Do you have an uplifting and positive story about your relationship? We are collecting stories on our website (www.we-stories.com) to build on the research we presented in our new book, Positive Couple Therapy (Routledge, http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Couple-Therapy-We-Stories-Resilien...). We call these positive relationship stories, “We-stories” and they reflect at least one of the seven elements of “We-ness.” We discussed these seven elements or SERAPHS in an earlier blog on this post (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-scripts/201405/positive-...). The seven elements are Security, Empathy, Respect, Acceptance, Pleasure, Humor, and Shared meaning and/purpose. We-stories serve as touchstones for couples to re-connect with these elements and remind each other of the fundamental strength and resilience of their relationship.
One couple shared the following we-story that reflected their strong sense of Acceptance in the relationship.
• My partner is an absolute musical genius. He plays multiple instruments and has nearly perfect pitch. In the band that he plays in, he's the one who does most of the arrangements. Since we are both Jewish, we decided to have a Sabbath dinner together at my house early in the relationship. I heard him sing and play music at temple many times and knew how good a musician he was. I, on the other hand, have a tin ear for carrying a tune. So when I began to sing the Friday night blessings, I knew that I was going to be out of tune. But what surprised me was that he also didn't sound very good. I asked him what was going on, and he said, "I'm just trying to find your key." And that says a lot about what a kind and giving person he is.
We are eager to collect more of these stories and see how they are linked to satisfaction with the relationship and the couple’s overall sense of we-ness. If you are interested in contributing to this study, ask your partner to join you and then go to our website, www.we-stories.com and click on the link to the study. It does not take long (approx. 15 minutes) and our hope is that we can build a database of positive stories of compassion, understanding, humor, and moments of working together to overcome obstacles.
We hear enough about the negatives of relationships, defeats, frustrations, and divorces. Let’s try to build a storehouse of stories that describe love in action. Couples draw on these stories to remind them of what really matters and how important it is to have another person “having your back” in a world that is often difficult and challenging to navigate. Karen Skerrett (my co-author) and I have found that couples that make strong progress in couple therapy turn to these stories and use them for reassurance and courage when moments of conflict and tension emerge. In future blogs, we will talk about simple methods for finding and putting your we-story to work in your relationship.