I’ve been offering relationship workshops for over 25 years now. And, may I say it’s been very rewarding! Yes, remarkably so, especially now, during this crazy Covid time we're living in! Who knew couples would continue to love their experience, even if only online? Granted, when life returns to pre-pandemic "normal", I know they will enjoy it that much more simply because a) these workshops are held from my home in a very cozy, country setting- offering people a bonding, "in-person" type of opportunity, and may I add, in a house which my husband and I literally built by hand together; and b) where coffee and homemade banana bread, including a nice lunch is always served; and, even more importantly c) where one is most certainly guaranteed to be greeted by at least one burly-but-ever-so-friendly Bernese Mountain Dog!! Now that's hospitality! LOL! But, all joking aside, I know the best part is that people truly enjoy and benefit from their learning experience!
My mission has always been to teach about love and relationships... Letstalkaboutlove, right?:-) Whether I'm conducting group workshops or private sessions, we tend to cover a vast variety of topics and themes concerning life, love, sex, parenting, communication, marriage and more! People are genuinely interested and often find themselves interacting at an exceptionally deeper level, too. And, just as we all need to be the architects of our own relationships, these workshops also create the impression that we are collectively building something stronger together: like a united community inspired to get better at relationships! Relationship education. When it comes right down to it, fostering a shared experience is at the heart of relationships, right? After all, it's through hearing others' stories that we can also reflect on our own. And, if truth be told, I get such a kick out of sharing everything I know about life and love (which is largely based on the latest literature, research and scientific studies, as well as my many years of training and work with both individuals and couples) and I must admit I always take immense pleasure whenever I witness knowledge, confidence and competence bloom in the room. Woohoo! I so loooooove when this happens! Yes, I am truly honoured when, at the end of our day, someone tells me they found their time to be not only fun and interesting...but that they also learned much much more than they had ever anticipated, not ever quite thinking about relationships or marriage or family life in such a multi-faceted way.. ie., having found a new appreciation for what it genuinely takes to really love someone or just stay connected as a couple today! I frequently hear couples tell me they feel like they’ve participated in a journey of self-knowledge and self-expansion which, appropriately, is at the core of building quality in a relationship together : that in order to sustain an intimate relationship, one must first become a good partner to oneself -warts 'n all- and, that this is what we all need to fundamentally understand and embrace before we ever begin to learn how to communicate our own needs, expectations and desires, let alone continue to thrive in partnership with each other . " At heart, it is self-love which allows us to show up more fully when it comes to love". lw
Love is Too Important To Do Badly
We can never learn enough about love. The truth of the matter is most of us -unless we’re in the field of relationship education or couple therapy or simply have a voracious appetite for the subject matter - never ever really think about the complexities and nuances underlying loving relationships; or really ever consider what it takes to get to know ourselves and each other better with respect to marriage, family, parenting, couple communication, sex or LOVE. As a matter of fact, when it comes to relationship harmony, each partner generally wants the other to feel and think the same way. And, society is no help, encouraging couples to stay uneducated and let romance guide the way! Most people are unaware of the ways they get triggered by each other, or that their past traumas, experiences and relationships absolutely affect their current one. Most of us don't pay attention to how our defense mechanisms may be pushing a partner away, or realize that anger is usually a response to hurt or fear, an undependable way many of us use to ward off pain. Nor are couples generally aware that there are four types of behaviour that are particularly corrosive in a marriage that - when not managed- can actually predict divorce with over 90% accuracy. Most people do not discern between love and desire, nor fully understand how they play out in intimate relationships or, more specifically, how love and desire can influence the sexual connection between a couple in both a positive and negative way. Most couples don’t know that when it comes to parenthood, we call the first two years of parenting the “post-partum-marital disaster area” because the potential for disconnect is so high between the couple (including infidelity). Yes, who would ever think that the majority of pregnant couples often report marital dissatisfaction once a baby comes along…never quite thinking it could also spell erotic disaster for their relationship! Most