Welcome, welcome, welcome!
If you have arrived here interested in getting a wonderful partnership, or interested in how to do better, or interested in saving your marriage or that of friends, parents or children, or just interested in specifics of how peaceful partnerships work, you have arrived at a right place. Take heart! It ain’t rocket science!
I am a Marriage Therapist and a successful husband with a successful wife. I really think Sandra and I have learned our way into success as partners as well as to being each other’s best friend. It wasn’t easy. Some years ago we celebrated our 22nd anniversary on June 29th, 2006. On that day, I asked her would she marry me again. Her response, “The way you are now, sure!” Now, in 2012, it’s 28 years.
If I had to do it again, I too would definitely choose the same person. With what I know now, the process would be much faster and easier. I often say that at this point Sandra and I are working maybe 10% as hard and are getting 50 times more out of our togetherness. Hey, folks, it is all about learning to act smarter! I believe anyone can do it.
The purpose of this site is to make available the specific tools and supporting information that I/we have learned over years about how to really get along, and how make a great partnership/marriage. It is all about what you need in order to get from young, Romantic Love to mature, durable, Vintage Love. I want to make the process faster and easier for you, beginning at wherever you are. Speaking of “wherever you are,” a really good place to start is with a Map – by reading or listening to my Map of Relationships. So far as I know, the only place to get this “Map” is right here on this website
While I will post many colorful pictures for the fun of it (and a picture I took in Istanbul of a piece of art is the most popular download on my site – go figure!), the really useful material is under the directory entitled Relationships. Here you will find topics (organized in more directories) full of essays, charts, skills, suggestions, and stories. I use these with couples and singles who come to see me – and I have seen several thousand over the past 15 years.
I often tell people that “if you live on a desert island, you need a whole bunch of skills – fishing, hook sharpening, fire making, cooking, utensil making and repair, bed making, hut making, etc. Think of these skills as all tools that take up two drawers in your life’s tool box. If you can live alone easily, you probably have a good set of tools in those toobox drawers. But when someone swims ashore and joins you, there are new set of tools you need – relating tools. This top drawer in your toolbox, the one with these relating tools, is the one I am a specialist at.” These are the tools I offer here. And remember, it ain’t rocket science.
In the directory of Relationships there are five folders for the five pillars at the core of all Romances and of long-term getting along – what I call The Biological Dream. Each folder has its own collection of articles or charts. These are the foundations of peacefully being together. I am not kidding. I’ve found these are simply “dead center” critical. If you are having trouble in your relationship with your partner, your boss, your friends, your family, your children, believe me you are probably stuck without one or more tools and are ready to learn the appropriate sets of skills. Please don’t blame yourself or them – get to work learning. I love to say that “You are either going to have a nice day, or you are going to learn something.” Looking back, the great wisdoms that came to me all began in some awful situation. So get on to the learning.
In addition to the five pillars, there are three abolutely necessary special skills and learnings: communication, boundaries, and what I call the “plumber’s version of emotions.” I believe everyone needs to learn this stuff if you “don’t want to live alone on that desert island.” So that is eight things you need – five pillars and three special skills.
Finally there is one special folder/topic, Healing, that is a must for married, or living-like-married, people. Remember the idea that “you can get along with everyone at work easily, but that person at home drives you crazy?” Well, I believe that Romantic Love sets up a unique situation and creates a very special kind of relationship, fraught with delight and a lot of specific solvable (often seemingly unsolvable) troubles. I first heard about this from Harville Hendrix, and it is the center of Imago Relationship Therapy. I didn’t believe it for quite a while, until I had enough evidence. Tis right!
When clients come to me as a marriage teacher, coach, tutor, they ask “What do I do?” and “Why should I do that?” I have found that most books on the market and most workshops on relationships are either too vague and do not explain what to do specifically, or they are too specific and without explaining “why.” Some books and trainings are, I believe, flat wrong. They teach things that do not work. I was asked by a casual acquaintance, “What book do you suggest to clients?” I have many, but I have seen no book or workshop that shares the whole set of problems in achieving a successful intimate relationships. (The closest thing that I know of is the Getting the Love You Want Couple’s Workshop, and the best of these that I know of is offered by Hedy Schleifer.)
An interesting side task for me has been participating in a project to take the wisdom learned from bringing durable peace to couples and extending this to groups of people. This is called the Imago Peace Project, where they learn and teach Communologue. You can find my papers on this material in the folder called Peace Making.
Thoughts on Copyrighting
Read, enjoy, learn, practice, and copy anything you want. You will notice that I put a copyright mark on most pages. This does not mean you should not download and copy what you want. This means I am the author, and if someone has a question about the material or the ideas, they can get back to me. When you copy stuff, please include that copyright. I see this a bit like the movie, Pay It Forward. All I ask from you in return is “future goodwill.”
There are so many roads that you may have come down to arrive at my site. I’d be happy to point out a direction for you on a page called Directions to Go. You also might try my paper on Where do you Start? If you want to be methodical, I suggest you start with studying the Map of Relationships. The Map gives the overall view to the whole set of challenges facing all of us. It also points toward the concept of a “University of Life”, a college-like series of courses.
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Send me your comments and questions and I’ll be happy to reply or post my answers as I have time. You can post your comments anonymously, but I would prefer you leave an email address so that I can get back to you. Thanks for visiting. Al