Grow Your Relationship – Lesbians

Grow Your Relationship, Lesbians (GYRL).  This is a year-long commitment that involves monthly sessions with me and four other lesbian couples in your couples cohort.  The monthly meetings are 90 minutes and we will discuss a series of relationship topics and I will provide you new skills to practice during the month to improve your relationship.  This is resource is best suited for couples not in crisis.  Though, over the course of the year long commitment, you may experience a crisis and the cohort is a great source of support for you to continue nurturing your relationship and getting through the tough times.  This experience requires a year long commitment of $95 / month.  This is another great way to maintain relationship growth in a more affordable way.

GOAL:  The vision for this class is multifold.
  • Encourage you to have a more conscious (and therefore more successful and satisfying) relationship in 2014.
  • Offer a more cost-effective way to nurture your relationship than personal couples therapy, with particular focus on couples that already function well, and to realize the benefit of consistently growing your relationship.
  • Find strength and insight from other couples.
  • Create a place to process relationship challenges, and expand your ability to problem solve within your relationship.
  • Hold yourself, and your relationship, accountable to your
THE CONTENT:  Provide you with a new relationship concept/skill each month, along with tasks, exercises, and suggestions for how to develop that skill throughout the month.
You can expect us to discuss a lot of new research-based data that I have recently learned, and continue to learn, in my Gottman Institute Training (for which I have completed two of the three part training, and will finish the third part in February). I will also, of course, incorporate the tenants of Imago Couples Work, some new dialogue uses, and lots of helpful stem statements to assist with specific areas of your communication.
You will learn about the importance of “cognitive room,” in relationships, the role of we-ness, the dreams within your conflicts, how to soften your communication start-ups, the reasons you need to accept your partner’s influence, how to recognize and address issues with your meta-emotions, and more.  It’s good stuff.  Just sayin’.
THE PROCESS:  There are options for both an in-person and an online experience.  The online experience will be held in a virtual classroom with each couple logging into an online platform (which will function with both Mac and PC users) where I hold a class.  Each couple will need a strong internet connection (ideally hard-wired to your connection source).  All couples will be on screen at the same time, and with the classroom-type software, I can also screen share, etc. to create a unified learning environment.  This whole adventure is a new experiment for me, and one that I am super excited about.

CLASS SIZE: I will need at least four couples to make this group function well. I will not have more than five couples, or it will be too big.

COST & COMMITMENT: Each 85 minute class is $95. You are asked to pay via paypal where you will be automatically charged for the $95 each month (on the same day of the month you sign-up) for the duration of the 12 months, or alternately I can set up an automatic withdrawal via your checking account, if you prefer.

The Fan Cam

Do you want to know one thing that you can do, starting today, to change the way other’s feel about you?  Treat everyone you see like they are a human Fan Cam.  To clarify, I am not suggesting you take your shirt off, sport a Mohawk, and paint your face blue.  I’m just suggesting you respond to people, particularly your loved ones, with the same enthusiasm you would give a Fan Cam.

I was thinking about this recently while attending a Pacer game with my son.  During time outs, half-time, and other breaks in the action, it is common for a camera person to sneak a shot at random fans.  Sometimes the unsuspecting fans are sitting quietly, seemingly about to fall asleep, and other times they are dancin’ fools, screaming for attention.  Regardless of their disposition, once it is clear that the Fan Cam is on them, there are two things everyone does (even the most shy), and that is:  they express a sincere surprise that they are the center of the stadium’s attention (who? Me!?), and then they SMILE – real big.

Their faces light up.  They have been seen!  And not just by one person, though that’s all it really takes to feel seen, but by 18,000 spectators.  They are live, center court, up in the sky, for everyone to enjoy.  Sometimes there will be a kiss between lovers, a dance amongst kids, a rousing cheer or chant from buddies, but always there is a feel-good reaction.  Who doesn’t love that?

I think we start out in life knowing about the Fan Cam effect, and over time, we lose sight of its power.  When my boys were younger, one of my favorite things ever was the sound of their feet slapping against the floor and their sweet voices yelling, “mommy’s home,” as they raced each other to the door to greet me.  Similar are the lovers in the airport who run to each other after a long awaited reunion, or the long, tender embrace grandma gives her son, and his kids after months of not seeing them.  These greetings fill us up with love and hope and happiness for the world we live in, and for love itself.  That’s why we stop and stare when people engage one another this way.  Ummm, or am I the only one that does that?

 Few things in life feel better than a genuinely enthusiastic greeting from someone you love. To be met with a smile as wide as Texas, arms stretched out, ready to circle you tightly, and wrapping you up in the feel of “I love you” without uttering a word.  Now that is like magic.  Sometimes we are lifted just to witness an event like this. The very sight of someone else experiencing this joyful expression of, “I am so excited to see you,” can instantly elevate our mood.

We all want to be seen.  We want to know that who we are matters.  When we marry, our hope is that we can morph ourselves into a human fan cam, so we can elicit this joyful reaction from, and have this effect on, our spouse.  By simply turning our attention to the one we love, we hope to provoke that same magical smile, a kiss, a dance, or even a cheer.  We long to feel important, relevant, special, and seen.

When was the last time you responded to your partner the way you would to a fan cam?  Or, how about the last time you greeted him like he just returned from war?  Or the last time your face lit up with joy when you walked through the door of your home, just because you were so happy to see her?

This is possibly one of the most simple, yet powerful changes you can make in your relationship, starting today.  Every time you greet your loved one, respond to her as if it is a very big deal that you are in her presence.  Let your greeting say it all, “I have loved you all day long, and I am so happy and so grateful to see you now.”