Partner Enrichment – Nurturing Love
by Michael and Phyllis Giammatteo
Personal growth requires addressing the future. We steer and select perceptions, judgements, and redirections based on values developed by age eight. We learn how to get what we need, want, and desire. We also develop Ideals. People in a committed relationship have Ideals that frequently clash. This creates an Ordeal. The ensuing Ordeal in mature couples leads to a New Deal. E.g.: One partner has the Ideal that a college education is necessary for their child and the other has the Ideal it is not. The New Deal could be, wait and see where the child’s path leads. Time is a useful problem solver.
Couple growth is as normal as individual growth. In our seminars, our particular approach gives concrete steps for growth. Partners learn to identify their preferred style of communicating as word, physical, or symbolic. Style preferences can add to or distract from a loving relationship. A word oriented person enjoys the words “I love you,” whereas a symbolic person would prefer a dozen roses. A figurative or physical style person enjoys a hug and often uses a hug to say, “It’s ok” or “I’m sorry.” Imagine a figurative person trying to apologize with a hug to their partner when that person doesn’t want physical contact, but wants words. Our internal voices guide us. Too bad second thoughts don’t come first! One person said, “I can’t see what you are saying.” This is indicative of your receiving style. In this case, write out the statement so the other can see what you’re saying.
Couples often connect because of their interests, and common values keep them growing and together. Partners also need to enjoy and accept differences and to nurture interests. When one partner rushes into new adventures, the other may exhibit caution. This allows for second thoughts and creates balance. Partners who do not try to control one another, can complement each other.
Couple enrichment teaches how to make change and growth acceptable. Making explicit what may be implicit does help. Example: Practice explicitly telling each other one quality you like about the other that nurtures and enhances the relationship. Resentments do not build when a relationship is safe for expression. Fix situations, not blame!
Humour is a great tool and we use it often. We meet our visitors at the Mazatlan airport pretending to be guides for “Manure Occurreth Tours” and we attend family functions in outrageous garb. We also leave funny notes for each other frequently in unexpected places, such as in the toilet paper roll! Humour is also used in our relationship column, “The Love Doctors,” online at www.pacificpearl.com. Example: Someone asked, “Can you make love over 60?” “Yes,” we replied, “but keep one hand on the wheel!”
People relate in three major ways: moving away, moving against, and moving toward each other. Moving toward each other develops intimacy. Healthy vital relationships and love grows when all three choices are available.
Do you wish you and your partner did more things together? Or shared more feelings and thoughts? Or, on the other hand, do you long for more space in your relationship? Of course, being intimate or close to another person doesn’t necessarily mean doing things together all the time. Nor does it preclude being your own person. Intimacy means sharing fully. It includes emotions, work and play, families and finances, as well as sexual sharing. But most importantly, intimacy includes not only sharing time and experiences, but sharing feelings about those experiences.
Snap shots of the relationship are taken frequently in the seminar as the Intimacy Dozen exemplifies. Participants indicate which area of intimacy they want more of, want less of, or are ok with as is. Several items from the Intimacy Dozen snap shot are Emotional Intimacy (sharing feelings, emotions, joys, sorrows), Sexual Intimacy (sharing about sex), Time Intimacy (sharing time together). There are no right or wrong responses, only yours. This is a snap shot! People do grow and change. We recommend doing this exercise several times a year.
All concepts are supported in a down-to-earth, practical, fun-filled, and safe environment by demonstration, role play, handouts, and lectures. All seminar content appears in the book Loves GPS – Finding the Best Route to Love authored by Dr. Michael C. Giammatteo and Phyllis Giammatteo and a copy for each couple is included in the seminar fee.
Michael and Phyllis Giammatteo live in the US, Canada, and Mexico, writing books, teaching seminars, and are regular contributors to the Pacific Pearl magazine in Mazatlan, Mexico. For more information, visit their website www.lovesgps.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and also see the Directory of Services ad on page 30 of the 19.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal for details on their September seminar.