Resolve and Intent In Relationship
Naked Talk is a live, open discussion where Dan and Elizabeth explore topics related to sexuality, intimacy and relationship. Where else can you have straight, honest conversations about subjects some may consider taboo?
0:05 Elizabeth Wood (EW): Hi, and welcome to tonight’s version of Naked Talk. I’m Elizabeth Wood.
0:09 Dan Powers (DP): And I’m Dan Powers with Beyond the Bedroom.
0:11 EW: Naked Talk is where we get naked in a conversation of sexuality, intimacy and relationship. We strip down and expose the bare facts so that you can learn what it takes for your love to thrive.
0:28 DP: So we’re really excited to be here tonight. Its the first episode of the new year and we kind of took a little bit of December of to really get our ducks in order and we really didn’t do that so well but we are here again and we changed our format a little bit. Where it used to be an hour-long show, we’re moving to more of a thirty-minute kind of show. And so we hope you like it, we hope people are going to respond to this so we’ll see.
1:00 EW: We figure power-packed is– might keep everybody’s attention a little bit longer. So today we’re going to be talking about intention and resolution and, actually, how quite odd I think that is. So I did some statistics and I’m gonna read, put the glasses on, I’m gonna read a few. So this was based on a study of Americans and 45% of us actually go ahead and make New Year’s resolutions. Of those 45%, only 8% are successful in meeting whatever resolution or intent they set for themselves.
1:40 DP: Right we hear all the time people talking about, “Oh I’m gonna lose weight”, or, “I’m gonna be a better lover with my husband or wife”.
1:48 EW: And they put a number to that. 31% of those making resolutions actually made them based on some type of relationship intent that they have and that’s definitely what interested Dan and I. But I want to keep going with my stats– of those 8%, 46% of us keep going with those resolutions for six months or more. So in a randoms sample of a hundred people, OK 8% of that is eight people, 46% of that actually equates to, roughly, 3.6 out of every one hundred people are still holding strong with their resolutions after six months. So what I found, sort of, interesting and… was that the word intention was in there and the word resolution was in there so I dove a little bit deeper to find out what the meaning of those words are. So intention means I intend to do something, I’m going to do something, I’m actually planning or potentially going out of my way and I want everybody to keep their focus on the fact that 31% of those in the survey or in the study said that their intentions and resolutions are based on their relationship. So hmmm…
3:12 DP: Which is not a bad thing, but…
3:14 EW: No it’s not a bad thing, but let’s be honest, like, 31% of us are intending to do something different in our relationships or going out of our way to, perhaps, I would assume that they are going to look to improve or do something better. On that one day of the year and with those numbers that fail, I looked further. Resolution is we’re going to resolve something; we’re going to be determined, you know, like that weight-loss goal. We’re gonna be determined, we’re gonna deal with it. Resolve– re and then solve, something that might be going on. So what Dan and I, what we’re looking at, was what can we do to help our audience, you, learn a different strategy that potentially could be more successful than roughly 3.6 out of every one hundred Americans who might make it past that six-month goal. Another thing that I thought was interesting was why are we only working hard on our relationships at the dawn of a new year, at whatever holiday tradition you celebrate; new year’s eve, anniversaries, birthdays, valentine’s days, why are we choosing only those particular periods throughout the year to actually make good on our relationship Quodoushka
4:35 DP: Well, and there was a stat in there just, in general make new year’s– or resolutions on the new year. Was there…
4:42 EW: Yeah, that’s my- 45% of Americans make them.
4:46 DP: Make a resolution, OK, good. And one thing for me is I don’t, typically, like making resolutions anyway. You know, when something comes up that I realize that I want to change and focus on, I make that resolution right then and there and I understand the beginning of the new year is a way for people to, kind of, pick a moment in time to do something like that but I think that if something’s not working, you should work on it immediately.
5:13 EW: Yeah, and the new year is a time where most people make and set goals. It’s like, that’s shocking to me that people have to make or set a goal to be better in relationships. So we’re gonna talk about some strategies that we might be able to employ everyday. Most of the studies that come out, in terms of the most successful couples and relationship, are based on things that we practice, if not daily, we’re certainly aware and we make these, they’re not even attempts, we make strides to do this on a very, very frequent basis. So Dan and I have talked a lot about this particular researcher, his name is John Gottman, G-O-T-T-M-A-N, and he’s actually been studying what helps determine, from actually a scientific point of view– could he find something that determined who would be more successful in relationship than another couple that wasn’t. And there’s actually a five to one ratio of– the more positive we are, in terms of the attributes that we see in our partner, or that we express to our partner, it’s a five to one ratio that he saw in couples that he saw that reported long-term happiness and success and, to us, that would be couples that are “thriving”.
