I was recently interviewed by Benito Vergotine of the South African radio station Smile 90.4 FM.
Enjoy listening to the interview here:
One of the questions that Benito asked me was: "Is it harder or more challenging for couples to remain together in this day and age than say 20-30 years ago?"
And here's my answer: "I think that what is happening now is that there is more of a permission than there was before to say, “It’s not working. Let’s end it!” When actually counterinstinctively, when it’s not working, there is the biggest opportunity to grow together and mature together."
During the interview, Benito and I discussed what couples learn at the “A Couple’s Journey,” workshop which I present with my husband Yumi.
And here it is. Couples learn:
- A guiding principle of what disconnects them and what connects them
- That conflict is a friend inviting them to grow and mature together
- How to take daily frustrations and transform them into double gifts for the relationship
Yumi and I invite you to join us for “A Couple’s Journey” workshop on October 19-21, 2018, in Washington DC. We promise you that by the time you leave the workshop, you will be in a completely new place, as people and as a couple. The workshop is a transformational experience, because it is a deep immersion in learning and practicing a new way of "being" together.
Yumi and I look forward with excitement to seeing you there,
Enjoy reading the full transcript below.
Interview with Benito Vergotine of the South African radio station Smile 90.4 FM (edited)
[Yumi and I] are teachers to couples about a way of life in which they can be deeply connected. We are guiding them on a path of connection and the path of what we call Relational Maturity. We are not healing them, therapizing them. We’re teaching them a new way to be deeply connected.
In today’s modern world, how are these connections often challenged?
I think that it’s a fast-paced time. It’s a multi-tasked time. People wear many, many hats. And learning how to slow down, to look into each other’s eyes and listen deeply with your heart is even more important now than ever before.
Why do you say it’s more important now than ever before?
Because I think the world is going quite fast and there are lots of screams that call our attention away from each other. In our new technological era I think connections become even more important.
Is it harder or more challenging for couples to remain together in this day and age than say 20 – 30 years ago?
I think that what is happening now is that there is more of a permission to say, “OK, it’s not working, let’s end it,” than it was before. I think people before were in more structured role situations. And we now are way more equal, and that has all kinds of advantages. However, I think there’s also a permission now to say, “It’s not working. Let’s end it.” When actually when it’s not working is when the biggest opportunity is to grow together and mature together. We say that every conflict in the relationship is an opportunity for growing and maturing.
Do we then give up too easily when faced with a conflict?
I think truly that we don’t know how to use conflict in a productive manner. We don’t know how to do it as couples, and we don’t know how to do it as countries. But I think it’s smart to start with couples. If couples can actually learn – and my husband and I teach exactly that – how to welcome conflict as an opportunity for growth. And that’s what relationships are. They’re opportunities for growth and for relational growth.
And relational growth cannot really exist without some conflict.
Conflict is natural because what it is, is the place where we need to mature facing the place the other needs to mature. It’s that wonderful physicist Albert Einstein who said, “You cannot solve a problem in the place that it’s being created.” And once you have more information and once you’ve grown some and once you understand the situation better, the problem actually dissolves. It disappears. And it’s that way in relationships. The conflict is the place where two people are being invited to grow. It’s the edge of their growth. And at that edge, they don’t know what else to do other than being in conflict. But once they know how to welcome that edge of growth, once they’ve grown, the problem has actually disappeared. This is a piece of what we teach – how to welcome that edge and grow from there.
Is this one of the aspects that you will be presenting to couples [in your workshop]?
That is exactly one of the places that we invite couples into: how to take their daily frustrations and transform them into gifts for the relationship.
Will you be conducting transformative workshops or are they discussions? What is the format?
The workshops we present to couples are three-day intensive retreats. Couples come for three days, and they immerse themselves in learning one very powerful guiding principle and many rituals to apply that principle. By the time they leave the workshop, three days later, they really are in a completely new place as people and as a couple. It’s a transformation experience because it’s a deep immersion in learning a new way of being together.
Is there still a chance for couples to sign up to be a part of these workshops?
I’m glad you’re asking. There is still a chance and we are really hoping to fill up the workshops so that they can have a real impact on couples in South Africa, but also on the society of South Africa. Because we really believe that when couples do well, the society does well.
What else will these couples be exposed to?
We teach them a guiding principle of what disconnects them and what connects them. They’re going to learn what it is in their relationship that each time they enter that routine, they will be disconnected. They learn about that routine. And they learn about one powerful guiding principle. They can actually find out about that guiding principle by looking at a TED Talk that I did, which is on our website. If they go to our website, there is a TED Talk there that they can watch which will give them a summary of what the workshop will teach them.
And there’s no prescription on the type of couples? It can be a newlywed couple. It can be a seasoned couple. There’s no prescription on the type of couple.
Absolutely. I’m loving the fact that you are coming prepared. Yes. It can be a young couple who’s not even married yet and would like to know how to make sure that when they get married it works well. It can be a couple married over 40 – 50 years. We’ve had couples come, and that’s always amazing for the young couples to see a couple married a long time still learning deeper ways of connecting. And it can be a newlywed couple. It can be a couple married 20 years. It can be a couple without children, a couple with children. And we’ve even had in our workshop a couple who has divorced each other three times and decided on the fourth try that they better learn something because this time they want to make it work. So yes, it can be any couple.