Self Help Marriage
I have been a self help marriage kind of domestic violence counselor for quite awhile.
The model I have taught, because it is full of self help tools that couples can do themselves, is the Gottman model.
It involves videos and questionaires that couples do together to facilitate a deeper connection and the ability to do what Gottman calls nurture positive emotions, which he speaks to in the following short video.
Nurturing Positive Emotions
It sounds so simple doesn't it, just nurture positive emotions. It is easy to do and fun, and what no one ever tells us is that we need to repeat the process of creating positive feelings very frequently because they do not last for very long.
Stop and think about it. How long do you hold a feeling of contentment when remembering your favorite fishing hole, for example.
Since feelings follow thoughts, the physiology changes as soon as you change your thought.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a tool that I could use to learn how to cue a heart felt feeling of contentment on demand?
This particular tool exists, and it is called HeartMath.
HeartMath is a biofeedback tool which is easy to learn, so that I can begin to use my affiliative and cooperative heart intelligence in the proverbial heart beat.
Did you know that your heart has a very sophisticated nervous system of its own, a nervous system that can learn and make decisions independently of any other brain you have?
It does, and with a few practices, I can cue that physiology on demand, without the computer, and operate in my relationship from a place of coherence, even opening up higher perceptual centers in my head.
And my mate can learn the same process, and we can then work from the heart beat of the relationship.
Here is a video which describes this process.
Self Help Marriage Tips from John Gottman Gottman’s Marriage Tips 101
Since 1973, Dr. John Gottman has studied what he calls the "masters and disasters" of marriage. Ordinary people from the general public took part in long-term studies, and Dr. Gottman learned what makes marriages fail, what makes them succeed, and what can make marriages a source of great meaning. By examining partners’ heart rates, facial expressions, and how they talk about their relationship to each other and to other people, Dr. Gottman is able to predict with more than 90% accuracy which couples will make it, and which will not. What advice does Dr. Gottman have to offer? Below are some of his top suggestions for how to keep your marriage strong.
* Seek help early. The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems (and keep in mind, half of all marriages that end do so in the first seven years). This means the average couple lives with unhappiness for far too long. * Edit yourself. Couples who avoid saying every critical thought when discussing touchy topics are consistently the happiest. * Soften your "start up." Arguments first "start up" because a spouse sometimes escalates the conflict from the get-go by making a critical or contemptuous remark in a confrontational tone. Bring up problems gently and without blame. * Accept influence. A marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife. If a woman says, "Do you have to work Thursday night? My mother is coming that weekend, and I need your help getting ready," and her husband replies, "My plans are set, and I'm not changing them". This guy is in a shaky marriage. A husband's ability to be influenced by his wife (rather than vice-versa) is crucial because research shows women are already well practiced at accepting influence from men, and a true partnership only occurs when a husband can do so as well. * Have high standards. Happy couples have high standards for each other even as newlyweds. The most successful couples are those who, even as newlyweds, refused to accept hurtful behavior from one another. The lower the level of tolerance for bad behavior in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road. * Learn to repair and exit the argument. Successful couples know how to exit an argument. Happy couples know how to repair the situation before an argument gets completely out of control. Successful repair attempts include: changing the topic to something completely unrelated; using humor; stroking your partner with a caring remark ("I understand that this is hard for you"); making it clear you're on common ground ("This is our problem"); backing down (in marriage, as in the martial art Aikido, you have to yield to win); and, in general, offering signs of appreciation for your partner and his or her feelings along the way ("I really appreciate and want to thank you for.…"). If an argument gets too heated, take a 20-minute break, and agree to approach the topic again when you are both calm. * Focus on the bright side. In a happy marriage, while discussing problems, couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones. For example, "We laugh a lot;" not, "We never have any fun". A good marriage must have a rich climate of positivity. Make deposits to your emotional bank account.
Not only does HeartMath give me the perfect tool to nurture positive feelings, it is also the perfect stress management tool for brain fitness.
Alvaro Fernandez, the creator of SharpBrains, says that the HeartMath emWave is the top stress management product on the market, and is an excellent tool to use in a brain fitness workout.
Curious about brain fitness? Read the book on brain fitness,
Brainfit for Life,
and try some of the brain fitness programs to increase your IQ, or enhance your short term memory.
Would You Share What You Are Most Grateful For?
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.