Tonight I’ll be kicking off the 2012 Hopes and Dreams conference. Myself, my wife and a couple of others will travel about an hour from here to meet with thirty to thirty-five couples and talk about relationships. But what is a conference all about? I get this question a lot so I thought I would share what they are. These conferences exist to help people become better communicators in general. They can be customized for any population. That is to say they could deal with employee/employer relationships, parent/child, etc. The most common relationship dynamic that they deal with is that of husband/wife. They are based on the idea that we all have three core questions in our life that we want answered in our relationships. One of those questions is the idea that we want to be heard. We also look at what I believe is the most important and necessary ingredient for a healthy relationship. Good communication, commonality, excellent conflict resolution skills all lead to this one ingredient.

The conferences are divided into three levels. In the first level, after introducing the above concepts we talk about what detracts from this important ingredient. Then we move into four negative communication patterns that people struggle with. Typically, almost everyone identifies with at least one of those negative patterns. After looking at these emotional hazards we look at three better ways to communicate. In the second level we build upon this idea by looking in depth at the motivations behind our actions. We look at how our actions either confirm what we say we value or they show us areas for growth. Often they do both. In the third level we build upon this foundation to lay directions for each couples future.

These conferences are built upon some assumptions. They are:

  • Marriages are mortal.
  • Almost everyone is desperately insecure and in need of affirmation.
  • Everyone’s marriage can be everything they hoped and dreamed it would be.
  • Successful marriages require constant attention and work
  • Anyone can learn to have emotionally charged conversations without hurting the person they are taking with.
  • Almost everyone wants a really good marriage and very few people were ever taught what that looks like.
  • Almost anyone can learn how to have a good marriage.

We’d love to have you join us at any of the upcoming conferences or if you have a venue and would like to host one just shoot me an email. For now, I’m curious, what do you think is the most important ingredient for a happy marriage? What is necessary for a couple to not only succeed but be excited that they did?

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