Relationships, Making Good
©Cort Curtis, Ph.D.
Thank you for inquiring into the Save Your Relationship Program.
There is nothing more important than the quality of your relationship.
When your relationship is solid, when you are loving and feeling loved
and secure, you have a base from which you can grow and expand in
other areas of your life. The Save Your Relationship program is designed
for couples who are in distress or for couples who want to expand their
ability to communicate and connect with one another.
The whole foundation of this program is predicated on one fundamental
assumption: A loving relationship that works grows out of the ability of
both partners communicating authentically with one another. Authentic
sharing is acknowledging your honest self -- your thoughts and feelings in
the moment from a place of personal responsibility. Authentic listening is
being present to your partner’s thoughts and feelings without defense or
the need to change, fix or advise. You will be developing your capacity to
accept yourself as you are and accept your partner as he or she is. This
may appear paradoxical to the reason you are seeking help, which may
be to “change” yourself or your partner, but you will discover that true
change does not occur by force or manipulation but rather is a natural
outcome of your capacity to accept "what is" both in yourself and in your
After the evaluation session with you and your partner together, the
program has three legs to it, all of them are important to maximize the
benefit you receive.
The first leg is where we meet individually with each of you for one or two
sessions to assist you in working through your own feelings and emotions.
The purpose of the individual sessions is to help you each to identify and
take responsibility for your own feelings. True communication cannot
occur without "owning" your feelings and it is impossible to release
negative feelings when you place the "cause" of them outside of you or in
Another important aspect of the individual sessions is to assess where
you are "incomplete" with other relationships in your life. When you can
begin to make peace with other important people in your life (e.g. with
parents) you will not bring "unfinished business" to your primary
relationship. Many of the problems in our primary relationship are a result
of "old feelings" getting played out in the present. The individual sessions
will help you to determine how you can finally come to peace of mind in
these important areas.
The second leg is where we meet together with you and your partner to
help you develop your capacity for open, honest communication. Here is
where you will learn to share your feelings, needs and wants but from a
“different place” than before. You will learn that the need to dominate,
control, criticize, judge, accuse, avoid and blame are toxic to you and your
relationship; but when you can learn to share the underlying feelings from
a place of personal responsibility you have the basis to turn any negative
feeling or situation into a loving encounter. Any upset (and you will
continue to have them) can either be shared and talked about or you can
turn it into blame, control or avoidance. When you are able to talk through
feelings and reach “emotional closure” you won’t accumulate baggage
that tends to fuel negative behavior in other parts of your life and
The third leg is the “homework” which will consist of a variety of journal
writing and communication exercises that you will be doing alone and
together outside of our sessions. All of the exercises are directed toward
helping you to "tune in" to your inner world more directly and authentically
and increase your ability to communicate with your partner.
The program helps you develop some fundamental yet essential abilities
to be real and to communicate yourself authentically in whatever situation
you are struggling with. The typical length of the program is 8 to 12
sessions. A minimum of 8 sessions is a typical length of time to help you
develop your capacity to communicate authentically. Once you develop
your capacity for authentic communication, you then have the means to
deal with virtually any situation that arises between you.
THE 12 CORNERSTONES OF A HEALTHY MARRIAGE
By the end of the program, you will have developed your capacity to
generate each of the cornerstones below, any one of which will make an
enormous difference in your relationship.
1. Personal Responsibility
The first thing we typically think when we hear “who’s responsible” is
“blame”, “fault” or "obligation." Being “responsible” does not mean I am to
“blame” for something nor does it mean something is my “fault”. From a
psychological point of view, being responsible simply means that I “own”
my existence. It means that I own my feelings, my thoughts, my body
sensations, my beliefs and my perceptions. And being the “owner” of my
existence simply means that I create how reality shows up for me.
