up in the morning?

What are your teammate’s life stressors, and how do you help to reduce them?

Name three of your partnership goals.

What positive terms do you use about your teammate when you are around friends or acquaintances?

What are two things you would not want your mate to change?

As you conclude the more positive things you know about the person you chose to live with, the higher the odds are that you are in a stable relationship.

According to our two love scholars, your fondness, admiration and willingness to verbally communicate with each other are the most important elements in keeping your “starrier eyes alive.”

How often do you turn eye to eye with your chosen mate and let the person know they are the valued person in your life? The more you let your equal know this, both verbally and with your body language, the more likely your relationship will be on solid ground into the future.

The Orcas Island couple – let’s not call them experts but rather “lovespirits” – has found that the less a person responds to a question asked by a team member is a major red flag for keeping the relationship stable.

Throughout the day how do you use your partner as your alter ego? By this I mean that even when you are separated you can still “hear” your soul mate’s advisory voice. The Love Doctors teach that “letting your partner influence you isn’t about one person holding the reins; it’s about honoring and respecting both people in the relationship.”

According to the love researchers, the most common blockage toward verbal exchanges is when one of the members feels he or she is being held back. Happy couples know the importance of helping each other to reach their potential; therefore each person addresses, respects and supports their partner’s dreams. A happy couple realizes each person’s dreams are also their collective dreams.

The Einstein of Love encourages couples to create a shared meaning to their relationship by supporting each other’s personal goals. “Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love. It also … has to do with creating an inner life together, a culture rich with rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you…”

To me a relationship is like a photographer’s work. These pros don’t just take pictures. They make great pictures. Likewise, happy couples are always finding ways to strengthen bonds.

Darn Right, to keep Cupid around your partnership, it takes both of you to do things that will help keep your starrier eyes aglow.

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