Marriage advice from funny baby videos

We love funny baby videos. Babies are fascinating, partly because of how fascinated they are with the world! As this video shows, the sound of a simple sneeze will seem the most amazing, captivating new experience to a baby. The little guy looks terrified, but it’s actually an expression of awe and surprise. We can tell because after the shock of the sound passes, he bubbles with laughter every time. (Hopefully if he were really scared, we wouldn’t count this among funny baby videos. Other people’s terror is not something to laugh at).

Amazingly, a newborn has just as good hearing and eyesight as a grown adult. They seem helpless and confused only because they have a tremendous amount of information to process every second. The world is completely new to them and they are learning at an astounding rate. This is why baby’s only focus about 15 inches away maximum even though their eyes are very developed. They couldn’t handle all that new information at once.

Since our long term memories only start around age 2-3, we can only imagine what it must be like to be a newborn and to encounter the word for the first time. Seeing the world as a baby can be a great exercise for helping your marriage. One common marriage complaint is that the novelty and excitement of the relationship fades. Just as we get used to the world as we grow up, we become desensitized to and take for granted the little things about our spouse that once were so thrilling. In other words, the magic fades.

Try an experiment. Watch this best of funny baby videos a few times. First, just have a great laugh at the comedy of the little guy. His expressions are priceless. Later, watch it again and pay attention to how he pays attention. His whole being is focused on taking in this new sound. You can do this too! Pick something you tend to gloss over in your daily life. It could be a tomato, your couch, your spouse’s arms or hands or face…really, anything. Then take a good, long time to appreciate it. Try to quiet your mind and focus all your attention on this one thing. How does it feel? Taste? Weigh? Sound? Use all your senses to explore and  examine it until you’ve turned it inside out into something completely new. You might find yourself newly fascinated with something old, and newly excited about your partner.

There’s a whole new world underneath the one we are used to. You can use this trick anytime you are feeling stressed or bored. It’s a great way to add spark and excitement to you marriage. Find and appreciate something new about your spouse every day.

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On inspiration and saving marriage

I recently came across an interesting blog post by psychologist Jim Taylor for the San Francisco chronicle. The article isn’t directly about saving marriage, but bear with me—it will tie in later!

Jim takes a good, hard, fresh look at inspiration. What inspires us? Where does inspiration come from? How do we hold on to it?

Americans idolize inspirational thinkers, teachers, leaders and gurus. We look for inspiration everywhere but are often hoodwinked by the multi-billion dollar “Inspirational-industrial complex.” Yep, there’s a whole industry focused on making money by making you feel good for a little while. Inspiration speakers, books and movies…they leave us feeling charged with positive energy and ready to take on our challenges. At the same time, we are “hoodwinked” because this feeling is fleeting. As Jim points out, we often wake up the next day feeling empty and frustrated. Where did that glowing sense of inspiration go? We may even feel guilty for not acting on that sense of indignation or drive. We end up feeling worse, not better, and far from actually acting on the inspiration.

 

Jim then makes a great point: effective, lasting inspiration can only come from inside us. Outside forces cannot inject real inspiration into you. It doesn’t belong to you. Like a candle, it provides warmth and clarity from the outside, but as soon as that outside influence is gone, it’s warmth fades.

This doesn’t mean that all inspiration figures are bunk. Jim writes, “what makes the great inspirations so, well, inspirational is their ability to help others find their own personal inspiration every day.” A truly inspirational figure is someone who ignites the tinder of ideas, beliefs, and desires that are already inside you. This internal fire is self-sustaining and drives real action.

So what does this all have to do with saving marriage? Part of that multi-billion dollar “inspiration-industrial complex” is focused on broken relationships. Self-help gurus each claim that their workshops hold the key to saving marriage. Books claim to change your life and inspire you to new love. Maybe you just saw a movie that depicts a couple’s reconciliation, and you feel inspired to work on your own marriage.

All these outlets make money off of making you feel better. Of course, feeling better is a good thing! At the same time, you want to make sure that the change is permanent and sustainable—in Jim’s words, “truly inspirational.” A good resource for saving marriage should not just throw information, happy examples, and advice at you. It should work within you to make solid, recognizable changes in your behavior and outlook. When seeking out couples counseling, make sure that your therapist or program inspires and gives you clear steps for real change in your life. The power to change your marriage has to come from within—from a determination to change old habits and transform your relationship.

