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How to Transform Your Relationship and Make it Conflict-free

Phil and Maude speakingLast week we gave a workshop on transforming your relationship. Our work involves creating and re-framing relationships as peaceful conflict-free ones. In order to do that a change in perception is critical – a change in how you see relationships. What is the nature of that transformation? It consists of several points.

Firstly, how does transformation take place? Is it something that happens over a period of time, like ice melting, or suddenly, like a twig breaking?

We are all interpreting our senses in terms of what we have learned before and come to expect; in other words, our ideas. A new idea changes everything, like seeing the answer to a crossword clue. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

Transforming your relationship is like that. It’s a reframing of the way the two of you relate. It’s essentially a new idea, a different way of seeing the interactions between you.

Secondly, what is the transformation? It’s actually a number of interlocking ideas.

  • Your partner is a unique individual as much as you are, and just like you, appreciates autonomy, the sense of being free and in charge of their life.
  • The two of you are on the same side, that life is a partnership, not a competition. It’s not a zero-sum game.
  • Your current desires are just one way to get your needs met, and there are many other ways that you and your partner can find together.

What are the conditions for this to be able to happen? One of them lies within you. You have to know yourself. This isn’t a yes/no answer; it’s always a work in progress. It requires being reflective and distinguishing what you want from what other people expect of you.

The other condition is, of course, the other person. Relationships need to be based on trust, and this takes a while to develop. This doesn’t just apply to a personal relationship, but with everyone: friends, your car mechanic, your coworkers. Basic to developing this kind of trust is exploring your core values and seeing that they match.

What steps can you take to achieve this transformation?

A powerful beginning toward such a big shift in viewpoint comes with what we refer to as belief and intention. Since you are basically venturing into new and uncharted territory, a suspension of disbelief is necessary. You have to give up what is known and comfortable, and allow yourself to believe that something else is actually possible.

That is why we describe, again and again, the nature of our relationship. It does exist. There is nothing magical about what we do that you can’t do, too.

And then a further step is required. You must apply the intention to find and have this experience. Since this is a mutual adventure, the participants have to commit to this exploration together.

The place where you can discover this different way of connecting, of relating, is not in the joy – most people can find that – but in the struggle.

In our writings, we describe something we call Our Process, which outlines a method that leads you through finding mutual solutions and decisions. This occurs through the act of co-creating together, and through repetition, builds up the awareness that you are not in opposition to each other. This is the place where transformation can occur. You know you are together and on the same side – not that you think it is so, you know it is so. This very experiential knowledge opens the door to a peaceful relationship.

This kind of change is very powerful and can not only alter the individuals involved but can effect great change in the world around them. This is how peace is spread: one relationship at a time.

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Photo credit: Lynelle Paulick

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfThis week, we wrote about transforming your relationship, a theme we also taught in our workshop. Here are some authors sharing their thoughts on various aspects of transformation.

Can One Person Transform a Relationship? "It sounds impossible, right? After all, it takes two to tango. How can one person transform a relationship without the other one on board? Well, it does take two to tango, but if one dancer knows exactly what they're doing and practices often, he/she can teach their partner how to be a better dancer without them even knowing it."

Empathy: The Secret To Transforming Your Love Relationships "I will say that one thing I have seen work wonders in improving relationships and alleviating marital and personal hardship is empathy. I call it the “secret sauce” of a happy marriage. In fact, a Harvard research study from a few years ago showed that marriages were more successful when the man tried to demonstrate empathy in his interactions with his wife. Clearly, there’s something important and noteworthy about it."

To love is to nurture: The secret to real relationship transformation "Stop saying ‘I love you.’ And start saying, ‘I will nurture you.’ Shocking right? Yet when you give this one a try; the results will speak for themselves. From the first session I invite couples to lay down the word ‘love’ and instead use the word ‘nurture’. When we say we want someone to love us, we actually mean we want someone to nurture us."


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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