Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HAPPY WHAT?

Coconut Grove, Miami, FL 25º43.533N | 80º84.321W


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It's Valentine's Day and everyone in the world is deliriously in love, right? Well, looking at Facebook, you'd think so.

I've been thinking (yes, your cue to click somewhere else) about how we represent ourselves and our relationships publicly, serving as our own image handlers. I say 'represent,' but what I really mean is 'misrepresent.'

This thought process was prompted by a call last week from some dear friends who, seemingly out of the blue, are getting a divorce. Having weathered a divorce myself, I know it is rarely out of the blue but rather a long time coming. But as close friends why didn't we talk to each other about it before and not just after?

Why don't any of us talk readily about the challenges of our relationships? I think we are betraying each other by not recognizing and exposing how hard it is to craft a healthy relationship. When we don't, we allow each other to believe that everyone else has a perfectly awesome relationship, seemingly effortlessly. Then we harbor the very false belief that our own relationship is uniquely challenging and perhaps ultimately broken.

THIS IS SO WRONG. All relationships are flawed, because they are built from two flawed people. The only way to make the relationship awesome is for both of the flawed people to work individually and together to fix those flaws.

As part of my new campaign, I will start: Chip and I have relationship problems.

I thought our problems were worse than others until I started reading relationship books and was completely bolstered by the examples of relationships in far worse shape than my own. (I recognize this makes me a shallow person.)

What are Chip and I doing about our problems? We have been using a book Chip found called Getting the Love You Want (info below). It is an intensive program with specific exercises to help couples work through their issues. It includes a structured method for communicating about emotional topics in a calm and productive manner (amazing).

I use the word 'work,' because it is work, actually hard work. It helps you look into your own thoughts and behaviors and ferret out the ways you contribute to the issues at hand and then, consequently, avoid dealing with them. Ouch.

I am delighted to report great progress. We are only halfway through the exercises in the book but have learned surprising and liberating lessons already. We have stopped avoiding and suppressing issues (a challenge itself on a 38' sailboat!) and instead, learned a healthy way to discuss and deal with them.

So, in addition to saying, Happy Valentine's Day, I've come here to say let's be honest, and let's get to work!

Our relationship is the richest, most rewarding and most valuable thing we have. It is like a big chunk of marble that, with a grand vision, heavy labor and hours of polishing, can be transformed into a beautiful masterpiece for the ages. Yours is too.


Here is the book in our Amazon.com store (you pay the same price, Amazon gives us 15%):
Getting the Love You Want -- paperback
Getting the Love You Want -- Kindle edition

2 comments:

  1. This is the most beautiful thing I have read in a long, long time. Thank you for writing it. <3

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  2. Robin Griffin ZinsmeisterFebruary 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Tammy,

    I've written and rewritten 3 replies to this. They basically go like this...YOUR POST ROCKS.
    Robin Zinsmeister

    ReplyDelete