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: Is there something I can do right now to make my relationship more fulfilling?
Chris Wright: Yes, there is something that couples can do right away that would make a difference in how happy and fulfilled they are relationship. Normally it is important to learn the full range of skills necessary for enriching the relationship, but it is true that many couples or many people tend to have one or two areas that are particularly meaningful when you do that, it really makes me feel loved.
So, it is important to understand what is it that my partner really does respond to for example, a woman who real wants quality time, connecting time with her husband maybe for him he is so busy all the time working but he buys gifts and maybe expensive gifts that he gives to her to show his love but maybe those gifts aren t as meaningful for her. So, even though she knows he loves her and she does receive these gifts, nevertheless she still feels empty in this relationship.
So, it is important to identify what are the key areas that you do respond to that make you feel loved, people come up with different lists to choose from, I like the work of a psychologist Gary Chapman. He called it five languages of love and I evolved from that. Five areas and I would like as I read through them for you to see which of these would you choose as the most important to you and then do the same for your partner, what do you think your partner s most top one would be.
So, the first one has to do with words of appreciation, words of acknowledgment, complements, things that make me feel that when you say them to me I feel like that you really notice, you really care that it makes me so special that you acknowledge those things that I do, praise for people it is the gasoline that makes me go, the fuel that makes me go. For others it s not as that important to me that you compliment, you acknowledge, or you appreciate me but quality time, connecting time together is what might mean a lot to someone, that we spend time together I am nourished from the amount of time we spend.
Where the focus is on, us being together not as much on the activity that we are doing, for another that may not be as important, maybe symbolic expressions of love mean a lot to that person. Things like making breakfast in bed for me, putting candles out at a dinner, buying me special gifts, fun gifts; light gifts, intimate gifts, serious gifts, lots of things that enliven this relationship make me feel that you care. For someone else it might be selfless service.
The things you do for me that takes pressures off of me really make a big difference, really feel romantic to me. You washed my car; you carry that big load to the garden for me to work on, the more things you do for me the more in love I am with you. For someone else it might be physical closeness, affection and touch, non-sexual touch. You hold my hand, you walk arm in arm with me, you touched regularly in a way that communicates that you care.
So, you look through these five, look and see of those one that is particularly important to you or one or two and do the same for your partner and then make that the focus in your relationship. when we are in a relationship where committed not to just my needs being that, but when we make a commitment in a relationship I am committed also to making your needs important, you needs are as important as mine. So, even though I might not need that, I am going to make that a priority, I am going to focus on that, so at the end of the week you would say, well I feel filled up in this relationship, I feel so fortunate to be with this person.
So, this might be a guide line of where to direct your attention to make sure you both are getting filled fulfilled in this marriage.