together, couples, critical, criticism, curiosity, dialogue, intimacy, relationship, relationships, trust, trusted

Together over the years is not an easy job. We delude ourselves in the easy beginnings because the fantasy of staying together seems a simple path of love. Together over the years means work & learning skills & facing hard truths about ourselves. Listen to this episode to learn more about growing together by staying interested in each other.

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Fascinating interview with Dr. Joseph Melnick.One of the important points Dr.Melnick makes is that too many relationships & the world at large have an over developed sense of the critic. It’s easy to blame & tell people what they’re doing wrong.

Instead of telling each other about what’s wrong, we need to restore trust with a curiosity about each other. He describes what he calls “cardboard relationships” that are like paintings you don’t look at any more. He recommends asking questions that you don’t know the answer to.

In the beginnings of relationships it’s so easy to be open & experimental. Then couples seem to lose interest in each other because routines can be deadening. Staying together requires work & learning new skills, to understand how you stop being interested in your partner.

The goal is to keep your interest in your partner alive instead of falling into the ease of criticism. He asks if you really want to spend time fighting about what’s right or grow by learning to be open to feedback. Staying together means choosing one of these two directions.

It’s a good goal to risk the safety of being comfortable in order to build intimacy by having strong, powerful dialogues. Instead of romantic love which is not the same as the depth of partnership over time, build your skill set to be experimental, ask questions & use humor to be playful, not critical. This is the path to staying together over time.

Dr.Joseph Melnick was an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. He is a member of the Board of Directors and faculty @ The Gestalt International Study Center in Wellfleet, MA. He is the Chair of the Cape Cod Training Program, as well as the Organizational Development (OD) Certificate Program & he is in private practice in Portland, Maine. As a writer, he is also the founding editor of Gestalt Review & currently working on a book he wrote with Sonia Nevis.


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