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Po2 in the workplace: Coaching skills

 

Hey everyone, this is Jesse, the tech-guy here at Power of Two!

Last week Naomi posted about how the skills taught in marriage counseling can translate into other areas of your life (read that post here). Here’s an article I wrote about another element of Power of Two that can really help you in the workplace: a good coach.

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At Power of Two everyone on our team has a coach; someone to help them, guide them, and push them to greatness. The idea started because our core business is pairing online marriage counseling with individual coaching for couples in challenging relationships. We’ve applied the idea to ourselves and found it to be hugely valuable. Here’s some pointers on what to look for in a good “coach” in your workplace.

An effective coach answers questions that you may not have even thought to ask.

1. Review your work product. The purpose of a coach is to advance your understanding beyond what you can do on your own. this only works if they have information beyond what you tell them. A coach should review developer’s code, designer’s designs, writer’s words, a customer developer’s iteration plans and results, etc. A person who gives advice without reviewing your work product is simply a mentor. Mentor’s are helpful, and good for one’s morale, but they are not a coach.
2. Have deep respect. The amount your learn from your coach depends on how much expertise they bring to the table and whether or not you value the suggestions they make enough to act on their suggestions. If you don’t act on your coach’s advice then it’s all just a waist of time.
3. Pay for the time. When you give your coach work to review you are asking to spend their time for your benefit. This relationship is much simpler and more likely to succeed if there is a balanced exchange of value.
4. Ask stupid questions. Your coach works for you. They are there to help you with both complex and things that you might think are stupid. Often it is the questions that initially seem stupid that point to an gap in your knowledge base or skill set.
5. Be a bit scared. Your coach’s job is to tear into your work, expose the weaknesses and then help you address them. This is ego-busting stuff. If you aren’t a bit scared about sending work to your coach then it’s time to find a new coach. At the same time, you should feel empowered after addressing the shortcomings that your coach has identified.

Engaging with a good coach will accelerate your learning curve and get you to the top of your game. It’s an essential tool for success. Who do you look to as a coach in your life?


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Using Power of Two outside of the home

Hello Power-of-Two-verse! I’m Naomi, the new intern here in our Berkeley, CA office. You’ll be hearing a lot from me during the next few months as I take over the Power of Two blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’ll be covering reviews, interviews, opinion pieces, marriage news, and Power of Two relationship tips. If there’s a topic you’d like to hear about, send your suggestion my way at naomi@poweroftwomarriage.com.

So what’s it like being a Po2 intern? Pretty awesome. Part of my job is to go through the entire Power of Two curriculum for editing and immersion. After even briefly being exposed to the program I’ve noticed a significant change in my relationships. I find myself thinking about things like “but” statements and positivity in my own interactions as well as others’. In short, Po2 doesn’t just teach you how to save a marriage; while this program is geared towards married and long-term committed pairs, it’s useful in your interactions with all sorts of relationships, from business to friendship. Really, any 1-on-1 situation in which you are dedicated to working together, making decisions and fostering a partnership.

You can see it first hand around the office here. Running a business takes a lot of great communication skills. It’s kind of like running a household with seven husbands and wives instead of two! And like a bad marriage, it can be really unpleasant. But unlike previous workplaces I’ve been a part of, at Po2 there is no passive aggressive commenting, disparaging dismissal of others’ comments, or sense that the employees are reluctant to talk to each other. Everyone actively listens to the person speaking and is supportive of their opinions, even when offering critiques (I hear a lot “yes…and…”). And when an upset happens, they are quick to apologize. The team really feels like a big, amazingly functional marriage. This really helps when things get stressful!

So why not try using the Power of Two skills outside the home? Next time your boss bugs you about that report for the 10 billionth time, cool down with emotion regulation, then use some I statements and win-win decision making to state your concerns and improve your professional relationship. I just wouldn’t give him a kiss and a squeeze to make things all better…not everything that works with your spouse will work in the office!

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Is cheating the solution to marriage problems? Not so fast!

