This last weekend I had one of the greatest experiences I have ever had...and that was being able to co-lead a marriage workshop with my wife Heather. Over the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to lead a lot of marriage retreats, conferences, workshops, give talks, etc...but this was the first time I have teamed up with my wife. And I absolutely loved co-leading with her and am looking forward to other opportunities we will have in the future to do this.
It was out of this context though that I gained some more insight into something that I have been thinking about for a few months. And it was only reaffirmed through the many questions that couples had this weekend.
And it is this. I think that for many of us, especially in relationships...when something doesn't work we scramble to find the next thing that will fix our problem. We look for another counselor that is practicing from a different model. We try a new listening technique. We go on vacation to a new place. But all of these things are really distractions from the most essential thing.
And what is the most essential thing?
The most essential thing I have come to learn is practice. We can have all the insight in the world, but unless we actually put it into continuous practice...it never takes root, and we continue to repeat the behavior we have been wanting to change. All of us are looking for the shiny silver bullet that is going to fix things. But in reality, if often comes down to the fact that we have the exact tool we need in front of us...but we just have to use it. And use it over and over and over again.
One of my favorite tools which I have talked about a lot on earlier podcasts is the Pain and Peace Cycle...but it's a tool that has to be practiced over and over again. It's through the practice of this too that safe connection is created in a relationship. And that leads to change. Here are some podcasts where I have talked about this model and the practice of it:
And as my wife and co-led the retreat this weekend and shared our story, I realized just how much work we had put into practicing this tool over the last 5 years. What would have happened if we didn't practice it and looked for something else to fix things? Well, we wouldn't be where we are today. I'm thankful for the hard work and practice we put into this model, and I encourage you to put in the hard work and practice on whatever you are working on in your relationships. When you hit conflict or resistance....keep practicing. And it will be through your practice in the conflict and resistant that will lead to change.
In this episode:
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Resources Mentioned in the Episode
I have told this story countless times in person, on the podcast, and in my blog...so I will try and keep it brief. But about 6 years ago I had an experience that forever changed my life. I had just returned from sitting in on and observing a marriage intensive at The Hideaway Experience in Amarillo, TX (I write about that 4 day intensive here). And what I learned at that intensive changed the way I thought about myself and relationships.
I went home that weekend and tried using the Pain and Peace Cycle that I learned. And when I did, my wife Heather and I had a new experience in navigating conflict successfully, that I knew I had to learn more. I went on staff as a therapist later that fall and spent the next 4 years flying up to Amarillo to co-lead 4 day marriage intensives while all the while using the model in my therapy practice back in Plano...as well as using it in my marriage and any other relational setting I was in. And the more I practiced it, and the more I learned, I knew that this model was the one that I believed was the most effective in creating change in one's self, relationships and organizations.
This model that I had been taught at The Hideaway Experience was essentially the Restoration Therapy model that Terry had been developing, and in which he had help implement for the intensives. Over the course of those years I got to know Terry better, even bringing him out to present the Restoration Therapy model and Forgiveness to our Dallas Association of Marriage and Family Therapists a few years ago.
So this last year I spent time training with Terry Hargrave in the Restoration Therapy model and eventually became certified as a Level II Restoration Therapy therapist.
At the end of last year I recorded 5 podcast episodes talking about Restoration Therapy. I began by talking to you about the Pain Cycle and Peace Cycle in Terry Hargrave's Restoration Therapy model. I love the Pain and Peace Cycle because it has transformed my life. It's transformed me as an individual, as well as my marriage, my relationships, vocation and more. But how do you practice the Pain and Peace Cycle in your own life? To do so I recommended 4 steps to practice. As you begin to use these steps and work through the cycles you create a safe emotional connection which also fosters a real strong sense of "usness" in the relationship. And it is out of this place that couple's can really solve problems. Without a safe connection, problem solving is difficult, if not impossible in a relationship. And finally I tied all four episodes together by talking about the concept of differentiation, and giving some examples from different perspectives of what it looks like.
So after all my own talking and insight on this topic I am super excited to welcome my friend and mentor Dr. Terry Hargrave to Episode 55. Terry is an amazing man and I know you will love listening to his journey into developing the Restoration Therapy model.
In this episode we explore:
Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Fuller Theological Seminary changed my life, so it's probably not a surprise that you see me talking about the seminary so much. Fuller was and is an amazing community of people who provide a safe place for someone to wrestle with the big questions of faith. Fuller challenged me to think about my faith, rather than just tell me how to think. But they also provided the boundaries to work that out in a loving community who loves Jesus Christ. I tell you all of this because I'm continually astounded by the work that they continue to do, the graduates that come out of there, and the professors and administration that guide them. And Fuller Youth Institute is no exception.
Under the direction of Kara Powell, Brad Griffin, and many others, FYI is the premier place that continues to research and provide resources to families on a large number of topics. I am constantly referring clients and colleagues to their website as it's one of the best places at the intersection of youth, families, faith, justice and technology.
In this episode I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Griffin who is the Associate Director of FYI, and who over the years I have had the opportunity to develop a friendship with. Ironically enough, Brad and I have only met one time in person several years ago. But over the years he has been my main encouragement and editor on the many articles that I have written for FYI. Brad, you made my articles sound great...thank you. In this episode we cover a lot of ground. There were so many more things I wanted to be able to discuss with Brad, so I will definitely have him back on the podcast. But we covered a lot around the intersection of faith, families and technology, while focusing a lot on the pressure kids experience in our culture with the overscheduling of their lives.
But in this episode we explore:
Resources Mentioned in the Episode
"How do you get so much stuff done?"
That's one of the questions that I get quite a bit. Sometimes the comment comes from colleagues who wonder how I have a busy practice and still find time to write, blog, podcast, speak, teach, train for a 50 mile run, etc. And sometimes it comes from family members who wonder how I balance out all the things I do in my work, personal and family life. Though it's encouraging to hear those comments and think that I accomplish a lot, the truth is...I always feel like I'm behind. I always feel like I'm not doing enough. And I always feel like I could be less distracted, more disciplined, and productive.
But maybe that's more of my own issues coming up that I will have to work through with my therapist anyways. But the question is posed to me enough times that I have recently begun to reflect more on it. And I started wondering, "How do I get all the things done that others are seeing." And so for the last couple of weeks I have been reflecting on that question and wanted to share with you some of my insights. A lot of what I share in the podcast is probably not totally new to you. It's not earth shattering insight. Rather, it's what has helped me on this journey to clear distractions and focus on what is really important to me. And at the end of the day, productivity is not just about doing more, it's about creating the things I want to do...and if I'm constantly distracted and unfocused, I just won't be able to do those things.
In this episode I explore:
Resources Mentioned in This Episode