6:50 DP: Right, and actually in that study, I believe, what they did was they accessed these couples at one point in time and then they caught up with what they were doing six years later of what they were doing and from that he was able to pretty accurately describe or estimate if they were going to be together, or if other couples were gonna be together, based on the way they respond to their partner. So if somebody, for example, walks into the room and wants their attention, says, “Hey, did you see the sun rise? Isn’t this beautiful?” And the partner, you know, ignores them or does, “Yeah, I don’t care”, or makes a negative comment as well, then that was one of the indicators that said that these people are not going to be together in the future.
7:40 EW: So what Gottman actually calls that is a bid for attention, a bid for intimacy. So let’s just pretend that it’s you and I, and Dan comes in and he notices that there’s a beautiful sunset and, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve seen them all”, or, you know, “Don’t– you’re interrupting me.”
7:59 DP: “I’m watching TV”, or, “I’m texting on my phone.”
8:01 EW: Yeah, that’s– I’m not responding positively to him, to that bid for connection or intimacy what they found was those couples that they responded more positively, like, “Oh–”
8:14 DP: They turned towards
8:15 EW: Turned towards each other. Like, “Oh, let me go see it. I’ll be right there. Oh, shoot, did I miss it?” Anything like that, those were positive, sort of, leaning in to the…
8:28 DP: The relationship itself.
8:29 EW: Yeah, the relationship itself. So the studies showed that that’s actually what couples were doing and that was a measure of success. So, hold on, so let me tell you a little bit more about John Gottman and his wife Julie. Julie is a psychologist, also. They’re from New York City and they’re renowned relationship experts on marital stability and they run the Gottman institute. Anyway, we agree with so much of what they do, in terms of helping couples build and maintain healthy and loving relationships. So what they also showed, that all of these different things created a level of intimacy and trust and a bond between the pair. Actually, it’s all really, pretty much, about comfort. Like, comfort in the relationship. If I continue to bid for Dan’s attention or intimacy and I keep getting rebuffed, I’m gonna move away from that relationship and, over time, it’s gonna cause resentment and harm.
9:36 DP: Yeah, and we’re not saying that somebody comes in and you’re in the middle of working and they come in and they want that attention, that they’re gonna take that attention for the whole time– excuse me– it’s really, you know, little, simple, quick blurbs of, “Hey, come check this out, I want to share something with you”, and it’s the two of you sharing something together that is causing that more intimate connection with each other, versus somebody that walks in and they’re just completely ignored or they’re rebuffed then who’s gonna want to stay in a relationship like that? The more negative feedback we get, we typically will walk away in favor of the feedback that’s a more positive kind of thing. You know, one of the things they say is you get– catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.
10:23 EW: Yeah, that’s absolutely, yeah…
10:24 DP: Or something…
10:24 EW: Well that’s a good one. So they actually put a number to this as well. Those couples that they studied, those that were successful over time– 87% of the time, one or the other– the other partner responded to that bid to intimacy or connection, they called it a bid, or that request for intimacy, 87%. They found that those couples that actually broke apart or were just surviving, that’s another word that we often use, just surviving in their relationships, they only were positively connecting to their partner’s bid 33% of the time, so it’s actually quite a difference.
11:13 DP: So it’s a pretty simple thing to do. If your partner comes in and, one of the things I would say is also, if your partner’s head’s down into something that requires a lot of concentration, that really does into break into thought processes. I mean, it’s really difficult to–
11:31 EW: It does for the men, I do it a lot.
11:33 DP: Yeah.
11:33 EW: You make sure you’re not interrupting him.
11:36 DP: Yeah. Because it–
11:36 EW: You know, or her.
11:37 DP: It takes out. When you’re really focused like that– I’ve seen some statistics that say it takes 15-20 minutes for a person to really get back into that zone of concentration or what it was that they were doing.