 

Are you a Tom Sawyer Husband? How about a Workhorse Wife considering an Oreo Marriage? These are just a few of the types of couples outlined in Pamela Haag’s new book, Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting The Rules. Many of Haag’s categories are different ways of describing “so-so marriage,” where security, familiarity, and shared responsibilities are what keep couples together rather than love. “It’s these low-conflict, amiable, but sort of listless marriages that actually contribute the lion’s share to the divorce rate. It’s not the couples who are throwing dishes and screaming,” she said in the DailyMail.
Haag also wrote a guest article for CNN.com. In it she focuses on the “non-traditional” solutions couples may try to make their marriage work. These include: separate bedrooms; a “marriage sabbatical”; non-monogamy; and/or tolerating infidelity.

Well now! These two articles sure got us all stirred up.

“Pamela Haag has it oh-so-right. . . and oh-so-wrong.” Dr. Abigail Hirsch says.

“We love her descriptions of the ways marriages slip into semi-happiness.  Her categories are very true. And, her solution — to open things up to letting outsiders into your intimate life and maybe even the bedroom — is a lousy solution to spicing up marriage.

Can I be harsh?  Here it is.

 

How would you feel about a bike repair shop that told you, “oh, front tire flat?  We’ll just take it off and give it to someone else.  Your bike will work fine with one tire!”  Bad advice.

 

Same with marriage problems — if your marriage has some broken parts, like lackluster passion, missing romance, zero loving connection — the solution is (almost always) not to remove the possibility for deep, rewarding intimate connection — the solution is to FIX THE BROKEN PIECE.  If your love life is lacking, learn the skills to turn the spark back on.  If warmth and connection are a thing from the distant past, invest in learning how to make them a part of the future from today forwards.

 

Be proactive about bringing sex, passion, love, intimacy, and friendship into your day-to-day with your spouse if you want your marriage to sizzle. If you’d rather your marriage fizzle, then take your metaphorical tire elsewhere.”

In conclusion, never settle for solutions that make you feel less than satisfied. A joyous, loving, definitely not “so-so” marriage is a real possibility for everyone. You deserve to, and can, be happy!

 

 

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Power of Two in Your Sleep???

Couldn’t resist sharing this lovely comment from a Power of Two Online member (with her permission of course!).

Her coach asked her, “when are you thinking about the skills you’re using?”

Her response:

Actually, I dreamt about it!   I caught myself saying something inappropriate and in my head (dream), I said to myself, this needs to be reframed.

Now that’s when you know you’ve learned a new skill!

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The Science of Commitment? What’s behind those who cheat and those who resist the temptation? Tara Parker-Pope takes a stab at explaining exactly that in her book, “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.”

The Science of a Happy Marriage? I was skeptical too…

Yesterday in the Times Tara Parker-Pope shared her insight on the factors which may affect a person’s tendency to stay committed. Scientists are studying the biological, psychological, and everything in between. Interestingly enough, their findings suggest that while some people may be more naturally inclined to resisting temptation, people can also train themselves to protect their relationships, and strengthen their commitment.

Continue reading The Science of Commitment? What’s behind those who cheat and those who resist the temptation? Tara Parker-Pope takes a stab at explaining exactly that in her book, “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.”

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Power of Two loves finding recommendations for our great workbook. Thanks Hiking_Photographer!

While reading some reviews for the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Workbook for Women” I came across a recommendation for our workbook… cool!  We haven’t read the book yet, but were excited to find couples out there who are reading Power of Two.

“My fiance and I bought the book, and the two work books and were very much disappointed. It’s focused on Christianity specifically, treats men and women as if they were two great masses of clones, etc. Multiple choice has a lot of room for interpretation – dangerous for a defensive person to be doing. I recommend the power of two workbook instead.
Rating: 1 / 5

Hiking_Photographer
May 18th, 2010

And now a shameless plug… Check out Power of Two’s workbook!

Posted By: Katie

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“Power of Two: Skills for a Strong and Loving Marriage” gets 5 out of 5 STARS!

Not to brag… Well, Okay, to brag just a little… Dr. Heitler’s book, The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong & Loving Marriage received 5 stars from Denver’s Marriage Communication Examiner, Tammy Wagner.  Tammy recommends the book to dating couples, engaged couples, newlyweds, and marriage pros alike.

Read the review… then, read the book!

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