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Journey Support Center
Welcome!   

The Support Center was created to provide you with key information to help you succeed on the Journey into Love. We explore and further explain important ideas in the Journey, answer Frequently Asked Questions (scroll to read below), and give you more helpful tips not found in the Journey program. Enjoy! 


 
 
 
SUPPORT FOR YOUR JOURNEY INTO LOVE:
What every Couple Should Know!
 
Jim Marshall, MasterCare Institute/911 Training Institute
911 Wellness Foundation 


Specific Focus: How to Use the Journey if You've had More Serious Problems

 
Greetings! 

This support center is part of our commitment to assuring that your Journey experience will be as helpful as possible to your marriage. Here you will find more specific instructions on use of the Journey for couples with serious marital problems.

When you've experienced more painful, long-term struggles in your relationship, you may need personalized clinical help. (If you don't know where to find trustworthy mental health/marital counseling, email me to assist: Jim@JourneyintoLove.com.) It will be wisest for you to begin your Journey into Love work carefully using the following plan: 

Start the program by doing Section 1: Preparing the Way.
As you listen and talk about the ideas and concepts, carefully honor a golden rule: 
Don't point fingers at eachother or practice fault-finding with your partner. Just be Humble Learners together. Listen, discuss interesting points, and keep your focus on how YOU can grow personally.


Then, skipping Sections 2 and 3, go directly to Section 4: Building the Positive Center of Marriage. (Trust me on this: when you've been caught up in toxic conflict and/or have drifted from each other, this is the best route!) 
  • Watch the Section 4 Introduction video. 
  • Continue the program until you reach "Equipping Tools: #1: Gottman's Magic Five Hours". Read this article.
  • Agree to do begin practicing the Magic Five Hours immediately. 
In that article I point you to other enjoyable Journey activities that will help you strengthen the Positive Center of your relationship. You can do these activities during the week as part of quality time together. After all, it's true: no investment, no return. So, in the first few weeks,  try to find extra time (perhaps during part of your weekly two hour date) to do some of these other Section 4 exercises. This will help you turn toward each other in fresh, encouraging ways. 

Remember, your first goal in the marriage as you begin the Journey is to build the
Positive Center.

You can't successfully "fix things" unless you're standing together on this solid ground! 
Once you both agree that you've made headway in building the Positive Center of the relationship, then you can begin the skills training in Sections 2 and 3 of the Journey. As you watch and listen, be sure to use the JiL program's PAUSE Button (lower right portion of screen) often so you that you can pause to absorb the concepts and share your ideas (without blaming!). Using the PAUSE button will also help you avoid rushing to increase your enjoyment. 

After you've learned about, and practiced the Section 2 and 3 skills, you can use them to discuss your specific marriage concerns. But when you begin talking about difficult topics, you must remember two keys to success in marriage:
KEY #1. The most successful couples still have arguments and get heated. It is not IF you will argue--it is HOW you argue when you do. So...
  • Consciously work to use the ideas, skills and tools in Section 2 and 3 to keep contempt (the energy of hate and criticism) out of your discussions!
  • Take Time-Outs to cool down when your discussion is beginning to become unmanageable. (See and use the article on Section 3: "Rules and Tools..." And for 911 professionals, please remember: in place of the "5-5-5/Take 2" breathing taught in the Journey, just be sure to use the most recent breathing skills I taught you in class!)
KEY #2. Practice The Three A's: As John Gottman's research tells us, even when we try our best in relationships we will still hurt. That's when we need to use the second key to success: make genuine efforts to repair the emotional damage as soon as possible after your fights.* This means that you must choose to love (versus triumph over) your partner. Take the personal initiative to return to your spouse, humbly, with a willingness to:
  • Apologize for your part of the problem
  • Affirm  your love
  • Assure  that you truly value him or her. Then leave the issue alone for a while to allow some time for your nervous systems to soothe and cool down. 

To help you stay constructive and on track during your talks about difficult topics, consider taking turns discussing these questions
  1. Ask: "Without criticizing, what area of our marriage would you like to improve?" (When you answer, don't focus on the past: describe what you'd like to see in the future.)
  2. Then ask: "How could I help make this happen?" (When you answer this question, don't blame: describe positive action your partner could take). 
  3. Discuss these ideas with the goal of reaching agreement about what you want to see happen. Then...
  4. Ask: "How can we plan now to put these ideas into action?" (This means defining Who will do What, When. Write these particulars down together and refer back to your notes at regular check-ins to assure progress, tweak your plans and renew commitments.)
Following these tips will to help you succeed. Will you agree now to follow them? (If you are in marital therapy, this kind of Journey work will prepare you to experience change more quickly, saving you both time and money. And the Journey tools will still be there for you long after you're done with treatment!)