Being open is a natural outgrowth of being responsible. Being open
means that I am willing to share the reality of my inner world without giving
it special meaning. We often hold back from sharing our honest self
because of all the meaning we attach to our feelings. When I can know
that my feelings don’t mean anything apart from the meaning which I give
to them, that my feelings just are, I am free to to say what's there because
I am responsible. There is no blame nor fault nor justification but rather
simple observation. Openness is simply observing and acknowledging,
“what is” in terms of my awareness.
Honesty is a natural expression of openness. When I am observing and
acknowledging, “what is”, I am not pretending or deceiving. I am simply
saying things “the way they are” for me. Being honest has nothing to do
with being “right” or justified. Nor is it an attempt to convince or change.
Honesty is simply being real.
True communication can only occur in the present. Being present
recognizes that this moment is all there is. The past is gone and the future
is not yet. Everything else is talking about something.
We often think of acceptance as a "passive putting up with." Acceptance
is not "tolerating" something nor is it based on some "should" that I be
more accepting. Acceptance is a result of honest dialogue which may
include an acknowledgement of something which I don't accept. When I
am expressing myself honestly and listening openly I am creating a real
opportunity to come to a place of acceptance. When I accept, I am giving
up the futile attempt to “change” myself into something I am not, or
change my spouse into something that he or she is not. The paradox of
acceptance is that, through acceptance, change occurs by itself.
True listening naturally arises out of acceptance and being present to
your partner. True listening is hearing and comprehending what is said
without defensiveness or invalidation. Listening is often more than merely
listening to the words; it is listening to the emotions and feelings contained
in the words. Sometimes listening is hearing what is not being said. If
there is an opinion being expressed, true listening recognizes that there is
another point of view that is no less valid than mine.
Being generous is not just about giving things nor is it just about making
sacrifices. Being generous means that I am giving myself, and giving
myself means that I am open with who I am, my self-expression.
Trust is a major cornerstone of a healthy marriage. Trust means that I
give up trying to control things and recognize that a positive outcome to
all things is assured. When I try to control I am creating the conditions for
the very thing I am afraid will occur if I give up control.
Patience recognizes that growth takes time. Patience is recognizing that
the outcome of things is as certain as a tree bearing fruit. The paradox of
patience is that it brings immediate rewards; it is not waiting for the future
to arrive. The future is now and is unfolding exactly as it will. Patience
produces a positive outcome now by bringing the result of peace.
10. Joy and Peace
Peace and joy come out of my own inner work and is not dependent on
my partner. It is not dependent on my partner changing nor is it
dependent on getting anything from my partner. True joy and peace arise
out of giving up the illusion that joy and peace come from outside of me.
Commitment simply means that I give my word to do what I say or not do
what I am unwilling to do. Commitment means that my words and actions
are in accord with one another.
Forgiveness is the cornerstone that produces all of the other
cornerstones. Forgiveness simply recognizes my own humanity and the
humanity of my partner. When negative emotions arise or if there is a
break in trust or commitment I work within myself to communicate and
release these feelings. Forgiveness is for my benefit, and all situations
are opportunities for me to learn forgiveness.
Furthermore, studies show that healthy couples:
- Frequently affirm each other
- Spend quality and quantity time together
- Approach conflict constructively as a learning experience
- Have a mutually satisfying sexual relationship
- Have a unity of shared values and goals
- Have a sense of play and humor
- Have a shared spirituality
- Have a support system of other committed couples
- Value service to others
The Save Your Relationship program focuses on some specific aspects of
your life and relationship all geared toward opening up to the reality of
your inner world--your emotions, your thoughts, your beliefs and
perceptions. As you become more aware of your inner world and what you
are doing inside, you have a real opportunity to release your negative
feelings and thoughts which will open up the space for you to create new
possibilities in your relationship that truly make a difference.
For further information or to schedule a free 15 minute consultation by
phone or in person, please call (877) 372-8784 or email me.
"Dr Curtis, I just wanted to
thank you for everything
yoiu have done for us. Our
relationship has been
terrific and our
communication has greatly
improved. We have been
married for over 4 months
and we are loving every
minute of it! We owe it all
to you! Thank you so much
for everything! Take care
and God Bless!"
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