Posts Tagged ‘connect’

Tennis Balls and Gifts

July 11, 2013

This post is by Tony Victor, Imago Faculty, and re-posted here with permission.


Here is an Imago Dialogue Riddle:  What is the difference between a tennis ball and a gift?  Well, when a tennis ball is served up to you, you are expected to put your own spin on the ball and send it right back over the net.  In fact your tennis partner expects you to try to return in such a way as to make it very difficult for her to receive it. However, if you partner does receive it be fully ready to have him put a new spin on it and send it back to you even more tenaciously than the first time he served it up to you.

A gift is just the opposite:  When a gift is served up to you, you are expected to receive it with gratitude and amazement, to admire the beautiful wrapping and the bow so delicately tied.  To, with wonder and awe, graciously unwrap it.  Just receive it — No putting your own spin on it — No sending it back.  Just receive it.

In part, Imago Dialogue is about receiving what your partner has to offer you.  The words your partner speaks are a precious gift–an opening into his heart.  When your partner speaks treat her words as precious gifts to be held, taken in, and cherished.

Even if those words are a bit painful.  Resist the urge to treat them like a tennis ball being served up to you — putting your own spin on them, and sending them right back.  Treating even painful words as a gift is the surest way to sooth the hurt for you and your partner.

This is especially important when the words are an affirmation.  Recently a couple who were making wonderful progress from their initial session began their session with her smiling, looking intently at him and saying “I love you.”  Immediately he responded “I love you too.”  This was an amazing moment of transformation for this couple.  Just a few weeks earlier they were ready to divorce and started counseling as a last ditch effort to avoid the lawyers.

I celebrated the moment with them.  Then I asked permission to try something a little different.  They agreed, I asked her to start again she looked at him and said “I love you.”  Before he had a chance to respond, I quickly asked him to just breath in the gift of her words.  Just take it in as you breath in.  Then mirror back, he said, “You love me.”  As he did his eyes welled up with tears and I knew that he was letting his defenses down.  This time he was accepting the gift not just returning the serve.  I used the above  riddle to help both partners understand this concept and how Imago dialogue is about gift giving rather than a tennis match.

While the rapid fire back and forth “I love you’s” was a wonderful step in a good direction, the pattern of communication more resembled a tennis match than a gift exchange.  As Imago therapists, I believe our role is to coach our couples to see their partners as serving up gifts not tennis balls to each other.

Tony Victor, D.Min., Imago Faculty Candidate, Certified Imago Consultant, and Certified Imago Workshop Presenter is available for Consultation either in person or via Skype or Facetime.  Dr. Victor has been in private practice for over 25 years.  He currently is the Owner and Director of a thriving group practice, The Midwest Relationship Center, LLC, located in Swansea, IL, just outside of St. Louis, MO.  If you would like to comment on this article or inquire about consultation, you can contact Dr. Victor by email drtony@themidwestrelationshipcenter.com or by calling 618-516-3338.

Dare y’a:

At the soonest possible moment, tell your partner you want to give her/him a gift and that s/he shouldn’t do anything except breathe it in for a few seconds….and then say “I love you” while gazing into their eyes.

Valentines Day…..Again

February 14, 2010

geishaboy500 / Flickr

Well folks here it is again, the day of…well, what is it to you?

This is what people tell me, and I must confess, I have thought all of these myself:

A capitalist plot. A day filled with love and gratitude. A big letdown day highlighted by unfulfilled needs and yearnings. An excuse to receive and eat chocolate.  An important day to deeply share in connection with your partner. A day in which there is some focus on romance and a good dinner out. A day a little more special than most.  The one day a year you are likely to feel really disappointed.  A day to just try to ignore.

All of these can be true depending on where your relationship is at in the present moment. It is a complex day because many people assign such significance to it and are sadly let down. Why?

I think it’s expectations.

C’mon, admit it. Don’t we all just wanna be that special someone to our partner and when our hopes and needs aren’t met just the way we want, we come crashing down, feeling hurt and rejected.

So…

Sister72 / Flickr

Here’s what I propose: DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO GO THERE. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, have a set of unrealistic expectations you want your partner to meet (especially if you don’t even tell them what they are) and then feel terrible because they haven’t been met. And then do not, and I repeat DO NOT, go off and have a temper tantrum (quiet or loud) because once again you feel let down and just plain crappy about your love life.

Save yourself the heartache and instead try….

  • Focusing on the GIVING. Put your energy into giving something to your partner you know he or she will appreciate. Make it small and meaningful.
  • Do not let any money exchange hands to gift this.
  • Make it an unconditional gift and experience how it feels to do this in a mature way!

Get the picture? If you need some ideas here they are:

  • A massage.
  • A card you have made with a message from you about what you are grateful for about your partner.
  • A note you have made with a sweet poem you have found in a book or on the internet.
  • Sitting them down and telling them 6 things you really appreciate about them.
  • If you have kids, allow your partner to sleep in. Make breakfast for the family.
  • Try a new recipe for dinner and remember the candles on the table.
  • Ask to go for a walk and have fun: do not bring up a complaint!

Send me other ideas and we’ll add them to the list.

Keep it simple and keep it real!

Dare ya –

Work with yourself to stretch and grow-up a little more. Mentally prepare yourself to GIVE unconditionally and notice how this feels. In order to do this it takes real emotional preparation because you will be using your big brain. Your limbic system will not like it one little bit. Be curious and relax. I know you can do it!!!!!

Up Up and Away…Our love blog!

January 11, 2010


A blog?

Why you might ask?

It really comes down to just one thing.

We wonder what happens to all of you after you leave the Getting the Love You Want weekend. We want to stay connected, offer support and continue to help you all create the relationship you want.

It may sound cheesy but we really believe in this work and care about what happens to all of you after you leave the workshop.

Where do you go?

How do you do?

Do you incorporate what you’ve learned into your everyday life?

We are pretty sure that you, like all of us, have some great times, with more connection and fun.  Yet, you still have to navigate the landmines of your relationship, especially the let downs. Take it from us, they happen to everyone.  This is why we want to keep sharing common, everyday thoughts and ideas about how you can keep that lovin’ feeling after the workshop.

Ok, true confessions…

We think it will help us too! Let’s face it, we all need to support each other and keep things real. We are all on the journey of relationship. It’s not like we have it all figured out either. We want to do this because we believe it will help all of us.

This is very new for us to do so we see it as a work in progress. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. What do you want us to focus on and include in our blog? Let us know!

Our plan is to blog about once a week. It will be one or both of us. We will write about a topic, experience or idea we hope you will relate to and offer some suggestions or challenges to work on that week with your partner. This section will be called ”dare ya”.

By the way, we have nothing to sell. No money will change hands. All we really want is to stay connected and offer support to all of us in relationship. Stay tuned!

Dare ya –

What is one thing you really do love about who your partner is as a person? Think about it. Now go tell them……

Yours really truly,

T & M