A
ll the best to you as you continue the Journey! I am committed to assuring that every step of your Journey experience is excellent--from online purchase, to digital downloading, and through every one of your Journey Sessions through the weeks, months, and years ahead.

So, please remember to send us your comments or questions
(jim@journeyintolove.com).

Well, again, thanks so much for the chance to serve you and your partner! It is a privilege to be along side as you do your marriage work. 
Sincerely,   
 
Jim Marshall
Director, MasterCare Institute
 
P.S. We encourage you to print out this article and keep it with all the other great JiL articlesin your "Journey Logs". Then review it as needed each time you begin your Journey sessions together. In case you've come to this page just to learn more about the Journey and you're now ready to order, just click on the button.



*SOURCE: John Gottman, 2004: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This is a landmark work for couples. I urge all Journey couples to read it. 


Frequently Asked Questions about the Journey and Marriage... 
Welcome to this feature of the Support Center! 

As we hear from you, we will bring some of the best and most important questions to this page so that all the Journey Community can benefit from the answers. Here are few. We will add more as we hear from you! 
 
Question: "Is there one best way to communicate as a couple that will help us both feel understood, happier,and help us avoid ugly fights

Answer: Absolutely not. The research does not bear out that any single communication strategy will make couples successful in communication. 

 Question: "If that's true, then why  do you teach and encourage use of  "The A-B Pathway" in the Journey into Love? And what DOES cause success in marriage communication?"
Answer: That's actually two questions, and they're great ones! Here's my explanation.The A-B Pathway is no exception to the statement that particular techniques aren't miracle solutions to serious marital conflict. The core ingredient to producing improvement in couples' communication is personal motivation to change--inspiration of the human will to do something different. As you will remember from watching the Journey, I begin the program by revealing my core assumption about human relationships: all people were made with dignity and worth. And so we need to be treated with a respect for that dignity. We naturally are drawn to folks who treat us with respect and pull away from those who don't. In short, loving some one well, causes him or her to feel respected. 

So, moving on in Section 1 of the Journey, we explore what real love is, and we explore the specific ways in our communication we can convey that rich love (sharing "The Corinthians Cup").  So, here's the bottomline. I urge folks to practice the A-B Pathway and apply it during important discussions simply because it helps us avoid the toxic behaviors that contaminate love and thus create conflicts and wounds in the relationship. But, in the newsletter above, I also point to the two more specific KEYS to success in marriage. I will restate them here:

KEY #1. Recognize that even the most successful couples still have arguments and get heated. It is not IF you  will argue--it is HOW you argue when you do. So...
  • Consciously work to use the ideas, skills and tools in Section 2 and 3 to keep contempt (the energy of hate and criticism) out of your discussions!
  • Take Time-Outs to cool down when it is beginning to become an unmanageable discussion. (See and use the article on Section 3: "Rules and Tools...")
KEY #2. Do The Three A's: As John Gottman's research tells us, since we will still be human, we will hurt each other even when we try to do our best not to. That's when we need to use the second key to success: make genuine efforts to repair the emotional damage as soon as possible after our fights.* This means you as a partner must choose to love (versus win-over) your partner. Take the personal initiative to return to your spouse, humbly, with a willingness to:
  • Apologize for your part of the problem
  • Affirm  your love
  • Assure  that you truly value him or her. Then leave the issue alone for a while to allow some time for your nervous systems to soothe and cool down. 

While it is true that  marriage partners will never be totally free of arguing and hurting each other, we can do better at avoiding those toxic behaviors IF we  are committed to working consciously  at being kind and respectful to eachother. The question is: "What motivates us to be kind and loving instead of rude and critical?" That's what Section 4 of the Journey is all about: Building the Positive Center of the Relationship. As Dr. Gary Chapman says, you've got to be filling up each other's "Love Tanks". It comes down to feeling that you and your partner are friends. And that means taking time to enjoy each other and explore how you can share and value deeper meaning in your lives together. So I urge all couples on the Journey to immediately begin, and frequently return to, the activities and exercises in Section 4: Strengthening the Positive Center.

It doesn't matter how much communication skill you have if your partner doesn't feel valued or cared about, or if you aren't enjoying each other recently. Doing the Positive Center activities will foster these important feelings and, thus, your desire to use the skills. By the time most couples make it into my office they aren't feeling very friendly about each other. If you asked, they might say: "We are tired, frustrated, and need a break before we face all these heavy issues!" Of course: I get that. yet, often there is an urgency to resolve the big problems. Believe me, though: you will resolve them quicker when you work first to strengthen the Positive Center BEFORE tackling "high voltage issues". 

So, if you have experienced serious problems, be sure to read the Newsletter above for instructions about the wisest way to use the Journey in pursuit of big changes. Come back soon. We'll be here! And don't forget to email or call for help.