11:49 EW: Especially if they’re men. As women, we’re more of multitaskers, aren’t we ladies? But nonetheless, it’s really important to, if you’re going to make a request for that intimacy, or what Gottman calls a “bid”, make sure your partner isn’t diving deep into their taxes or about to make a really important phone call to someone. You know, pay attention to where he or she is at, that’s actually a really good point too. And, Dan earlier said, “It’s about sharing news or information with your partner”, it was actually something that they, also, noted that when your partner comes in to share good news, how do you respond to that good news? Like, “Oh, hey, you wouldn’t believe what just happened to me at work?” “Yeah, yeah, I’m busy”, or, “Hmm, what?” That’s not a good way to respond. Or, “Hmm, well why don’t you tell me what happened to you and I’ll tell you what happened to me.” Those types of responses weren’t good for the long-term health of the relationship, either. So when a partner comes in with good news, do we help them celebrate it, are we neutral, or, oh my goodness, are we passive aggressive and actually more negative towards them? That actually was an indicator of long-term success.
13:10 DP: And it doesn’t really have to be something that you’re super duper excited about. Like I’ll come in, this happened recently, we got a twelve-inch dump of snow on the hill and I know that she doesn’t really care about that and I came down and I was really excited and she shared that excitement with me. So it was really valuable.
13:28 EW: Oh yeah, so I’ll tell you what he did people, he stuck a ruler on the snow bank that was on the– what was it on, the banister?– and I was like, “What a mad scientist?” I mean, he’s nuts, of course he would go out there and stick a ruler in it, but what I did was, I know how excited he gets about– I thought you were gonna say something negative, but I’m glad I won on this one, it was one of my more positive responses, I leaned in– so what I did was, I celebrated with him, because he’s big skier, but I also then went ahead and had a little fun, myself, and posted it on Facebook because that’s like his “geeky” snow guy coming out and we actually had a lot of fun around that so… Oh that’s a good thing in terms of the long-term health of our relationship.
14:15 DP: Well, and it also helps to listen because that actually wasn’t what I was talking about.
14:18 EW: What were you talking about?
14:18 DP: I was talking about the twelve inches we got up in the mountains. That one with the ruler was only the eight-inch thing.
14:25 EW: Oh! It does pay attention, to be alert to which story he’s telling, but, yes, I was excited about that one too. Because he had a great ski day. So, lastly, let’s talk about just simple kindness in relationship and how potent that can be. We don’t often think, I mean, in relationship when there’s, like, day-to-day things going on and the laundry and the phone calls and the bills–
14:53 DP: Stress
14:53 EW: Stress. We actually aren’t always that kind to our partner. Yet, invite a third person in, let’s just say your mother, or mother-in-law you’re visiting, and you are so kind to her, you’re so kind to your partner when somebody else is around; why do we not do more of that? Because the kindness that is expressed between partners in a relationship is yet a third indication of their long-term health, longevity and thrivability, if that’s a word. So simple acts of kindness, simple words of kindness. Again, it might go back to that five to one ratio. If you’re going to say something negative, like you’re upset that he doesn’t put the toilet seat down, instead of saying, “You never do this”, maybe you could do this, “You know, it’s now twice, at night, in the middle of the dark that I went in to use the toilet and I fell in.” You know, you say, like, “So I would really appreciate it if you just spent a little bit more thought.” It’s also in the way, that, you catch more flies with honey– what did you say?
16:03 DP: Catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
16:04 EW: Catch more flies with honey– if you say it nicely or kindly, you can then offer your partner an opportunity to win. Like, “Oh I’m so sorry, I was so sleepy when I did that.” Whatever it is, but it’s less negative, if that’s a word, than laying blame.
16:20 DP: Yeah. Well, and we’ve talked a lot in the past about different communication styles. One is the non-violent communication, here you talk about the impact that it has on you. The toilet seat, for example; it’s really frustrating to go to the bathroom as a woman, I would imagine, and sit down on the toilet seat and, you know, fall in, get your butt wet, it’s one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock– whatever it is, you’re half-asleep and that’s actually gonna wake up the whole house, because I know with her screaming, I can’t even sleep through that, so it’s a good thing to try to work that out. Now if I feel like I’m getting blamed every time I do that, then I’m gonna start to get frustrated and I’m gonna start to build up resentments. Where, as if she comes to me and says, “Look, let’s make this a team effort to work on this, because here’s what’s going on for me and why it’s so frustrating and maybe we can work something out.” It doesn’t mean that I always have to put the seat down and maybe there’s something that we do that works out for the both of us and whatever it is and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head for it…
17:24 EW: Well, typically, I mean, in a scenario like that, if you have a second bathroom, maybe if that happens and he’s just way too sleepy every time he gets up and uses the toilet, perhaps think about going in the other bathroom that you know the toilet seat is always gonna be down.
