My husband and I recently took a day trip to Fulton, Mo to see The National Churchill Museum at Westminster College. It was a hot day, so being in an air-conditioned museum seemed like a good idea. Actually it was too cold inside, but we spent three hours learning about this extraordinary man. Although Sir Winston Churchill was a prolific writer, I wasn’t thinking about him as having anything to say about couple relationships, as I was reading about his accomplishments and reviewing the famous Iron Curtain Speech that he had given at the college in 1946. But, to my surprise, I found one of Churchill’s famous sayings in a short book, The 100/0 Principle(The Secret of Great Relationships) by Al Ritter–a book with wise sayings about relationships. Said Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit and listen.”
As many of you know, I am conducting on-going Couples Seminars based on the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. In his book, John Gottman purports that learning to listen is an important skill in a relationship. Equally important is the willingness to stand up and speak….The politics of marriage, Sir Winston? Who would have guessed. Churchhill was very happily married to Clementine for 49 years.
One of the topics in the educational seminar is how to have a stress-reducing conversation in a positive atmosphere, by listening and talking about your stresses. You can earn points in the emotional bank account, according to Dr. Gottman, when you “reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went.” He suggests spending 20 to 30 minutes having this kind of give and take. His cardinal rule is that you talk about whatever is on your mind outside your marriage. He believes that this talking and listening is an important activity to building what he calls The Sound Relationship House. I believe it also takes courage, especially during times of stress, to listen and talk about what stresses you outside your relationship. The tools that the workshop provides help couples have successful stress-reducing conversations.
If you would like more information about the Sound Relationship House, stress-reducing conversations, and the politics of relationships that will help your relationship grow, or general counseling information, please call 636-928-5800 or email: Karen@familiesinfocus.com