By Chandrama Anderson
Couples: The ABCs of LoveUploaded: Feb 23, 2018
I came across a new book for you to read. Whether you are just starting out together or have been a couple for a while, whether you are doing well or struggling, The ABCs of Love by Dr. Diana Shulman is for you.
Based on the research the Gottmans (of the Love Lab in Seattle who have been researching couples for four decades) and the work of Sue Johnson of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the book is a combination of education, neuroscience, practical exercises and stories from Diana’s own relationship. She’s brave enough to share her past—normalizing the struggles couples have, including her failed marriages.
A is about Attachment, which I’ve been writing to you about for the last few years. Remember the Island, Wave and Anchor (Dr. Stan Tatkin’s words)? Your goal is to be anchors for each other. Based on your family of origin you’re somewhere on the spectrum between Wave to Island. Being anchors means having each other’s back, providing comfort, sex, attunement, respect, fun, and being each other’s primary go-to person no matter what happens.
C is for Cycle of Conflict. You know yours; and you want to do better, right? Diana explains how to change it.
I is for Interest and Inquiry: staying up to date in each others’ lives when you’re busy with kids, work, and so on. You need to be primary to each other, even above your kids; it makes a safe and secure haven for them, too.
K is for Kindness, which you’ve read about here, too. It’s the small things you do every day for each other that add up to intimacy (not sex) and make you close. Loss of connection is what ultimately kills relationships.
S is of course for Sex. Hot, warm and in between. This is one of the longer chapters and well done. Intimate sex goes much deeper (pun intended) than physical release sex. It’s also vulnerable and amazing.
T is for therapy. When to know it’s time to get help from an unbiased, specially trained therapist who can help you change your behavior, understand the root causes and get back on track. Please don’t be the statistic of couples who wait six years before seeking help! It takes so much longer to recover when you wait. Reaching for help is smart; not weak. When you’re ill you go to the doctor, you go to exercise to be strong physically, and you go to trainings and school to learn skills. This is no different than that.
V is for Vows, Values and Vision. Diana lists values and maybe you can add to them. Dr. Tatkin calls it a social contract; I call it a constitution for your relationship, which is the foundation for all decisions you make in your marriage. It’s just like our country’s constitution: if it fits those it’s a go, if not, then no. Keeps you from affairs, poor choices, growing apart, etc. Take it seriously.
Z is for Zest. Having fun and keeping things fresh, adventuresome and facing things head on.
So go ahead and “learn how couples rekindle desire and get happy again.”
Let me know what you think of Diana’s book.