17:43 DP: Yeah, and it’s a negotiation. You know, it’s really being able to work with your partner in a way that is gonna work for the two of you. But the real key to this, and I think the point that we’re trying to make is, if you come at them from such a negative perspective, that’s gonna start to build up a wall and the three things that we’ve talked about so far are gonna continuously build up these walls to the point where partner’s not gonna want to be with each other any more, you’re not gonna want to interact with each other and I’ve seen so many couples that when they do finally get divorced, they are so angry and bitter with each other and I know that a large portion of it is a lot of these little built-up resentment kind of things that if they were able to sit back and say, “Wait a minute, let me work together as a partnership with this.” And it may be that your partnership still won’t work out, there are– you go off in different directions, that happens, but is there a reason that you have to be so negative with each other? I don’t think so.
18:44 EW: So these– So I think if we can implore– is that a right word? OK. If we can implore on you– no, impart on you our wisdom, that’s the word I was looking for.
18:56 DP: Implore is a word.
18:57 EW: I know. So the importance of kindness and leaning in to the bids for affection, intimacy, attention and saying, you know, like, rule of thumb: if there is a negative experience, then five to one, that rule, then look for things that are wins for your partner. “Thank you so much, actually, for shoveling the driveway all those times that you did in the eight, ten, twelve inches of snow.” Look for ways to thank your partner, to be kind to your partner, perhaps have a warm bath running or a hot shower or warm the towels or at least something hot to drink when coming in from that, you know, heavy duty grunge work. You know, also want to express that some people are more kind, by nature, than others. Kindness is actually a muscle.
19:58 DP: Wait a minute, I think I was slammed on that.
19:59 EW: No. Kindness is actually a muscles so if that’s not something that’s innate to you, it’s just like any other muscle; the more you practice and you exercise it, the more second nature it becomes, so you can teach an old dog new tricks.
20:19 DP: I’m getting there.
20:20 EW: He’s a very kind person.
20:20 DP: But there’s– that is true. There are things that I just take for granted. Like she does the laundry. I hate doing laundry and she does it all the time and I continuously forget to acknowledge her for that, and it’s so simple. All I have to do is say, “Hey, thank you for taking care of the laundry. You do it all the time and, just, I appreciate that.” It’s that simple and I forget. So it’s something that I need to work on for myself because I want to and I think it’ll help our relationship in the long-term because those walls won’t be built-up over time, because she won’t have that resentment.
20:58 EW: And, so, although it may seem like the most foreign thing, looking for ways to go out of your way for your partner, to express words of kindness, words of kindness, that really, really will be that solidifying glue and that bond that keeps you thriving for all the years to come. You know, and we’re not so naive as to say that we don’t think other couples don’t have difficulties because obviously we have some, not obviously, but we have– we’re a very real couple; we have bumps in the road, we have hiccoughs too, just like every other normal partnership. But what we do, is we really look to ways to be kind, even if we are having, like, a squabble. I think that we do really well at, “Hey this is how that lack of follow-through effected me”, rather than blaming him or blaming me. “This is what happens when you constantly interrupt me; I lose my train of thought and then I have to back track and then I lose time for ten or fifteen minutes.” So I really do, actually, ask if it’s, I do t his more than I ever did, I ask if it’s a good time to talk or I will–
22:16 DP: She’ll raise her hand sometimes.
22:17 EW: I do raise my hand sometimes.
22:18 DP: It’s pretty funny.
22:19 EW: Or I’ll say, “Can you let me know when a good time to talk is?” so that I know I’m not interrupting, he can wrap up whatever he might be doing and not feel that urgent need to respond to me immediately and drop everything else. I think that that’s worked really well for us and our relationship. So some of them might seem like really simple tips, some of them might seem like really difficult ones or some people in our audience we don’t know. What we’re asking is just give it a try every single day so it isn’t just, “we’re nice to each other on our anniversary”, which is coming up by the way– oh yeah, I might need to remind him.
23:00 DP: Which one?
23:01 EW: We also don’t want to just be kind or loving, or more loving, on birthdays and, you know, whatever other– oh…
23:11 DP: Anniversaries
23:12 EW: Valentine’s Day, the holiday. You know, treat your relationship as the top priority every single day and you can do that even if you have kids because that’s an amazing model for your children to witness because that’s the way that they will, then, become– if you’re the model, that’s what they’ll look for and that’s how they’ll be in their future relationships. So you’re not sacrificing anything, you’re doing yourselves and everyone else in the family a really, really good service by paying attention to each other, being affectionate, being kind, and that five to one ratio– make use of it as often as you can. So I’m just looking at the clock above us, we have five minutes to go in this power-packed compact version of Naked Talk, and we do want to talk about a few things that we have planned for the upcoming months.
