Can your relationships be enhanced by a relationship expert?
What can a relationship expert teach you that you do not already know?
Believe it or not, there are some discreet skills that a relationship expert can teach you that will make your connections to other human beings more effective, whether those are professional or romantic relationships.
For example, Robert Epstein, Ph.D., Helen Fisher,Ph.D., and John Gottman,Ph.D. are researchers whose research I believe offers tremendous benefits to those willing to read their work and try it out.
Professor Epstein has been writing recently and really challenging our Western concept of courtship, for example.
Epstein wonders why 95% of arranged marriages in India are long lasting and grow in happiness when our divorce rate, even with the intervention of the Fairy Godmother, is 50% in our first, second, and even third marriages.
Epstein says that maybe we should do some intimacy building exercises as couples in order to share the benefits of a long lasting union.
Helen Fisher,Ph.D., has been studying the phenomenon of romantic love, and she says that we have the best chance of a successful union if we start the romantic love process with a compatible personality type.
Want to discover what your type is? Well, you have to take her personality quiz at Chemistry. The idea of engineering romantic love sure appeals to me.
John Gottman,Ph.D., and Julie Schwartze-Gottman, LCSW, have been observing couples for 30 years at the ‘love lab’, and they have some real insights about how to make relationship longer lasting and much more fun.
For example, they can observe a couple and tell you within a few minutes whether the relationship will last, based on the number of times they see expressions of contempt, stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness.
The Gottman’s observations of couples are video taped over the course of a weekend at least, and broken down by a team of experts for non-verbal communication patterns, they look at your urine and blood for stress hormones, . so this is a serious observation.
The Gottman’s have teased out a number of skills that the folks who are successful in relationship, who they call the Master’s of Marriage, appear to have, and they have put those together in a workshop called The Art and Science of Love.
I have taken segments of that workshop and used it with my domestic violence counseling clients, who are often amazed that relationship has discreet skills that they can learn.
Back to relationship expert Robert Epstein,Ph.D., who says that we in the West can have long lasting relationships with all the benefits that result for our children and our health if we put aside our Disney Prince Charming meets Cinderella at the ball and they live happily ever after with the help of the Fairy Godmother relationship model and make some effort to practice intimacy, like a relationship workout, if you will.
Epstein has students in his university classes practice some of the exercises he prescribes for couples, like soul gazing, where couples take a couple of minutes to look into each other’s eyes, not stare, but gaze, and the students who do this report a stunning increase of feelings of closeness for the other participant.
Another of the Epstein exercises involves synchronizing breathing, which I find interesting, because I have used a heart rate variability biofeedback program with couples to teach them how to take a look at the heart beat of the relationship.
The the heart rate variability biofeedback program offers a wonderful way for couples to learn how to bring their individual heart beat into coherence and then bring the heart beat of their relationship into coherence.
Couples learn from this practice that the relationship is dynamic, and it changes from coherent to incoherent and perhaps back to coherence based on their thoughts, breathing, and attention.
Relationship needs to be attended to heart beat by heart beat rather than crises by crises.
The best news for the new experts in relationship? When they learn to attend to their relationship in brief intervals like heart beats, tuning relationship coherence is much easier.
I think reading about the ideas of the above researchers will go a long way towards making one much more expert in relationships.
About the Author
Michael S. Logan is a brain fitness expert, a counselor, a student of Chi Gong, and licensed one on one HeartMath provider. I enjoy the spiritual, the mythological, and psychological, and I am a late life father to Shane, 10, and Hannah Marie, 4, whose brains are so amazing. http://www.askmikethecounselor2.com
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