Forgiveness is deliberately choosing to forgive, then replacing actions of alienation with actions of caring. Before it can happen, each person has to come to terms with thoughts, feelings, concerns and desires. Then there is a decision: I will forgive or I will seek forgiveness. Words follow. These words represent the choice to take the stones down from around your heart so love can flow again. Forgiveness is a choice to be healed of the inevitable and regrettable hurts of human living. Once the forgiveness choice is made, it is put into action by choosing to act in loving ways. These loving actions, immediately and over time, restore the relationships–often bringing it to a new level of commitment and care. (from Mastering the Mysteries of Love participant book, page 98)
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Mastering the Mysteries of Love (MML), co-authored by Dr. Bernard G. Guerney, Jr., and Mary Ortwein, M.S., is a version of Relationship Enhancement first developed by Dr. Guerney in the 1960s. RE/MML teaches 10 key couple communication skills helping couples to speak and listen to each other with greater care and empathy to enhance their relationship and to successfully address and solve problems. Click here to see a 1-page: Summary Sheet of the 10 MML Skills
(To see a listing of MML classes and leader trainings in your area, go to http://www.relationshipsca.org. For more on MML, visit www.skillswork.org).This blog is designed to be a resource for dialogue, instruction, guidance, and discussion on all things MML in California! We’re here to serve YOU in your MML needs!
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Click the various tabs and links — explore this site! Post messages, ask questions, and share insights and inspirations of your experiences using the MML skills in your life, and if you’re an MML facilitator, of the power of teaching the MML skills to others.Again, thanks for logging in to our blog! Visit MMLSkills.com often!!
Bento Leal, Blogmaster for “MML Skills in California”, Certified MML Trainer, and MML Implementation Specialist for Healthy Relationships California
How about spending some Quality Time together as a couple! Here are some great “Time for Us Ideas”:
- Weekly Date – set aside a time each week to “date.” Stay home with a movie or go out. Take a walk of talk over a cup of tea or coffee.
- Talk Time – set aside a time each day to talk about the day and Show Understanding (listen empathically) to each other.
- Greeting Rituals – make a point to greet each other when you come home, and say goodbye when you leave.
Try 1 or more of them! These simple acts of love can make a world of difference in your marriage or relationship.
Empathic Listening is listening in such a sincere and focused way that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, try to understand what they’re saying from their point of view, feeling their feelings. You forget about yourself and are focused totally on them. In MML, this is called “Showing Understanding Skill.” Learn it and practice it daily to improve your marriage and all your relationships — and even more fundamentally, IMPROVE YOURSELF while practicing it!
Dr. Barry Ginsberg says, “Empathic listening/responding is the core skill. When couples practice this over time, they begin naturally to tune into their partners feelings before they even begin to think about their own perspective. It has a way of undermining our usual and typical non-conscious quick defensive responding. If we really grasp the underlying feeling motivations, no matter the subject, it would be hard to respond defensively. I think that it’s best to listen to the underlying feeling more than what it’s about.”
Today is a Great Day to simply tell your spouse “I appreciate you!” But more than that, express a Partner Appreciation to him/her, and tell them why. For example, “Honey, I really appreciate you for the great meals you make, like the lovely dinner you made tonite” or “I appreciate you for all the work you do for our family” or “I appreciate you for praying together with me each day.” Simple appreciations, with the reasons why you feel that way, really boost the other person, and build and strengthen the foundation of your relationship so that it will grow and grow for years to come! Give a Partner Appreciation Today!
Go to www.RelationshipsCA.org and click on “classes & trainings”, then scroll down to find an MML class near you. Attending an MML class is one of the best GIFTS you can give to yourself and your marriage! Learning and practicing communication skills unlocks doors to deeper understanding, empathy, and love.
Have you had a burning issue on your mind and suddenly started talking to your spouse about it only to find that they weren’t ready to hear it and you felt even more frustrated, perhaps angry at their unwillingness to listen to you right then and there? Here’s some key advice: Discussions with your spouse work better when you both agree to have them. Then each of you can be ready, instead of being caught off guard. You can think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Try to find a time and place to talk without interruptions. If you have small children, you may want to find a baby-sitter. When both of you are ready to discuss, and do so with speaking and listening skills, you have a better chance of the discussion, even on a problem issue, going well.
Here’s what Barack Obama wrote in 2006. Hopefully, he’ll promote Marriage Education during his presidency:
…Finally, preliminary research shows that marriage education workshops can make a real difference in helping married couples stay together and in encouraging unmarried couples who are living together to form a more lasting bond. Expanding access to such services to low income couples, perhaps in concert with job training and placement, medical coverage, and other services already available, should be something everybody can agree on.”
From his book, Audacity of Hope, 2006, p. 334
Click on the “demo-call” link below to hear an audio sample of an MML Skills Coaching by Phone session (13 minutes). You will hear a couple having a dialogue on a topic of their choosing with a coach by phone helping the couple stay in skill during their dialogue. Then please enter your comments of how you think the session went. If you have any questions of this kind of skills coaching by phone, please contact Don or Alex(andra) Flecky at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Thanks!
Click here: demo-call-by-bento-and-don-and-alex-13-min
Several couples have reported that these coaching calls by phone helped them to REALLY understand and use the skills and quite literally “bring the skills home.”
- Put your own thoughts and feelings on hold.
- Pay close attention to what your partner is saying through words and body language.
- Show with your body that you want to hear what your partner says.
- Listen with an open mind and an open heart.
This is the first skill of MML and actually the foundation of effective communication. The skill of empathy is listening keenly, with a focused heart and mind, on the words that the other person is saying to you. But it is more than that. It is listening for the feelings underneath the words–especially those that are unexpressed–for that is the place from which the words came. If we listen for feelings, and not simply for the words that were spoken, then we have a greater likelihood of understanding what our partner–the other person–is really trying to communicate, express, and the more deeply we can empathize with them. Indeed, listening with such empathy is truly an act of love — and the person being listened to feels it.
- Have you listened to someone with such empathy — if so, what was that like?
- Can you recall someone listening to you with such empathy — if so, what did that feel like to you?
- Please post your comments here! (Click on the word “Comments” underneath this article).