START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Stimulating Understanding in Your Relationship

Stimulating Understanding in Your Relationship

“A man doesn’t learn to understand anything unless he loves it.” Goethe

There is a guy banging his head against a brick wall. When asked why he is banging his head against the brick wall, he pauses and says because “it feels so good when I stop.” It is a silly story of truth for millions. We continue to bang our heads against the same brick walls, partly because it feels good when we stop, but also because we don’t know how to do it differently. More often than not, our response to life stimulus remains the same. In order for any stimulus to really move us into a new place we have to learn how to think in a new way and risk giving up the old brick wall.

In one of my favorite reads of late, Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert gives a thorough understanding of the way we are fooled not just by our memory of what has happened, but also by our imagination when we project what will happen in the future and how we will feel about it. We humans don’t really learn from each other. Whether it is planning to have a child or starting a new business, we simply refuse to believe that other people’s experience will inform our own. I remember distinctly the advice I got from another local small business owner when I was starting out and I was convinced at the time that my experience would be different. Same for parenting; questions answered from more experienced parents just sounded jaded; little did I know how soon my own responses would resemble theirs.

The reason that we can’t learn from other’s experience is because it is the experience itself which is the teacher. We retain less than 5 percent of what we are told, (lecturers take note), 10 percent of what we read, 30 percent of what we are shown, but what we teach we actually own. This of course begs the question; what is the point of education–to learn or to teach? As far as life lessons go, the answer is one and the same. Our education in life is at once student and teacher. This too is the rub, for how do we expand our capacity to imagine and re-think our life and relationships in a new way, when our personal experience is not broad enough to help us out of where we are stuck?

Learning is a two step process–discovery and mastery. We all have innate capacity for both. Keeping our capacity for discovery is one key to lifelong learning and the ability to make different choices with the same stimulus. Children have a penchant for discovery: that is what their days are about. Adults can lose sight of this part of the learning process as they strive for mastery in their life, which is the other half of learning. Mastery is essential; it is where our experience teaches both ourselves and others. It builds our sense of self and as adults defines our identity. But without the openness to discovery, mastery can turn into a short walk to a brick wall. In relationships it often looks like how we leave. Love demands that we continuously discover the other and our relationship over and over again.

President Obama was quoted recently on what keeps his relationship with his wife so vital. “Sometimes when we’re lying together, I look at her and I feel dizzy with the realization that here is another distinct person from me, who has memories, origins, thoughts, feelings that are different from my own. That tension between familiarity and mystery meshes something strong between us. Even if one builds a life together based on trust, attentiveness and mutual support, I think that it is important that a partner continues to surprise.” Recognizing the mystery that exists in every relationship is another way of defining a learning life.

It is true that we don’t really understand anything until we love it, which is the continuous dance between discovery and mastery in the hours we spend at what matters most to us.

Wendy Strgar is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. Wendy helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. As her online presence continues to grow, Wendy has become a trusted and respected source of information on lasting and healthy relationships. “I feel like I am inventing a language to give intimacy back to the people, take the fear away and open a space for physical love to serve as the glue that holds relationships together.” Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.

Read more: Love, Making Love Sustainable, Relationships, Sex, , , , , , ,

By Wendy Strgar

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

8 comments

+ add your own
12:30PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

4:45PM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

Some of us would believe that stability and consistency are the cherished goals of any relationship whereas I should think that it is consistent attempts at strengthening is what work wonders. This does not mean that we overwhelm our partners with what we think that they would appreciate but what we observe what pleases the other and bring it out in our interaction with our partners with a variety and some interjections of our own ideas and thus create the 'pleasant surprises'.

Use a Wedding Planner

6:40PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

Fantastically well put

9:47AM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

That continuous discovery of another person is one of the greatest delights in any relationship.

7:46PM PDT on Jun 29, 2009

nice nice very nice. thanks

7:11AM PDT on Jun 29, 2009

DEAR ALL...
In order for any stimulus to really move us into a new place we have to learn how to think in a new way and risk giving up the old brick wall.
THESE ARE SUCH WISE WORDS...
BEST WISHES...
GERSHON...


4:42AM PDT on Jun 27, 2009

thanks x

4:40AM PDT on Jun 27, 2009

The distinction which enmeshes within perhaps is the best mushy mush between two people - I feel that when one consciously tries, with a view to 'pleasantly surprise' the other every once in a while, foundations of a relationship derive not only renewed strength but also alter its dynamics totally and positively.

Some of us would believe that stability and consistency are the cherished goals of any relationship whereas I should think that it is consistent attempts at strengthening is what work wonders. This does not mean that we overwhelm our partners with what we think that they would appreciate but what we observe what pleases the other and bring it out in our interaction with our partners with a variety and some interjections of our own ideas and thus create the 'pleasant surprises'.

I should like to term this as working at a relationship.

Wendy - many thanks for so eloquently making the distinction between discovery and mastery which are two different facets of the same process, learning, for learning also involves teaching and vice versa which both require mastery and, if I may add, patience.

As regards learning from other peoples' experience, I have never heard people witessing or hearing of a catastrophe and continuing to believe that they are immune to it or similar occurrences.

Many thanks for sharing your wonderful insight into relationships.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I don't usually like the taste of pumpkin...however, I have recently been converted to pumpkin pie, …

The vitamin A in pumpkin is actually betacarotene which needs to be converted into retinol and that …

I use thin slices of grilled eggplant instead of noodles but other than that your recipe sounds very…

We lived on a farm and there were feral cats dumped on us all the time. There was a group of them li…

CONTACT THE EDITORS



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.