BY DR. ATHENA STAIK
Have you considered what the latest findings in neuroscience have to say on your chances of enjoying a lifetime of benefits in your couple relationships?
Do you or your partner resist one another’s efforts to discuss or resolve issues? Do you know how to get to what underlies core issues without getting stuck? How are you at saying or accepting “No” for an answer at times? Do you and your partner struggle to remain calm and confident when you discuss sensitive issues?
The discovery and understanding of the brain’s neural operating systems are of huge importance to really understand the “core issues” in your couple relationship.
Quite honestly, the real “core” issues are not what you argue about.
The real issues have more to do with why you or your partner react with defensive patterns to begin with — and what you can do to re-wire your brains, so that in the future you can “do conflict” in a way that grows, not destroys, your intimacy, fun and friendship connections.
You see, for starters, your brain is wired to love yourself; but also to love your life partner. You are designed to seek to thrive and to self-actualize, to meaningfully contribute as individuals, and yet also to create a lasting, meaningful relationship with one another. Your brain loves partnerships, and your love relationship seems to have a special pull.
The problem is that this can seem like a conflict. It triggers our fear of rejection, abandonment. Our choices do not feel like choices, rather either-or forced options. As if we have to abandon ourself to love the other; or abandon the other to love ourself.
Both you and your partner are unique individuals, yet, what you yearn for most in life – deep down inside – is to be loved unconditionally, to be recognized and to be valued for who you are, and the unique ways you express your love. Your every action, in some way, expresses an attempt to fulfill these strivings. And, you share this universal experience in common.
This is why just learning communication skills won’t work. Using an approach I call Conscious-Love Relating, you and your partner discover how to consciously create the safety and mutually caring responsiveness you need to create the mutually enriching relationship you want. Studies show that, even when partners understand what communication skills to use, they resist nourishing a healthy connection with one another. They resist! They do not feel safe enough to love, to give or to receive love from the other.
Why? In one word, fear!
Core, existential fears-- such as fear of rejection or loss of self.
Life is a learning journey. You were born for a lifetime of learning about your world, about what makes life and relationships work, and your couple relationship is a top-notch school where you can discover how to create a meaningful, mutually enriching and fun relationship with one another.