I was in session with a couple, Sarah and Keith. They have two grade school age children. They were struggling with what had happened a few nights ago when they were putting their kids to bed. An argument erupted during this process. Sarah became annoyed when she found herself upstairs with both kids by herself, having to deal with their resistance to going to bed. She marched into her and Keith’s bedroom and demanded Keith to get out and help her. He felt her verbal and body language as an attack against him. He defended himself by getting angry and resisting. They exchanged words and got the kids to bed. Today in session they still felt tense and disconnected with each other, with some lingering anger. As we talked Sarah was able to identify what was mostly upsetting to her. It wasn’t that Keith wasn’t helping her, it was about the feeling that he cared about her. She wanted to matter to him. She wanted to know that he had compassion for her. If she was having a hard time that he would be there for her. That he had her back. This longing, desire, need to feel that bond with her partner, came out in anger and a demanding tone.
Shawn found out that his wife, Sheila, was chatting and texting a coworker. They had talked about it. She agreed to stop contacting this person and also told that person to stop contacting her. She quit her job and found employment at another company. It has been three years and Shawn still has anxiety when Sheila goes out without him. He gets agitated whenever he sees her phone and wants to know who she is texting or if she has gotten any texts. He needs to know what she does with her time at work. He will often question her, gets irritable and short tempered when she leaves the room, goes out with a friend, or is on the computer. Sheila is getting more frustrated with how much pressure she feels from Shawn to reassure him that there isn’t another guy, and gets that hopeless feeling with how difficult it is for him to trust her. She can’t help from feeling that she has lost all control to convince her husband that she is not cheating on him. She can’t understand why he doesn’t believe that after what happened three years ago that she has learned her lesson, and would never do that again. She feels so distant and out of touch from Shawn right now due to his vigilant behavior towards her and the negative way that he is viewing her.
Mark Your Calendar for the next Hold Me Tight® Workshop
The next Hold Me Tight®Minnesota weekend program for couples will be Sept 13th-14th in St Louis Park. Having already facilitated three of these weekend workshops in Minnesota we have seen how couples are able to make significant positive changes in their relationship by participating in this proven program developed by Sue Johnson, PhD. During this weekend couples will learn to become closer and feel safer with each other by: [Read more…]
Men Can Connect
Using The Science Of Mindfulness And Attachment To Help Men Deepen And Strengthen Their Significant Relationship
- Do you have difficulty expressing feelings with your partner?
- Does your partner complain that you don’t share what is important to you in the relationship?
- Do you lose your temper or get frustrated easily with your partner?
- Would you like to learn how to make your partner feel important in the relationship?
Diamonds, by Rhianna, shines light on attunement in a relationship. She beautifully, and exquisitely expresses what it is like to be “as one,” with a partner. You can feel like a snug gem as you listen to her passionate vocal throughout the song. The lyrics start out with her describing her relationship as “finding light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy you and I, you and I.” She then compares their relationship like “diamonds in the sky.” Her partner is then described as a “shooting star she sees, a vision of ecstasy. When you hold me I’m alive.” These words fit emotional attunement. In this relationship she wants to be happy and chooses that. There is a genuine feeling of being two diamonds in the sky. As I hear her vocal throughout the song I can picture how close and secure she feels. When she is held “she is alive.” Hearing that lyric, feeling the emotion in her voice, and having the percussion and orchestra carry her through, it expresses the safety and feeling of attunement in this relationship. You just don’t know she feels as one with her partner, but you feel it yourself.
John Newman’s song “Love Me Again,” is a powerful expression of someone who has inflicted a deep wound to their partner and is wanting to know if the partner will take him back. He describes how he has “torn his partner’s heart and is that what devil’s do?” He says it “took so long how he shook the angel in you.” I would deduce that he avoided closeness with the partner and strayed from the relationship. This would cause the hurt and betrayal. Now he begs the question, “I need to know now can you love me again?” He is changing the dynamic by going to his partner and in a painful way of asking to be loved again. The music echoes the pain and rawness of this relationship. The rhythmic power of the guitar, piano, and percussion conveys the pain and desperation of Newman with his vocal that has a wailing quality with a rock spin to it.
“The Man,” by Aloe Blacc, is a heartfelt rendition of an expression of what it means to be a man. The artist tells his story through the passion of his voice that originates in his soul. Aloe Blacc becomes more energized, soulful, and daring as the song progresses. He convinces us that “he is the man,” repeating that line several times in a smooth sultry style. He tells us that “for every lie he told he paid for every heart he stole.” This is his way of telling us how he had avoided connection and intimacy in relationships and that he paid for this. When you hurt your partner you get hurt too. That is not what a man is all about. The next stanza he tells us “he played his cards and didn’t fold, it ain’t that hard when you got soul.” I interpret this as he learned to be honest, expressive, and not fold or retreat. He explains it is not hard to do when “you got soul.” I believe that he feels his soul by believing in himself.
That’s When We Know We are an “Us”
We are at our best in our relationships and in our lives when we feel “attuned” with our partner. It’s having that sense inside of us that our partner cares, that we matter to them, and that we are “special.” Feeling a sense of harmony in our relationship, we are able to provide that experience of “special-ness” for our partner in return.
Chris Martin in “A Sky Full Of Stars,” tells us what being in love feels like. He projects the emotion he feels on the inside, to the outer limits. The beginning of the song describes a lover as “a sky full of stars.” The piano and his voice have an almost urgent sound and feel. He is going to give his heart to this sky full of stars. There is no thought but all instinct in this stanza. He goes on to describe how this sky full of stars “lights up the path.” I believe what he means here is how he has trust and feels safe in this sky full of stars that “lights his path.” The next verse he lets go of any fear or doubt with a melodic rendition of “I don’t care if you tear me apart because in a sky full of stars I think I saw you.” He sees and feels the essence of this lover in a sky full of stars, so it doesn’t matter to him what will happen next. He feels at one, he feels and sees the light of the stars in this relationship. This is what love feels like to him. He sees it in the light of the stars. Nothing else matters. Not even if he got torn down. He allows himself the feeling of love, safety, trust, and he can let go of all fear. At this point in the song there is an instrumental break with electronic rhythm and beat, mixing with his piano lead, that helps us digest this amazing description of love.
Two weekends ago I facilitated a group of nine men with a colleague, Scott Kamilar, Ph.D, on Men and Relationships. These men were interested and committed to work on improving their relationships with their significant other. We met for a whole day on Saturday and this program entailed that the participants take in information on relationships and how to make them work in a healthy way, being vulnerable, expressing emotion, identifying defensiveness, and being emotionally present for their partner.