Relationships are complex. Yet we often attempt them with a minimum of guidance and support. The need for well-informed guidance that supports modern relationships becomes crucial.
Many couples seek reasons for their problems. Yet the theories and reasons they come up with generally are false…How to get a clear sense of your partner’s relationship style based on the latest research?
Most if not all of the recommendations in this book rest on the principle that you, as partners, need one another to keep love and avoid war. Initially, it can take time and some false starts. But eventually both of you must learn how to do this in a snap, without too much thought or talk. And that’s easier, as we will see in the next chapter, if you have an owner’s manual that includes instructions on what to do, and when, with your partner
How having a better understanding about how our brains function—in other words, how we’re wired—puts us in a better position to make well-informed choices in our relationships.
Scientific evidence suggests that, from a biological standpoint, we humans have been wired, in nature, largely for purposes that are more warlike than loving. That’s the bad news.
…I would propose to you that all couples do in fact follow one or another set of rules and principles in their relationship. They may not be conscious of it, but they already have an owner’s manual of sorts. Unfortunately, many couples have the wrong manual. And in the case of distressed couples, they always have it wrong.
I’ve noticed partners’ theories almost always are pro-self, not pro-relationship…One of the most important discoveries a couple can make is that it is possible to shift into a pro-relationship stance. Theories from this stance sound more like the following: “We have problems sticking to our agreements,” or “We do things that hurt one another.” To make this shift, partners must be willing to throw out their old theories and consider new ones. They must be willing to rewire.
Therapists working with couples had not yet begun to connect the disparate dots of various sciences. They were a bit like technical support people working with out-of-date manuals…the field of neuroscience, the study of the human brain. I discovered, provides a physiological basis for understanding our strengths and weaknesses, including those that drive our relationships…A second area of research is attachment theory, which explains our biological need to attach to or bond with others, starting with our earliest relationships. In a nutshell, some individuals are fundamentally secure in their relationships, while others are insecure.
The third area of research I found fascinating and helpful was the biology of human arousal…We don’t have to remain at the mercy of each other’s runaway moods and feelings. Rather, as competent managers of our partners, we can become expert at moving, shifting, motivating, influencing, soothing, and inspiring one another.
10 key principles to avoid common pitfalls that deter or undermine so many relationships :
- Creating a couple bubble allows partners to keep each other safe and secure.
- Partners can make love and avoid war when the security-seeking parts of the brain are put at ease.
- Partners relate to one another primarily as anchors (securely attached), islands (insecurely avoidant), or waves (insecurely ambivalent).
- Partners who are experts on one another know how to please and soothe each other.
- Partners with busy lives should create and use bedtime and morning rituals, as well as reunion, to stay connected.
- Partners should serve as the primary go-to people for one another.
- Partners should prevent each other from being a third wheel when relating to outsiders.
- Partners who want to stay together must learn to fight well.
- Partners can rekindle their love at any time through eye contact.
- Partners can minimize each other’s stress and optimize each other’s health.
The truth is, even if a couple does experience a profound connection, this represents only the beginning of their relationship. What ultimately counts is what happens after their courtship, love affair, or infatuation phase. What counts is their ability to be there for one another, no matter what.