My guest this week is Linda Carroll, author of the recent book, Love Skills: The Keys to Unlocking Lasting, Wholehearted Love (affiliate link). This is an important conversation for any time, and it may be especially important now as so many of us are social distancing on the one hand but are also with our partners 24/7. This can be great, and also presents challenges, and opportunities to work together toward a stronger union.
Linda and I discussed things like how our adult relationships can trigger painful experiences from childhood, and whether happy couples generally resolve all their issues (spoiler alert: they don’t, but they do figure out more effective ways to talk about them). Maybe the most important thing from this episode is the power in recognizing the stories we tell ourselves when we’re upset with our partner, and how questioning those stories puts us in a much stronger position to have a harmonious relationship.
Other issues we discussed included:
- The problem with how couples often handle their disagreements
- Getting triggered in current relationships based on experiences from our childhood
- The need for communication skills in an ongoing loving relationship
- The challenge of seeing out of the fantasy of permanent bliss in early love
- The unreliability of our feelings in guiding our relationship behavior
- Our tendency to choose partners who bring out our most vulnerable parts
- Inquiring within ourselves about our big reactions to small things to better understand ourselves
- The “Melting Hug” meditation, which bypasses words
- Effective ways to handle sexual “desire discrepancy” in couples
- Seeing our differences in relationships as interesting instead of threatening
- The crucial role of generosity in long-term romantic relationships
I hope you find this discussion useful for your own relationship.
Linda Carroll, MS, LMFT, BCC, has worked as a therapist and couples coach for over three decades, and has earned numerous degrees and certificates along the way. In addition to Love Skills she’s also the author of Love Cycles: The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love (affiliate link). Linda says that her own 35-year marriage is the primary source of her knowledge when it comes to the cycles of love. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon.