What's the trick to making your relationship last?
I don't just mean through the next month or so, I mean for the long haul.
What makes a relationship the forever kind? Is it tons of great sex? Lots of stuff in common? Enough money to never feel stressed?
All of those factors probably play their own respective roles, but in a recent interview with New York Magazine, Brian Gleason, LCSW revealed what he believes to be the biggest key to a successful relationship. OK, what's so special about this Brian Gleason guy?
Well, he and his wife of nearly 40 years, Marcia, are the co-founders of the Exceptional Marriage practice. The two also just co-authored a book, "Exceptional Relationships: Transformation Through Embodied Couples Work."
So, yeah, you could say they know what they're talking about when it come to relationships.
In the interview, Gleason explained that he's noticed in his practice that the biggest reason couples have problems is that they have not cultivated "emotional fluency" in themselves.
What's emotional fluency?
It's your ability to speak in an emotional language. Gleason gives an example of you and your partner having breakfast one morning before you have a really big meeting with your boss.
You're stressed about this meeting. But, instead of verbalizing your feelings, you just stare at your phone silently. Your partner is not a mind reader, he or she can only see your outside behavior... which can lead to a misunderstanding.
So your partner responds by getting hurt: "You're never available, you're so obsessed with your phone, I feel like I'm always making the effort here." He or she has NO idea you are actually just stressed about this meeting, that this whole problem has nothing to do with him or her. And that's where the problem lies.
But if you do figure out a way to convey what you're going through to your partner, Gleason explains that you can replace that conflict with an alliance.
You can tell your partner, "I'm worried about this meeting. I'm scared I'm going to get fired and I just really can't afford to lose my income right now." And, suddenly, you have someone there to offer you support and reassurance.
Seems simple enough, right? The problem is it's just not something we are trained to do. Our fancy college educations give us plenty of skills, but it turns out they leave out the one that might be the most crucial to our happiness.