Does she mean pain-free marriage? Relationship?! Is she insane?
Well, that last one requires more research, but this article is ready and it's for people who experience painful interactions in relationship, and who want relief. Period.
I discovered a couple of years ago that my bottom-line mission in life is to eliminate painful interactions. My WinterSpark wish for you is to immediately and reliably decrease pain and suffering in relationship, and bring more peace, joy, and love - more connection.
I have condensed here my next talk and workshop - A 3-Step Path for Living Smarter in Relationships. It is rooted in some good Ancient Wisdom. What exactly is this mysterious source of knowledge?
Ancient Wisdom is Consciousness.
And what does that actually mean? Conscious means awake, but not just physically. One can be physically awake and yet be asleep. To be conscious is to be aware, intentional, in alignment, congruent, deliberately in harmony with life.
Most people have no idea how they sabotage the good feeling in their relationships. There is much suffering. It is unnecessary.
A note on suffering and pain: pure pain is not suffering. Grief and sadness, as well as anger, joy and fear, are human emotions. We need to feel to be whole.
Suffering is related to how we think and feel about our pain, and what we do – or do not do – about it. Suffering involves a chronic, habitual stuckness.
What I mean by Pain-Free is to reduce, disempower, and even eradicate unnecessary pain. To be able to Free it – release it.
When we agree to use effective tools to cease actions that create and worsen pain, and get skilled at maintaining a clean environment for the relationship - addressing, in the moment, any communication that adds unnecessary pain - then we can say we have Pain-Free Partnership.
If you are not in a partnership, we start with the pain you may feel about that fact, or that you experience in some relationship in your life (children, family, friends, work, community), and in your relationship with your Self.
The tools I teach are simple, but not easy. To make it as easy and pain-free as possible, we want our efforts to be accurate, because with accurate effort, we don’t waste energy and resources, and we actually see results.
How do we know what is accurate effort?
Here is the 3-Step Path.
STEP 1: Define Relationship
What are we?
Create Definition clarity – of what the relationship is, of what we are to and for each other. What is our commitment?
Use terminology that is creative and meaningful to the two of you. This gives the form of partnership imagery to stimulate consciousness.
I suggest 2-3 words.
It can be simple and straight-forward:
Loving Partners; Intimate, Caring Spouses; Exploring Commitment; Exploring Separation; Consciously Dating; Healing Interim, etc.
Or colorful and original:
Romantic Adventure Partners; Best Frovers; Relationship Students; Life Support Team, etc.
For a Pain-Free Partnership, you must have Zero Tolerance for Zero Definition.
People don’t talk about defining their relationship, especially in the beginning, because it is uncomfortable and they don’t want to ruin the “magic” or be “too demanding.” This leads to huge pain. Don’t rely on what it seems. That’s putting your emotional health on the line with assumptions and denial.
You are either committed to having a positive, healthy, conscious relationship experience with this other person, or you are not.
Without Step 1 in place, revisited over time, adjusted and altered if needed, and re-committed to, the other two Steps can help decrease pain, but the prognosis will not be as good for the relationship as when there is a two-way, clear commitment to cultivate conscious relating.
STEP 2: Match Speech
Use only communication that matches the Definition of your relationship - whenever you communicate.
This is very difficult! Don’t be cocky here. All humans screw up with this one.
There is one, huge challenge that prevents us from following the rules and Matching our Speech: Emotional Reactivity (Defense Mechanisms).
This is the number one cause of pain in relationships!
Matching Speech to the Definition of Relationship -
- Requires discipline, dedication, a strong heart, sharp mind, and iron stomach
- Removes distraction from interactions – the defensiveness-triggering elements
- Is clean, bacteria-free – less likely to cause pain
- Allows genuine love and heart to come forth
- Is boring, redundant, and life-transforming
When this Step is broken – which it will be, because we are human, get reactive and break the rules – use pre-agreed upon tools to Repair the Disconnect and get back on track. This is what I coach my clients to do.
STEP 3: Acknowledge Slips and Successes
State the so-called “obvious.”
It is not obvious, and to not state it leaves a chasm between you and your partner that could be closeness and connection with the simple act of saying out loud what you notice and know.
Acknowledgment creates more connection whether it is, “Oops, my bad” or, “Look what we just accomplished! We rock!”
A Note on Acknowledgment vs. Apology:
It is more powerful to acknowledge - state that we know we slipped from the Definition and didn’t Match Speech - than to apologize.
Acknowledgment = Intimacy. Acknowledging regularly makes you a safe presence, and with that, you can have Pain-Free Partnership.
Pain is real; it is a messenger.
Willingness to identify relationship pain, and to follow these Steps, will reveal real actions to free the pain, release it, which creates room for healing connection.
Pain-Free Partnership - A 3-Step Path to Living Smarter in Relationships
D – Define Relationship
M – Match Speech
A – Acknowledge Slips and Successes
I encourage you to try this at home, knowing you will stumble. Have the 3-Step Path in front of you, and do it. Take some notes. See what comes of it.
It is helpful to have a copy of my manifesto, HeartMind Communication Jewels, which gives guidelines for Step 2, Match Speech. Contact me for a copy.
We can live smarter in relationship.