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Tag Archive 'Marilyn Bronstein'

Dec 04 2014

You. Me. We. Wow!

Published by under Knowing Relationships BLOG

Brain-Gears-1024x474

 

A Relationship Has a Mind of It’s Own.

You’ve probably intuited this, sensed it vaguely. When you reach a certain level of maturity  you can really see this. But it takes effort.

When my collaborator, Marilyn Bronstein, and I interviewed really successful couples, this is what we saw: they not only had a significant amount of self-respect (The “Me” mind) and they not only had a genuine and intelligent appreciation for their partner (The “You” mind), they also had a reasonably solid sense of how the two of them fit together into a “We.” And more than that, the loved the “We.” Sometimes they thought the “We” was so cool they were blown away in awe.(Wow!)  You. Me. We. Wow.  That’s how great relationships seem to work.

So let’s look at the We.

(This is a little abstract, but it’s a start.)

A relationship is a shared mental process. In fact, at times couples aren’t sure who thought what, i.e., “Was that my idea or yours?”

  • A relationship has a presence, a personality and an emotional impact. If one partner has an intense emotion – anger, lust, sadness, pick one – the other person feels it. An emotion is alike a rope both people are holding; it can and will make demands on both partners. It shapes how partners see each other.  It is a lens through which partners understand each other. When there’s lust, they see each other as attractive, when there is anger, they see each other as dangerous, and so on.
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Sep 10 2014

“Live with Purpose” or “Live one day at a time.” Which will it be?

Published by under Knowing Relationships BLOG

teeter totter

 

 

I had a very interesting conversation over the weekend with a man I’d just met. The conversation was so good that  we ended up with a better question than an answer. It’s always very satisfying to walk away with something to think about. I’ll share the question first, then the story of how we got there, then how I think I’ve answered it.

First, here’s the question:  How can you live your life according to your highest purpose and also live in the moment? And this wasn’t an idle question. It had serious consequences.

It all started on a Sunday afternoon in late August in one of Montreal’s most beautiful city parks. There was a lake with ducks, people wandering the paths around the lake, a white lodge with a café on the terrace serving lunch under the trees, a man playing accordion near the lunch tables, a great lawn with many picnic tables and grown-ups and kids and dogs all over the place, everyone very happy. Cyclists and joggers passed by one the paths and mountainous clouds passed by overhead.

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Jul 22 2014

How love writes its truths on your soul, and how you can read what it has written.

Moonlight-refelection

I was at a funeral. This woman who died was one of those heroically wonderful women one meets only some times.  She was beautiful and brilliant and a great mother and an athlete and light-hearted and friendly and dearly loved her husband and her life with him.  He was handsome, successful, good-hearted and very much in love with her. They were generous people. They had three children and adopted a fourth. It was a picture too good to be true, it seemed, and in her late forties when she went for her yearly check-up, they discovered a brain tumor.

“We will remove it,” they said, “But when it comes back, and it will because it’s that kind of cancer, you will only have months to live. So prepare yourself.”  Brain cancer.  I remember speaking to her in her final months. She was all puffed up from her medications.  She said to me, “Well, I’ve lost my ability to listen to classical music. My brain can’t handle it. Dying is so weird.”

I share all this with you because, at her funeral, her husband, who wanted us to understand who they were to each other and why he loved her so, shared the story of the moment he knew that he was going to fall in love with her. It’s an amazing story and it is the perfect example of what I wish to share with you in this writing.

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Aug 29 2013

Partners who are very different understand something important about what makes a relationship work.

Published by under Knowing Relationships BLOG

 

Partners who are very different

By Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D. All rights reserved

For the past three years Marilyn Bronstein and I have been interviewing couples that have been together a long time and who have relationships they are very pleased with. (It’s been very interesting and very different from talking to troubled couples. The book will be available in October. We’re very pleased. More news about it on the sidebar.)With some of the couples in our research, the partners came from very different backgrounds – different languages, different cultures. To some extent we all have to deal with how we differ from our partner. This is the source of most of the challenges in a marriage, and the greater the differences, the greater the challenges. The people we spoke had to find positive ways to think about their differences. They have figured out something important for the rest of us. They have insights to share. First I want to share some examples of what we heard.

She:    It’s a beautiful dance that we get to do because our differences are actually not opposite. They mirror each other.

He:    There are so many Yin and Yang things about us.

This is the essence of emotional intelligence, this sense of how the two sides fit together, I am calling it “A Feeling for the Relationship,” as in “an intuition about the relationship.I saw it in those couples.

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Mar 09 2011

“Is there something wrong with me for wanting what I want?”

Sometimes people want too much in a romance and just as often they don’t want enough.

It helps if you know what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. Often dating at midlife teaches you this.  At the same time, if you’ve had a string of unsatisfactory relationships, which is not unusual in dating at midlife, you will be a bit unsure about what you can reasonably expect.
A little pessimism is forgivable, especially if you’ve been burned in the past, but still, it is better to know what you want and to be able to say so clearly, at least to yourself.

In the last 20 years psychological research has systematically investigated the psychology of successful romantic relationships…and rediscovered what many folks simply knew all along. But still, there are a lot of opinions out there and it’s good to know what some folks have found out with rigorous thinking.

A good relationship contains three main elements – technically they are called “behavioral systems.” The term means that our brains are set up to create three different, somewhat independent kinds of relationship conditions. Relationships that live and flourish tend to contain all three.

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