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Archive for March, 2014

The Positive Perspective

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014 by Sanctuary staff

by Darcy Hakkarainen

In the last several newsletters I have been sharing concepts about strengthening marriages that have emerged in the 35+ years of research conducted on relationships by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. This research led to the creation of the Sound Relationship House Theory that offers guidelines for increasing marital satisfaction by focusing on seven levels of the house.  The foundation of the house, on which all else stands, is Love Maps, knowing your partner by having a map of their internal psychological world.  This is a foundation of friendship.  The second level, built on the first, is the Fondness and Admiration System, which is the communication of affection and respect.  In the last newsletter I wrote about the third level, which is making “bids” for emotional connection and responding to those bids to fill up the emotional bank account of the relationship.

The fourth level of the house describes the Positive Perspective of a relationship, “which means having faith in your relationship and giving your partner the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong,” (p. 17 Bringing Baby Home Couples Workbook).  In some ways, if you have faithfully built the first three levels of the Sound Relationship House, this level happens fairly naturally.  When I am feeling emotionally connected, supported and understood in my relationship with my husband then all interactions get “filtered” through this positive lens. I assume the best. If he is “short” in his tone with me I might think, “he had a hard day” instead of “he is rude” or “being a jerk.”

Training your mind to look for the positive and then expressing it as ahabit of actions is helpful in building and maintaining a positive perspective of your relationship.  Additionally, sharing joys and using positive humor as well as demonstrating concern, care, interest, appreciation and making time to connect emotionally daily are other ways to foster the positive perspective in your marriage.

Image courtesy of tungphoto /

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A Language of Life

Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 by Sanctuary staff

by Carrie Barnes

There are only a handful of books that I am so thankful for and passionate about sharing that I choose to buy multiples and give them away. “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. is one of them.  An international speaker, teacher and mediator, he outlines a way of communicating honestly and kindly from the heart.  This style of communication teaches us how to overcome painful cultural barriers, relate more easily with intimate friends and family members in our lives, navigate tricky or frustrating scenarios with co-workers and managers, understand our own needs and desires better, and even traverse rough political conflicts with perfect strangers.  I want to share with you a brief introduction from the book itself:

“NVC is founded on language and communication skills that strengthen our ability to remain human, even under trying conditions.  It contains nothing new; all that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries.  The intent is to remind us about what we already know–about how we humans are meant to relate to one another–and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.  NVC guides us in reframing how we express ourselves and hear others.  Instead of being habitual, automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based firmly on an awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling, and wanting.  We are led to express ourselves with honesty and clarity, while simultaneously paying others a respectful and empathic attention.  In any exchange, we come to hear our own deeper needs and those of others.  NVC trains us to observe carefully, and to be able to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us.   We learn to identify and clearly articulate what we are concretely wanting in a given situation.  The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.  As NVC replaces old patterns of defending, withdrawing, or attacking in the face of judgment and criticism, we come to perceive ourselves and others, as well as our intentions and relationships, in a new light.”

This is a book worth reading, practicing and sharing!  It comes highly recommended by such people as Arun Ghandi, Deepak Chopra, John Gray, and Jack Canfield, just to name a few.  If employed for compassion’s sake, it will change your relationships… It will change you.  You can find more information and other helpful books at  Over the next few newsletters, look for brief summaries of the four components of NVC: observation; feeling; needs; and request.

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