Joe was super-smart, responsible, kind, scrupulously honest, family-oriented, conscientious, and like me, more focused on doing valuable work than on making tons of money.
The relationship itself, however, was stupefyingly difficult, for reasons Joe and I struggled to figure out.
[On Saturdays my topic of focus is A Small, Good Thing, inspired by one of my favorite Raymond Carver stories.]
A big part of my identity is rooted in thinking of myself as a kind, caring, gentle and optimistic person…one who says supportive, positive things…a Tigger, not an Eeyore.
I’m uncomfortable saying anything that might come across as negative or unnice. I hate the thought of hurting someone’s feelings or having them get angry at me.
[I've been devoting my Friday blog posts to the topic of Learning What We Already Know. There's a ton of wisdom out there in the world, and lots of it has been known for quite a long time but it needs to be passed along.]
What do you most need in order to feel secure and loved?
In Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson suggest that you answer this question in writing, and then have this conversation with your partner.
In case it’s difficult to put your feelings into words, Dr. Johnson provides this list of phrases partners have named, and suggests you use these as a checklist or starting point:
Right now I’m reading Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson.
Johnson talks about “Solace Sex” in her chapter entitled Bonding Through Sex and Touch:
I’m reading Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson, and this passage, about the trauma we feel when a loved one turns away from us at a time of great need, really got me. Why would someone who loves us abandon us as the very moment we need them most?
I am a huge fan of John and Julie Gottman, the couple who founded The Gottman Institute and have created so many effective, evidence-based interventions for couple therapy.
I pre-order John Gottman’s latest book, The Science of Trust, and devoured it as soon as it came out this summer.
When I really admire an author, I get curious about what they read and who they admire. And Gottman is very open about naming the people who have had an impact on his own work and discussing their ideas at length.
John Gottman considers the psychologist Dan Wile his mentor, so of course I wanted to read Wile, whose book, After the Honeymoon, turns out to be a treasure trove of wisdom and reassurance.
It’s the perfect time to start, or renew, your gratitude journal.
The concept is simple: There’s beauty and pleasure all around us, but we often don’t notice it or get enough enjoyment out of it, because we’re focused on all our pressures and problems.
Keeping a gratitude journal gets us to:
I began actively retraining my focus in this manner many years ago, so that by now I automatically notice simple pleasures I dare say most people do not.
But tomorrow I’m giving a talk entitled Math Success for All Students, and here’s what I plan on saying about trust as it relates to kids and parents:
Openness, visibility, day-to-day intimacy, fosters TRUST.
Back in 1990 I read Iron John, and Robert Bly’s theory about fathers and sons stuck with me. Bly suggested that throughout most of human history, children could see the work that their parents and other adults did. Hunter-gatherer societies were very public and transparent.
Bly believes that there is a basic developmental need for children to work next to their parents, see what their parents do and how they think and solve problems
In fact, there’s a tad more involved.
In The Science of Trust, John Gottman states, clearly and simply:
A committed romantic relationship is a contract of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual protection, and mutual nurturance. (p 350)
Yes, sexual betrayal is one way of betraying your partner. But Gottman comes up with twelve more!
Read ‘em and weep (as I did)…and then use them as a checklist towards becoming a better partner (as I am in process of attempting):