“I read Secrets of a Successful Relationship Revealed and it’s all very well for you two to be so happy, but how do we do it?”
“I can’t imagine having a relationship like you describe.”
These and many similar questions came our way after our first book was released. We wrote that book just to let people know that such a possibility exists and that if it worked for us, they too could have such an experience.
It was the many inquiries like those above, which in great part lead to the publishing of How Two: Have a Successful Relationship. In our latest book we describe more of the details of what goes into creating a conflict-free relationship full of peace and passion.
Recently, we did a podcast interview with William Weil of Conscious Couples Conversations, and one of the important takeaways he got from reading HOW TWO was the issue of belief. He was struck by the point that one of the critical parts of having this experience is that you have to believe it is possible.
And indeed he is correct. In order to have a relationship of this nature, you must allow it to be so, you must believe it exists and that you can have it. This may sound like a very simple thing to do, but unfortunately it isn’t. We have all been so conditioned by the prevailing myths about partnership that we’ve come to believe relationships must have conflict and that it is more important how you handle conflict than creating situations where it does not occur. We say myths because that is exactly what they are. They are mind constructs that can be changed. Alter your perception of the possible and everything can change!
What you don’t believe, you don’t see, and that is the barrier to conflict-free relationships #quote Click To TweetIf you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ve never seen one. If you do believe in them, maybe you have. If you believe people always act in their own self-interest, you’ll never see an altruistic act; you’ll find a self-interested reason in every action.
What you believe is what you see. This is well established by psychology experiments.
The corollary also applies: what you don’t believe, you don’t see. And that is the barrier that we face when talking about conflict-free relationships. The world is full of tales of conflict. In fiction, a story with no conflict is a dud. In therapy, conflict is lauded as the healthy alternative to repression. In economics, free markets are worshiped for their efficiency, and conflict (renamed competition) is their raw material.
On the other hand, the reality is that man is a cooperative animal. Try living alone in nature without any of the products of others – no twine, no steel, no cloth, no books, no company. You would be dead within a month. From gut bacteria to grains to goats, we need other species just as much as they need us. We cooperate with each other to make roads, 747s and shoes.
Despite that, it is conflict that is noticed because it is the exception that stands out against a background of cooperation, and the negative emotions catch our attention. No wonder people are so willing to accept conflict as a fact of life. And so our claim of a peaceful relationship faces a headwind of disbelief. You can’t live a conflict-free relationship until you believe it is possible.
Belief is the corner stone of change; once you understand that, you can transform your relationship. Belief must be found from within, from those times in your life when you have truly been at peace. Find that place, and live there.