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Life-Long Learning

“Doing something new involves repeated failure, or as it’s more politely called, substantial trial and error.” ~ Craig Comstock, Enlarging Your Comfort Zones

Linda: To learn requires being willing to try something new, to make mistakes, and at times, to feel awkward and embarrassed.

The Buddhists refer to such a state of openness as “beginner’s mind.” They regard this orientation as the curiosity of a child’s mind, and believe that it is an enlightened way of being. But the pressure from both outside and inside to look good and to be right gets in the way of experimentation.

Far too many of us, in the process of acquiring knowledge and skills, felt humiliated in school and/or in our families. We may have ended up feeling stupid so many times that we don’t dare to show the vulnerability that accompanies openness to learning. Those of us with a dark past when it comes to learning, are especially in need of models, mentors, and supportive friends to discover the new ways of being that enhance our relationships. These supports can assist us in the process of staying open to life-long learning.

Seeking mentors in the areas in which we hope to become accomplished is practical and wise. In the realm of successful relationships, our supports can take many forms, professional consultants, books, workshops, or other couples who are farther along the path. When speaking with the most happily married couples who we can locate, we often find that they are delighted to share their stories for our inspiration and application.

When we hear a message that we sense will enliven our relationship, we are prompted to discuss these ideas with our partner. We can devise what that desired model might look like, and together set goals that will assist us to manifest our shared vision. That mental image comes alive when we implement our action plan, complete with practices that allow our skill level to rise.

Consider the following maintenance model that is widespread, but which limits the growth of each individual and the partnership itself. And then contrast that model with the development that is promoted by the transformation model.

Maintenance Model Transformation Model
Focus is on protection Focus is on becoming whole
Closed System Open System
Co-Dependency Interdependence
Control Empowerment
Domination/Submission Synergy
Hierarchical distribution of power Mutually shared power
External motivation (Pain & Pleasure) Internal motivation
Exclusive Involvement – limited social life, discourage separate interests Separate as well as shared interests & friends
Jealousy, Possessiveness, and Fear Trust, Openness
Manipulation, Coercion Direct honest communication
Inflexibility Flexibility
Reassurance through repeated ritualized activity Encouragement of exploration of feelings
Protect & maintain false self Value risk & authenticity
Unable to endure separations Ability to enjoy solitude
Win/Lose orientation in conflict situations Commitment to resolution & understanding
Compromise Creative synthesis
Threatened by differences Respect for differences
High value on comfort, predictability & security High value on growth, freedom & learning

You can find out for yourself where your growing edge is and see if there is motivation to go through the awkward period of learning. Also, be sure to consider what you have to gain by adopting the growth model. Feeling a bit awkward while in transition can be a small price to pay for the bonanza of benefits that result from the learning of these new ways of being. Don’t take our word for it. Look to your experience to find out.


Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.

Praise for Happily Ever After:

happily-1Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate

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Life-Long Learning


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2020). Life-Long Learning. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 May 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.