people are unaware of the different- yet equally effective - love languages they can use to express love and repair and that differences are perfectly ok! Most are surprised to hear that happy, stable couples have about as many problems as unhappy, unstable couples. Yes, you read that right! Most couples don’t consider that sometimes gender differences in communication play a major role : that for many men, it is the joint activities which act as an important bridge to emotional intimacy and connection (rather than the standard rule of verbal communication women routinely advocate as being the "best", if not the only, way). So, perhaps it’s safe to say that most of us do not really see past our own assumptions or perspectives when it comes to creating and sustaining relationship harmony, right? Often we cannot see the ways we undermine ourselves and our relationships. And, let me stress MOST OF US! The sad truth is that most of us have never been taught about successful relationships, other than the examples shown to us via role models, such as the influence carried over from family or what we expect or rely on to be true- based on what we believe or see around us -especially through media! Yes, indeed, research tells us our perceptions of marriage mostly stem from some mix of romantic comedies, mainstream media, and the example set by our parents, which can leave us with an unrealistic, decidedly negative, and, at best, incomplete picture of what it really means to build a committed, fulfilling relationship. And finally, how many of us actually think about the way our relationships exist in a larger, social, cultural context? Or, how we unwittingly pick up on cues from what is happening around us? This influence alone plays a significant role where our expectations and choices for love and life are concerned. In the end, relationship education is about knowing how to live and love better, and there is always, always much more to learn.
Love is a Classroom in the School of life
There's a saying: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Probably nowhere more true than with relationship education. To help prepare you for marriage, to help prepare you for parenthood. Mid-life and retirement, too. To prepare you for the inherent challenges which are naturally present in all relationships….to educate you as to how to navigate them in such a way as to learn-grow-and-evolve together. To learn research-based skills that may dramatically improve the intimacy and friendship in your relationship and help you manage conflict in a healthy, positive way. To normalize and not pathologize. To learn how to love more bravely and know that, although uncharted territory can strike fear into many people, chances are pretty good when you and your partner find yourselves on the same page because you want the same thing, namely: a successful and rewarding relationship.
Everyone deserves a healthy and happy relationship and I honestly believe we would all do better if we just opened ourselves more to understanding love. We live in a culture where hardly anyone likes to think they can “learn” to be more emotionally healthy and happy in a relationship! Why is that? Think about it for a moment: We need to take drivers-ed in order to learn how to become good drivers, we hire financial consultants to guide us to make better decisions with our money, we hire business coaches, take golf or swimming lessons and the list goes on ...we do so many things in life in order to "know better so as to do better" and yet, still think relationships don’t require the same type of scrutiny. Why is it that we don’t address life skills in the same cost-effective approach when it comes to love, dating, sex, parenting, etc…why isn’t relationship education part of the regular school curriculum…especially seeing we know through the science of child development research that educating children about healthy relationships before the age of 10 is vital, because after this point, attitudes and behaviours become crystallized and resistant to change? I think this fact alone is reason enough to enlist in a relationship class, or more importantly, a parenting workshop…for the sake of the children, our relationship and a happy family life!
Unquestionably, love should never be taken for granted. It is a subject we can all learn more about, but only if we choose to look beyond the misguided, typical school of thought: that love is an emotion, or just a feeling rather than an action or a practice. Perhaps if we consciously aligned ourselves more with the perspective that it is through our very acts of love and care towards our loved ones, we are given the opportunity to continue to open our hearts to deeper feelings of love and compassion with one another. Love always needs to be something more than what you say or feel, it needs to be something that you also do! Maybe the lesson here is to learn that when it comes to the school of relational life, "love is more like a verb than a noun", something we mostly do but can also learn well. And when we do, not only will our own lives feel more meaningful—but our relationships will be better, too.
Hi, I'm Lydia- a modern-day warrior of the heart with a mission to reconcile the mystery and mastery of Love.