…are skills we want to master if we want ONEness with others. Remember, we can’t break old habits, we can only build new ones.
When I first read John & Julie Gottman’s work, The Relationship Cure, it became clear the losers in my stable were the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” expert jockeys at (de)riding Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling. If you want to make your bed a lone in a stall of your own making, bet your wages on these for non-stable relationships. Instead of a bed of straw, they may be your last straw, After my promotion from a CompuServe sales branch to the corporate office, I’ll never forget my first performance evaluation from my new manager, who said there’s a not-so-subtle smirk on my face whenever he’s telling me how to do something. Young Gurue was a smartass — and a dumbass. Not good.
Here’s four BTL horseys to learn to ride, all the while reining in pride, all the more if you’re husband and bride:
Kindness. Kindness comes from a strong core with a soft heart. Kindness delivers hard truths with a soft landing. If the kindness of God leads us to repentance, there must be something to this one. Don’t think lightly of it. Start kind, stay kind, finish kind. Simple, not easy.
Tell me more. Master these 3 magic words in lieu of defend/deny/destroy. You may think you see in 3D vision, but you are deaf, dumb & damn-near blind to where it leads. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective? You may see things the way you are, but you don’t see things the way they are. Seeing and hearing are a function of your heart. Open up your heart and hear the yearning, not the whining. Who you are when you’re with is more important than what you say or do. Start curious, stay curious, finish curious. Turn toward, not against, and definitely not away. Simple, not easy.
Repair. We’re all hurting humans hurting humans. Repair is a skill you can learn. It takes humility and courage and a strong core to forgive, ask for forgiveness, and receive forgiveness. Forgiving is the way for giving reconciliation its turn. Forgiving is not forgetting, but it is for getting a chance to re-start, re-connect, and turn a failure into a win. God only knows just how true this is. Simple, not easy.
Accept influence. This prescription requires a double-dose of humility and courage at least 3x/day. Gottmans say if you want a happy home, let this one hit home. Nothing says “be my valentine” more than this. Together we transform doesn’t happen without it. Simple, not easy.
If you want to make hay in your relationships, master these — and when you practice these at home, don’t be surprised afterwards if you get to roll in some too…because if you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Embrace it. Live it. Love it (Thanks, Toto)…