Why Couples Alive?
“Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true, but you and I know what this world can do. So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see, and I’ll wait for you, if I should fall behind wait for me.” – Bruce Springteen’s song, If I Should Fall Behind
Relationships are started on dreams of what we can feel and be together, and much like Bruce’s lyrics imply, there’s a lot that this world can do. So what starts as a perfect romance can so easily end in a bitter, contemptuous break-up or divorce.
Yet, no one starts there.
With romance, we start with what captures us and draws us to another. However, our romances are mostly of our own imagination and no two are alike. As excited and alive as you may feel with someone, that high cannot last, nor should it. Romance is not intimacy, meaning the deep knowing of another, nor is it all that relational. Romance is primarily our long held expectations projected onto the other person.
Romance is the juice that allows us to step in and hang in through the challenges. Frankly, without it, we wouldn’t have made the leap.
The problem is that most of us believe, like Bruce, that the world does something to us, creating the split. Oddly, that’s generally not the problem. We are the ones creating the issues for ourselves, often because we haven’t made our steps clear, meaning we haven’t revealed, even to ourselves, or to our partner, what we really think, feel and want. Nor have we been particularly interested in knowing the internal world of other person, as Bruce says – and their steps.
What Makes Relationships Last?
Relationships that last are not romances. Sure, they have moments of romance, in the beginning, maybe with a new home or a new baby, or project. These sparks of dreams and possibilities remind and inspire us of that original energy. But what sustains a relationship isn’t the romance. No, it’s the discipline and commitment to continue to be curious about oneself and the other.
This is not easy. In fact, it can be quite uncomfortable, creating conflict and tension, causing angst, pain, joy and sorrow. The journey is not always easy or smooth. So why bother?
The upside of hanging in beyond romance is the possibility of experiencing fulfillment, aliveness and to participate in lov–ing.
Loving is an active process that ebbs and flows. It is made up of giving and receiving, standing forth and standing back, feeling both pain and pleasure. Loving is a fluid river that is rough and soft, the current is sometimes blocked, at other times fast and furious. While it can be painful, it is never dull and always very much alive!
To navigate all of the stages and phases of a long-term relationship demands a conscious choice to keep coming back and being curious about oneself and to be deeply curious and interested in knowing another, without having to change them, control them or control and manage yourself. That is a tall order!
Sure, there will be those times when each of us will need, want or fight to get our way. Likely, there will be periods where one partner is sacrificing their wants and wishes to support the other. However, if this done repeatedly or unconsciously over time, people will develop contempt or apathy – both deadly choices, and relationships fail.
The Couples Alive Series
The Couples Alive Series (CoA) is a three part series that allows couples the opportunity to assess where they are in the stages of their relationship from romance, power struggles, commitment, to co-creativity.
Each part of the series provides concepts and tools that couples can integrate immediately to help enliven the health of their relationship. There are opportunities to apply the tools real-time for on-going issues that couples wrestle with. The series provides practical ways of communicating and being with each other, and in setting healthy boundaries that allow for differences, space, uniqueness and passion.
This Couples Alive Series is one of a kind for couples, namely because, it is a series rather than a stand-alone course. It starts with:
CoA I – Foundation: Communication and Boundaries, offers tools and opportunities to work on real-time issues, establish long-needed boundaries, resolve relentless patterns the couple may be struggling with. This program is key for creating on-going healthy, productive conversations for the couple.
CoA II – The Edge: Igniting Passion and Aliveness is the next step after foundation. This provides tools for how to hold the tension of the power-struggle, which, many people don’t realize, provides a lot of juice and aliveness to the relationship. Allowing each person to be fully who they are brings more passion to a once apathetic relationship.
CoA III – Day-to Day: Living and Loving (once called love & laundry). This segment of the series helps the couple look at how they create on-going aliveness in their long-term relationship that tends to have a steady state. This section is about co-creating and having inspiring projects or goals together that enrich each individual and the couple.
The Magic Ingredient
Most couples prefer to keep their dirty laundry at home, and we want to ensure that you do NOT need to share what is happening for you with the group. Your conversations can remain privately within your relationship. However, we have found that it is powerful to be in a room with several other couples and finally realize that, “Wow, and I thought I was the only one or we were the only ones!” A tremendous amount of learning and possibility comes simply from being with other couples and discovering there isn’t one ‘right’ way to relate.
The design for this series came from three very different couples, with long histories of relating through differences in very different ways. It makes the design sturdy for very different types of relationships and couples. We hope you join us!
About Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell
Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell have been in relationship for about 15 years and have run a business together for the last dozen. They specialize in working with teams and couples, helping them clear up differences and get clear about where they want to go and what they want to create together. You can learn more about them and their company thrive! inc. at their website: www.thriveinc.com.
Susan has her B.S., M.A., Dip C., and is a Certified Martha Beck Coach. She has been a part of the Haven Institute Core Faculty for over twenty-two years, leading Come Alive, the Living Alive Phase I, and for the past three years the Couples Alive Series. CrisMarie, has her B.S., M.B.A, Dip C., and is Master Certified Martha Beck Coach. She also leads Come Alive, the Living Alive Phase I and the Couples Alive Series with Susan.
To Learn More or Register
The Haven Institute website at www.haven.ca
The series: http://www.haven.ca/programs/couples-alive-series.html
Couples Alive I: Foundation: http://www.haven.ca/programs/couples-alive-one.html
To Register: http://www.haven.ca/forms/registration/