Chris WrightChris Wright is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He sees clients in the Washington, D.C. area and has telephone clients from all over the world. He also has over 35 years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in human and organizational development across the U.S. and Canada. Chris was founder and director of the Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas. He was also the Director of PAIRS International -- training psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in couple’s skills programs. As an innovator in the field, he has developed a unique blend of tools that increase the effectiveness in relationships -- for couples and in the workplace. He has Masters Degrees from the University of Arizona and Antioch University in Los Angeles.
Host: How do I start to live the relationship I have always dreamed of?
Chris Wright: Imagine that you start living from these principles that we have been going over and have gained mastery in the tools that we are teaching here. Imagine the effect that that would have on your relationship, on your marriage or better you have to imagine your partner having these awarenesses, having these understandings, having using these tools readily in the relationship. How that would change the whole experience together.
I start to review here with the source of our happiness, our fulfillment together, we said that there were two sources of our happiness, what makes us feel fulfilled. First has to do with the things that we do that enrich the relationship, the romance, the fun, the meaningful activities we share and the caring behaviors, the cards, the gifts, all those things in life and the loving feelings that feel together.
The second source of happiness is much more fundamental, more basic. It has to do with how open our hearts to each other? How much we feel connected? How much surrendered do we feel? How much trust is there to stay open in that connection together and that is the function of having our personality needs met. These core, emotional needs being responded to, make all the difference.
We talked in the enneagram and fortunately, the enneagram identifies what these core needs are and your type, your wings and lines. When these these are needs that are deep inside our been, where areas where we are disconnected from ourselves in some way, where there is some emptiness there, but we are not feeling that need inside of ourselves and we become dependant on finding, filling that need outside of ourselves.
When we find experiences that replicate what we are missing, it creates a sense of hollowness inside, it s like an elixir. We feel bliss, we feel great, we feel wonderful inside when those needs are responded to. So, it becomes important to us in our marriage to find a partner who honors those needs, who appreciates those needs, those qualities, who values those, who responds readily to those needs. That s what makes you feel whole, that s what makes your heart sing, that s what makes you feel love and appreciation for your partner.
So, to the extent that either of these needs aren t met, these two sources, those needs aren t met, to that extent there are pressures in the relationship. There is tension in the relationship, there is a sense of feeling empty in this relationship. So, it s that simple to be fulfilled to be happy. We simply have to reorder our priorities, attune to making sure that we are filling out all these areas where these needs are so that we do feel nourished, we do feel fulfilled together.
Of course, the difficulty comes in is that we are with somebody who has a different operating system, a different set of pressures, a different set of needs and so they are not always attuned to, clear about, able to discern responses to what my needs are and when those needs aren t met they generate a lot of pressure, a lot of tension in me. That tension tends to be projected on to my partner. I tend to make my partner wrong for not being more sensitive, more responsive.
Then they get stuck in there, well, trying to make sense of what I am accusing them of, what I am upset about and they can t find it, they don t have those needs, they don t have those pressures. So, they become defensive and they take a stand on their reality, then they fight back and it creates an argument where neither person feels honored, neither person s feeling are heard in this relationship, neither person s needs are feeling responded to and that s what creates the emotional distance. That creates that sense of emptiness together. So, we have reviewed a range of skills and tools and understandings that would help us to navigate to make sure that we are bridging those needs, bridging those worlds, that we are attuning to each other s needs in a way that makes us more fulfilling, that heals what was what created the risks in the past so that we can start to live the relationships of our dreams, that we can start to repair, restore the love that we know that s in our hearts towards each other. For gaining mastery in these skills, gaining mastery in our ability to be aware of these dynamics is the key dynamic that would produce this kind of wonderful relationship together.