Imagine you were building a relationship in an arranged marriage.
You have met your husband/wife perhaps one time prior to your marriage ceremony, now what?
That is exactly what happens for most of the marriages on the planet. They are arranged by marriage brokers or parents, and astoundingly, 95% of arranged unions in India, for example, are successful, in that the couple grow in happiness together, and they stay together. Those marriages are arranged with an eye to compatibility and sustainability.
Compare that to our model in the U.S. where the Disney protocol of Prince Charming meets Cinderella, they get together with the aid of the Fairy Godmother, and live happily ever after, or the Hugh Hefner model of "Just Do It", which is an early take on the famous Nike slogan, which fails 50% of the time in our first, second, and third marriages.
According to Robert Epstein,Ph.D. those folks in India should be observed to see what it is they do to make so many marriages so successsful.
He says that they make a commitment to practice intimacy, and we should do that too.
Epstein even has students in his class practice one of the exercises he advocates, 'soul gazing', where a couple take a couple of minutes to look deeply into each others eyes in an attempt to see souls.
The impact of that two minute exercise is astounding, especially in terms of what the participants report about their feelings of closeness for their co-conspirator. That feeling of closeness goes way up, even for folks who have never met.
Epstein describes another exercise for couples which involves heart beat synchronization.
I was quite excited to see that because I have done something similar in my own practice using an extraordinary tool called Heartmath, which is tool that has grown out of our recent discovery of the heart's own nervous system.
Long story short, using the computerized program, you can train yourself to manage the time between heart beats very quickly (three hours for me) which feels really good. That is right, stress management and intimacy building all in one. Throw in peak performance too.
It occurred to me several years ago that I could teach couples to do their own Heartmath process, and then work on the heart beat of the relationship.
If a couple are hooked up to separate computers and then hold hands, there is a heart beat of the relationship which couples can see.
Sometimes couples heart beats become so synchronous that both computers look the same.
However the major point most couple took away was how fast that relationship moves out of coherence, based on how one person was thinking, and dynamic the relationship heart beat is, how rapidly it moves.
The dynamism makes it clear to couples that the relationship heart beat needs to be attended to much more frequently than most couples had thought previously.
Helen Fisher,Ph.D. has another take on building a relationship. Based on her research on romantic love, among other loving topics, she says that we humans fall into 4 broad personality types, each associated with a particular hormone or neurotransmitter, and we can enhance our chance for that early stage of love chemistry if we meet folks of a compatible personality type.
How do we find a compatible type? Got to go to Chemistry.com where Professor Fisher is the Chief Scientific Officer, and take the free quiz. Then you can sign up to meet others whose personality type is compatible.
Much better process than going to the corner tavern and hoping to meet someone who is compatible.
John Gottman,Ph.D. is another scientist who I believe is cut from the same mold as Epstein. Dr. Gottman has been studying relationships for 30 years, and has put together a workshop for couples to do, which is comprised of a series of worksheets and videos.
Again, the emphasis is on regular effort for building a deeper relationship. Dr. Gottman's exercises are based on what he has seen the Master's of Marriage do naturally in their marriages to continue building a relationship.
So it would appear that our we truely do build relationships and that effort must happen on a regular basis, perhaps even as frequently as heart beat by heart beat.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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