Sometimes our most intimate relationships are our most challenging.  Seen another way, these relationships can be the “practice field” for some of our deepest learning.

A couple had recently read The Power of TED* together and were both excited and challenged in applying TED* within their marriage.  They admitted that, over the years, they had fallen into a pattern in which much of their time and energy seemed to be focused on what bothered them about the other and how they wanted the other to change.  And, yet, even as they shared this concern, it was clear that love and care smoldered inside the relationship and they both desired to rekindle the flame.  They were ready to make the shift from a Victim to a Creator Orientation as the basis for their partnership.

And then they asked the key question: “When we’ve made the shift to a Creator Orientation and our marriage is centered in TED*, how will we know it?”

In exploring their answer to their question, the following emerged:

  • Our conversations will focus on what we want want to create in our lives and in our relationship – individually and together.
  • We will acknowledge and express appreciation for what we love about one another and our relationship.
  • We will see and hold each other as a Creator and, in support of one another, cultivate our own capablities to be a Challenger (when called for) and a Coach (when asked to, or when the offer to be one is accepted).
  • When we disagree or find ourselves falling back into a Victim Orientation or the Dreaded Drama Triangle, we will seek to say and ask ourselves: “Time Out!  Where are we? And where do we want to be?”

What a wonderful vision!  While all the parts of the vision are important, the last is very critical.  Why? Because the way forward is not always continuous progress.  There will be times in which stress and breakdowns occur.  There will be steps forward and steps back.  However, the agreement to check in and ask those vital questions provides the process for refocusing and recentering,

By putting these agreements into practice, over time the marriage will become more firmly and consistently rooted in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) – and the flame rekindled.