Class Eight: July 22, 2020 “Wonder Couples: Into the Future!” How to take secure functioning principles and project them into your 5, 10, 15, 20, 50... year plan.
Opening exercise (JB): (7 minutes- 7:35-7:42)
Choose a way of being with each other that is comfortable and where you can hold the other person’s gaze. - Lovers pose, feet rubbing, facing-each other.
Settle into your partner’s gaze. In the same way that nothing in the natural world stays the same. Each time you look at your partner they have changed. See if your meditation can be noticing these moment to moment changes.
While your partner is always changing, a familiarity also grows between the two of you. A shared understanding that comes through sharing life together. In today’s class see if you can play with this idea of noticing the excitement of change AND taking comfort in the familiarity of knowing your partner over time.
Today, we turn towards the future. For those of you who were in our first class (it’s fine if you weren’t), you may recall the components of a secure functioning relationship. As I read this list see if you can both be present for your partner here and project some of these ideas out into the future.
You can either repeat these out loud to each other or you can hold each other's gaze and breathe and relax.
Components of a SF(J)),
I am here to protect our relationship and I will do that in both public and private.
I am here to learn your moods and states and I will help you to shift your moods and states.
I am here to eliminate threats to our relationships.
I am here for quick repair.
I am here for the many opportunities for us to rely deeply on each other.
I am here to become an expert on you.
I am here to play with you.
I am here to take good care of the safety and security of our relationship.
Content (CS starts and we switch off): (13 minutes- 7:42-7:55)
Tonight is the culmination of all the classes. You have all the skills and practices we have offered, hopefully you feel a bit more connected and hopeful and have some ideas of ways to keep building on your relationship. Last class we walked you through some concrete agreements to help you create the structure that will support you after class. Tonight we are going to encourage and support you in visioning and goal setting together.
Having a positive shared dream gives couples a focus and direction that helps us slog through the tough times. It gives us the reason to do the daily work, even when it sometimes feels too much or just pointless. It gives you the thing you are working toward and helps refocus everything toward that positive dreams.
Short term goals help us stay focused day to day. Short term is week or month or year to year. Having a garden this summer. Having date nights every week.
[Pause and have them hold in mind the short term]
Medium term goals help us stay grounded in our life right now and the purposes we are doing what we are doing. These are usually in the 2-10 year range, like going back to graduate school, planning a big trip, getting the kids through school.
[Pause and have them hold in mind the medium]
Long term goals are the vision for the life together and are 10-50 year plans. Retire to the Caribbean. Retire at 60 and live in a commune. Celebrate our grandkids. These help focus all our earlier work.
These three should be complimentary but not dependent on the other goals. They build toward that end goal.
[Pause and have them hold in long term]
Exercise: Bring a soft (nerf or similar) ball to class. (Send email) in advance.
[CS Leads] (40 minutes-7:55-8:35)
We are going to PLAY with goal setting together. Lots of couples get very serious when setting goals together and can have difficulty keeping the spark and the fun in the process. So we are going to lighten it up so that you don’t overthink or process things.
You will toss the ball back and forth (which keeps your body involved and prevents you from getting too stuck in your head. Each time you toss the ball, you will share one thing you want to do or achieve together. In response, you AGREE with what your partner shared (“YES!”) will ADD another thing you want to do to what your partner shared.
This is called “Yes, and…” and is borrowed from Improv.
When you see a successful improv skit (like SNL) you see people joining in a scene. For it to go well, you have to agree with the idea and then add to it “Yes and” because otherwise, the ideas stop and the scene comes to a screeching halt. Often in planning, we “No, but” our partners. They share an idea “Let’s climb Mt. Everest!” and in response, we offer all the reasons this is a bad idea.
Toss the ball back and forth between you, sharing something you want to do together. “Yes and” each other about what you want. “Yes, let’s go skydiving AND, let’s also remodel our kitchen.” “Yes, let’s remodel our kitchen, AND let’s save money for that big trip to Africa!”
Go back and forth until you can’t come up with any more things you want to do together.
Together, you are going to write down some goals. We are going to try and end up 3 things you want to make actual goals to achieve.
You might write down:
One practical and two fun. One short term, one medium term, one long term. These can be actual things you named or something that come up with while brainstorming.
Once you have list, the final instruction to pick one for your partner and then decide on one together.
Anyone want to share some of the goals? (J and C reflect what we saw-excitement, play, laughter….etc and base questions on that).
Now, with those three goals, come up with some ways you can support each other in achieving them: Write down or share one thing you will do in supporting your partner toward achieving them.
So, this is the beginning of a vision for the two of you. We hope you will take this and continue to have fun with them. Use them to guide the hard work. Continue to create and evaluate these goals on an ongoing basis.
Closing exercise: [CS Leads] (5 minutes-8:40-8:45)
Declarations: each spend a couple of minutes writing or thinking of a promise you intend to offer and keep to your partner.