What makes successful marriages?
The Fairy Godmother helping you? The law of averages? Oxytocin spray? Aphrodisiacs? The Play Boy advisor? I know I am dating myself with that reference, as I am not even sure their is a Play Boy magazine anymore, but actually it is none of these things.
Just ask Robert Expstein,Ph.D. or John Gottman,Ph.D. or Helen Fisher,Ph.D.
Fisher has been studying romantic love, which we consumers would probably identify as that early love, and Professor Fisher has given us a road map and even some significant suggestions about ways to find potential partners that you can have 'chemistry' with.
Epstein has written some very interesting material recently about the importance of intimacy building exercises for couples to engage in on a regular basis, like an intimacy workout, and Scott and Angie Tousignant have actually taken that concept one step further, creating a workout that couples can do together.
(Great way to get that androgen going that Professor Fisher links to the lust brain system).
Professor Epstein says that intimacy exercises are perhaps why 95% of arranged marriages in India are successful, meaning that the couple stays together, and report increasing levels of happiness, and divorce is an option for them, by the way.
Epstein wonders how those couples, who may have met once before their marriage, do what they do, while our marriages based on the Disney model or the Hefner model fail 50% of the time in first, second, and even third iterations.
Epstein advocates for couples to regularly practice intimacy exercises like soul gazing or heart rate synchronization.
John Gottman,Ph.D., has been studying couples and marriage from te violent to the sublime at his love lab for 30 years.
When you come to the Gottman love lab, you don't just fill out a couple of questionairres, you stay for the weekend and your physiological and behavioral metrics and communication, especially the nonverbal communication, are monitored very closely by the Gottman team.
Drawing on that research, the Gottman team has put together a workshop for couples called The Art and Science of Love, which walks a couple at home through written and video exercises very much akin to what Professor Epstein prescribes.
The point is that intimacy, once the Fisher romantic love stage has passed, takes regular attendance. I doubt that it should be called work, because I know the soul gazing exercise is fun.
But what does Helen Fisher,Ph.D. offer in the way of a path to successful marriages?
Based on her interpretation of her findings, she says we humans fall into four broad personality types, each ruled by a hormone, or a neurotransmitter, and that we should make an effort to begin chemistry with a compatible type.
Her suggestion is that we take a personality quiz at Chemistry.com and join up to have a regular flow of potential partners available for introduction.
Fisher is now the Chief Scientific officer at Chemistry.com.
I met my wife the old fashioned way, at a wedding, so I am unfamiliar with online services, but I have had clients use online services and report being very happy with the results.
I have actually taught couples a version of heart rate synchronization using a tool called heart rate variability biofeedback, or Heartmath.
Heartmath is a computerized biofeedback program which teaches folks to manage the time between heart beats, keeping that time coherent, which feels really good by the way.
Coherence is an easy technique to learn. I teach each of the individuals in the relationship to manage their own coherence, which is a very dynamic process, and then I would have them sit side by side, hooked up to two computers, and bring themselves to coherence, and then hold hands and watch for a heart beat of the relationship to emerge, which always amazes them, and they are always amazed to get a picture of how fast one partner or both can move out of coherence and how easy it is to learn how to move back into coherence. Heartmath is also great for on the job stress management, test taking, and golf. Check in out.
Your heart has neurons in it. They can learn and make decisions.
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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