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The Flowering of Relationship - An exciting opportunity for Couples

Excerpted from Victoria Times Colonist
September 2004

Within a year of getting married, both for the second time, Lynn and Gerry signed up for an eight session relationship course.

Lynn wouldn't be surprised if people lifted their eyebrows. After all, didn't they just take their vows? But the mid-life Victoria couple aimed to get things off on the best possible footing. Perhaps professional coaching would curb patterns of perception and behaviour that could interfere with their dreams of marriage happiness together.

"It was incredibly important to us. We wanted some tools that would help us maintain the excitement we were feeling about our future together." Says Lynn. "And the truth is we began to notice were getting "stuck" in our way of communicating. We were falling into arguing in a way. To me it was a warning sign. To Gerhard it was just a disagreement. But the fun we had been having was beginning to dissapear."

So they registered themselves for Paul Beckows "Flowering of Relationship" Course.

Gerry agreed on the idea of being "coached by an expert". "We go to consultants and experts for lots of things we are wanting help with in life - real estate agents to buy a home, doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, for our physical well being, finacial consultants our financial planning, why not use an expert to support our goals for our relationship?"

"It wasnt long into our work together that we saw there's a lot for us, or anyone, to learn." Gerry said during a low-key conversation in their sunflower-filled yard while their chocolate Lab came by for dollops of affection.

"In the course we came to understand the specific challenges of relationship, a whole lot better. Paul introduced us to exciting concepts, practices, with lots of simple fun exercises. These explorations challenged and supported us and moved us along together."

"We accomplished all kinds of results through the eight weeks. We learned better listening skills, how to deal more effectively with our own issues, ways of communicating through our misunderstandings and means of expressing what we wanted more directly."

Gerry added, "For me I saw very clearly that if you want closeness and the intimacy that communcation allows, you can't have those while you're in a state of protecting yourself," says Gerry. "And I saw that I was protecting myself a lot. The course helped me see that. That was very big for me."

Lynn reflected, "By week five things started to really lighten up between us. Through the exercises and opportunities Paul provided us, we began to rekindle the natural feelings of appreciation for one another. The feelings we had been holding back."

On week six, it was very powerful when each partner wrote a fully expressed letter of acknowledgement and appreciation to the other. Says Gerry, "I saw that to make myself vulnerable is okay, I can do that, in fact it was a strength."

"Paul taught us that to be in relationship is to be in the experience of appreciation and regard for the other and as such is an "inside job". It was something we looked after within us. We also saw that in order to be present to appreciation it needs to be created and then expressed somehow, communicated."

"We were empowered and uplifted as a couple by the end of the course." says Lynn.

Lynn now wants others to learn from the course, which begins again Sept. 10.

In describing the course, Paul says he begins by drawing couples' attention to the time when their relationship was in romance - open, playful, spontaneous. The future was exciting and open full of a sense of excitement and possibility.

"Over time," Paul suggested, "We can notice the way we listen to the other begins to alter. We begin to filter what our partner is saying in a particular way. The openess dissapears. Seeing this, seeing what has happened, without judgement, opens something up for couples. This is where we begin together."

Quips Beckow. "In the course, couples see the real and concrete challenges of the journey of relationship - and what is needed to move on in each stage. This gives them new insights and understandings and new tools they can now bring to their journey together."

"In the course, in a safe and easy way, we reintroduce ourselves to many of the fundamental skills of relationship. Skills such as ... forgiveness, letting go, assertiveness, sharing ourselves, commited listening, cleaning up the mess, - skills that are primary for connection and intimacy, essential to remaining in love."

When couples become aware of these skills together, and let go of the more competitive nature of relationship, it produces a huge breakthrough. They are changed. The nature of their commitment and attention changes. "It places their hands on the magic wand." Beckow adds.

No wonder it is called "Flowering of Relationship". It seems Beckows course provides all the perfect tools and tips for clearing the garden for new growth.

For more information about the Flowering Course, call 721-2477.

and/or click Flowering of Relationship course

Paul Beckow is a trained individual, marriage, and family therapist with over 20 years experience. If you have a relationship and/or family concern, write to him c/o Victoria Family Institute, 4046 Century Rd., Victoria B.C., V8X 2E4, e-mail him at pbeckowLETSTALK@shaw.ca., or call 250 721 2477.

For personal or couple counselling, for more information, or to register for a course - please contact Paul Beckow at The Victoria Family Institute.

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