24:10 DP: Yeah. Now we’re really excited, we’ve got some really good things going on. One, we are continuing our Naked Talks, which we’ve done all last year, changing, modifying our format a little bit and, you know, we’ll probably modify again in the future but we’re–
24:27 EW: Let us know what you think.
24:28 DP: Yeah. And, you know, what’s really important to us is we bring stuff that’s valuable to you so let us know what that could be. If there’s a topic that you’d like to discuss, then shoot us a quick email and we’ll maybe put that as one of our next Naked Talks. Speaking of our next Naked Talk, it’s going to be in a couple weeks and we’re going to be talking about fantasies, dreams…
24:55 EW: And play.
24:55 DP: And play.
24:55 EW: So come and join us then.
24:57 DP: Yeah.
24:58 EW: So we want to thank– oh, well…
25:01 DP: Well wait, we’ve got more things to talk about.
25:03 EW: Sorry.
25:03 DP: So we also have, we’re starting to do mark groups. If anybody has heard of these, they come from Lafayette Morehouse and we’ve been certified to be able to facilitate these–
25:15 EW: Trained, there’s no certification, we’ve been trained to facilitate.
25:17 DP: OK, we’ve been trained to facilitate them, and it’s really a powerful way to have an adult conversation with people. We’re really excited about it, we’ve already had one and it’s been a lot of fun, and we are going to start doing those around Colorado. So it’s more of a local thing, although we may be doing something online as well, stay tuned. But some other local events which would be really valuable for people to even come in out of town, we’ve got Pamela Madsen and Mac McGregor who are going to be in town talking about–
25:53 EW: Beyond…
25:55 EW + DP: Beyond Fifty Shades of Sexy.
25:56 DP: Yeah.
25:58 EW: That one’s actually April 10th.
26:00 DP: April 9th, 10th and 11th.
26:02 EW: 9th, 10th and 11th?
26:02 DP: The Friday night, Saturday, Sunday.
26:06 EW: No, I think that’s the Thursday but you can check everything out at BedEvents.com. We are hoping to do a panel on, I believe, it’s Thursday the 9th. So the actual dates of the workshop are the 10th, Friday the 10th, 11th and 12th of April, and there’s so much information on what Mac and Pamela teach together that we don’t want to waste this precious time because I want Dan to talk about another event that’s coming up.
26:33 DP: And we’ll probably also have Pamela and Mac, or Mac, on an interview for Naked Talk.
26:38 EW: And then Quodoushka Level One, we’re going to–
26:41 DP: Is that the one you wanted me to share?
26:42 EW: Yeah, I’m just gonna talk about the title. So Quodoushka Level One, oh I’m on a roll, honey, you’d better grab it from me.
26:48 DP: No, go ahead.
26:49 EW: Quodoushka Level One is coming back, returning to Colorado at the end of April, beginning of May. Again, all details BedEvents.com.
27:00 DP: April 30th through May 3rd, that is a Thursday evening, all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
27:07 EW: And Quodoushka is a Native American tradition of spiritual and sacred sexuality. It’s potent, they’re amazing teachings, I love them. There are four levels of Quodoushka, each one builds on the other and you can’t do any of the other levels until you’ve gone through Q1. So we have a lot of information on Quodoushka on our Face– excuse me, on our website. There’s a link to register for both of the events, to find out more, and there should be a link on there to the Quodoushka website, so check all of that out and stay tuned for so much more.
27:51 DP: And if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter already, please do so because that’s the best way to stay up-to-date on what it is that we have coming out and what we’re offering. Things do change from time-to-time, we’re adding classes and events and blah, blah, blah, all sorts of things are going on. The best way, by far, is the newsletter that we send out and that’s a once-a-month thing in which we include a tip, you know, and all of our– a calendar of activities coming up.
28:17 EW: So that about wraps up tonight’s Naked Talk. We want to thank you for being a part of this power-packed half hour. We want to thank our sponsor, Tantra Dakini, the online resource for materials relating to spiritual and sacred sexuality. They can be found at TantraDakini.org. Thank you, we wish you the best of 2015. There’s so much to come and may all of your love and relationships thrive.
28:51 DP: Have a great night everybody.
28:52 EW: Thank you. Bye.