At Connections Coffee House in Sangudo, Carol regularly arranges for musicians to perform evening shows. Naturally, there are wonderful songs filled with beautiful chords, and many of them are about relationships.
Most times, we have the extreme honour to host these talented people at our home – to provide them with accommodations and meals until they leave the next day. It is so interesting to hear their unique stories about their adventures, challenges, hopes, fears, and ways of coping in our world.
Recently, one of these talented professionals, David Newberry, shared with us that he likes to write his songs using an old hawk-shop, $20 guitar. He said he felt great reward by starting with a very imperfect tool, and a very imperfect group of strummed notes and words which seem to transform. They flow apart and then together. Notes are added in and taken out. Words are shifted, rhymed, and sometimes even created. It is time consuming, and even frustrating at times. Finally, through persistence and commitment, a comfortable and pleasing flow begins to emerge. The composition is changed and eventually it grows into a melody and song that just seems to feel right. When it feels right, really right; it is good, and it touches listeners in a deep visceral way.
David has experienced this many times, so he knows what to expect. He starts with a much bigger view, knowing that as he molds, bends, and shifts, the end result will be exceptional, possibly a classic.
Oohh, that’s magic, isn’t it? Where else in life can this be applied?
Or, since we’re talking deep visceral stuff, where in your life can you apply this? Your relationships maybe?
I reflect on my relationship with Carol. We’ve been married for 33 years, and the most recent 20+ years have been the most fabulous, joyous, rewarding and fun experience – a classic. I never dreamed a relationship could be like this. The first 10? Hmmm, we were definitely not what you would call “happily married”.
Yes, like most relationships, we started with the passion and romance and fairly-tale visions of what our lives together would be. After all, we were perfect together – or so we thought.
And then all of Carol’s weaknesses, flaws and imperfections started to show. And as I focused on those, more of them reared the ir heads. It seemed like a demonic creature had slipped into our kitchen and replaced the Rice Crispies with Ugly Pills. Fun to eat, but … Please note, I did not eat Rice Crispies, but Carol did.
If you could get into Carol’s head, she was thinking exactly the same kind of things about me. She thought a space ship had come over one night and sucked out my brains. She had a full roll of toilet-paper with my defects listed – written in small font.
This is the point where well over 50% of married couples decide to go their separate ways. I’m guessing the number would be much higher for intimate relationships without the marriage certificate.
This is really sad, because with persistence and commitment, and a collaborative willingness to bend the strings, shift the words, and add a new note or two, most of these relationships could be transformed into masterpieces. With the help of mentors or coaches, the transformation could be much easier, quicker, and rewarding.
What’s the relationship trick?
The score of the classical relationship song is really simple. However, playing it the first time or two is the difficult part. Like most things in life, the chords become much easier and more joyful with practice – conscious, consistent, and persistent practice.
What are the main chords to the relationship classic?
• G – Good vibes. How do you feel about each other – honestly? There must be some good feelings from the start – a commitment to a friendship to last a long, long time. It is really important to learn about each other and explore common interests, values, and beliefs, as well as the differences. This intimacy (knowing each other) is much more than sex. It is a good feeling while in each other’s presence.
• C – Common vision. As a couple, what do you want the relationship to look like, sound like, and feel like way out into the future – 10, 20, 50 years? The more clear this common vision is in both people’s minds and hearts; the more powerful it becomes. This is what can keep you going, even in those frustrating times.
• D – Dedication. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make this work? With good vibes and a common vision, both people must be willing to change some of their habitual ways of thinking, speaking, and acting. As small changes are made, magnanimous positive results will appear.
• A – Attitude. What attitude do you choose in each moment? It is a choice you get to make. Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?
• C sharp (sharp meaning intellingent) – Communicate, communicate, communicate. Success or failure is totally dependent on your ability to communicate in a way your partner understands, even if it is not your normal style.
• B – Bigger than you. How can you get out of your own lives and do something for someone else? I’m not meaning to donate money, although that’s valuable too. I’m referring to time and effort to volunteer, help, support, or any task that puts the attention and intention on someone or something outside of yourselves.
I invite you to play these over and over, until they become habit. How well do they work for you?
Just like the musicians, I’m curious to know about your adventures, challenges, hopes, fears, and ways of coping in our world, especially in your relationships.