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: What does it take for a couple to live in the relationship that they have dreamed of?
Chris Wright: What is going to take for a couple to really live the kind of relationship that they have always dreamed about is having the ability and also the commitment to be able to learn to develop these healthy skills and awarenesses in each other. If they are not willing to learn these, then what is the alternative? Just to act out these tensions freely when they come up? But it does require commitment. It really does require commitment to learn to gain a sense of what are our needs together, attune in to each other s needs, having a sense of the value or being responsive to each other s needs together. That s important. It requires a commitment to becoming self aware of what are the things that get in the way of that or how you deal with the pressures inside of yourself and how those affect the relationship so that you really get what s happening and you can see where you need to come into balance. Fortunately, we have the enneagram that tends to be very coherent in describing that. It also requires a commitment to becoming aware of your partner s needs and pressures. So, you can start to attuning to what it is that s creating tension for them? Their needs are just as important as yours and so, you need to be able to come to grips with seeing how those needs show up in the different ways and be able to validate them. So, you are really clear, there's nothing to argue about. So, we are finding how we can meet each other s needs in the midst of those pressures. It also requires a commitment to wanting to learn skills and tools, set frameworks so that when tensions do emerge, we merely respond right at the tip of our tongue in ways that move it towards the heartfelt sharing, so we get to the core what the real issue is in a way that s very intimate together. They open our hearts and we tend to feel closer as a result of going through it and lastly, it requires a commitment to really wanting to grow to, really wanting to use the relationship as a vehicle for healing. Not only healing what s between you and the relationship, you are healing yourself, growing as a human being, so that you are willing to want to adjust your bar, be more responsive to your partner s needs. All this requires simply education. This isn t brain science, rocket science. It s just simple education developing this whole skill base. Remember the old adage, Falling in love is the easy part, sustaining love, keeping your heart open requires skills and those can be learned. So, I encourage you to watch over this video series maybe watch it a number of times, really take it to heart, really develop these understandings as part of your life on how you respond, how you live your life together. For some couples particularly, distressed couples, having these skills, being open to developing, learning these types of tools that s the whole basis to deciding whether we should be together. Even for some couples who are starting out and thinking of getting married the whole basis of whether we should go forward or not is whether you are willing to commit to learning these skills, learning to gain these awarenesses together. If you are not, if you are not willing to have these, if you just want to act out these pressures in a way that feels natural to you that s -- I don t know if I want to go through 20, 30, 40 years of that. So, I encourage you to take this seriously in your relationship, really desire to develop these understandings, these awarenesses and these skills, maybe watch sections of this video series over and over again so you can start to live from these dynamics, live from these understandings, start to live from these principles in a relationship. For some couples who are having a tough go, the whole basis, the whole key of whether they should stay together or not can revolve around whether that you are willing to learn these frameworks, learning these understandings so that we can have a healthy relationship. Even if for some couples who are just starting off. they have loving feelings for each other but maybe the basis of whether we should continue on to marriage is are you willing to learn to gain self awareness of these dynamics, learn to establish tools together that make it safe for us to work through our issues and that s the key here. You are not doing it just for yourself, you are not doing it just for your partner, you are also doing it for your kids, for your children, to model for them what healthy intimacy is, working through issues is, so that they have a secure family framework to grow up in. So, there all sorts of consequences here that make a real difference in the relationship. So, again I encourage you to establish this foundation of safety so you can start living the vision of the relationship that you have always dreamed of, so you can start that even deepen, not only sustain, but deepen the sacred connection of the love that you feel together behind your imagination.