How do successful relationships actually work? How can we sustain a positive and intimate relationship over years, even decades? A new website relating-manual.com lays out the answers.
I’m fortunate enough to be in a positive long-term relationship. Both my wife Emma and I share an explicit intention and commitment to make it work, to make it last, and to keep going deeper.
At the beginning of our relationship, I thought that this mutually agreed intent was all it took. (I’m an Idealist.) Emma of course knew better (she’s a Skeptic). A successful relationship has to be actively maintained. Complacency leads to lack of communication, which in turn leads to misunderstandings and frustrations, which in turn can lead to arguments and resentments.
So, how do you make a relationship work? How do you hold it together in the long term, through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, etc? And are there ways to make it even better, the longer you are together?
Whenever Emma and I have questions like this, we turn to our great friends and mentors, Prof. Jake Chapman and Dr. Eva Chapman.
Jake and Eva
Jake and Eva Chapman
Jake and Eva are an amazing couple who are world-class experts at relationships. While their first few years together were pretty tough, they have now been together for 36 years and have one of the best relationships you could ever imagine.
Emma and I first met Jake and Eva in 1991. In fact, we met them before we met each other — they were leading Enlightenment Intensives and we were among the participants. Then in 1992 we both trained under them to lead Enlightenment Intensives, and that’s when we first got together. (Several life-changing experiences at once!) Jake and Eva have been both friends and mentors to us ever since.
The Relating Manual
Based on his and Eva’s experiences, issues, conflicts, insights, and practices, Jake has now published an online ‘manual’ for creating long-lasting, intimate relationships.
His website, relating-manual.com, offers a vast amount of advice, all of it freely available.
“There is a lot of material on this site,” says Jake. “We have learned a lot in 35 years and I want to explain it as well as possible.”
How did the website come about?
“Much of the material in this website was first written as part of a book we were going to write together on our relationship,” explains Jake. “For a variety of reasons the book project has been shelved and the material has landed here.”
With Jake’s characteristic clarity, the website sets out the various concepts, tools and techniques which he and Eva have used to maintain their own relationship, even through the worst of times.
Here’s an example — the principle of using one’s criticalness as a tool for insight and acceptance:
How to use the Relating Manual
Who is the website for, and how should they use it? Jake sees three broad categories of people who would benefit:
1. If your relationship is in crisis.
“Most people,” says Jake, “only search out material on how to manage a relationship when they are in trouble. The good news is that there are common patterns in relationship crises, and when you become aware of these patterns you are more likely to find a way through. The bad news is that the way out of all crises is for both people in the relationship to face up to something that they would prefer not to face.”
If you are in a relationship in crisis, go to the Crisis Handling
section and follow the route suggested there.
2. If you are just starting a new relationship.
When he and Eva first met in 1979, Eva had already been married twice before, Jake had been married once before, and both had two children from their previous relationships.
“When we started out we were not promising material,” says Jake. “We argued and fought for the first two years we were together. However we adopted a number of strategies and principles that enabled us to work through the mess and end up in an idyllic place.”
All of the concepts and tools described in the manual have been used by Jake and Eva themselves to support their own relationship. If you are in the early stages of a relationship and want essential guidelines on how best to make it work, you should start with the Principles
section and follow your interest from there.
3. If you are in an established relationship and want to deepen it.
Maintaining a good relationship is like maintaining anything else — it’s an active process that requires regular attention and effort. But it’s all worth it.
“We still confront issues between us and continue to deepen our love and contact – and best of all the sex continues to be more intense, more exhilarating and exciting.”
In a sense, your relationship can also become a spiritual path. “This often happens as children grow up and leave home,” says Jake. “Your relationship can then become the focus of your journey together to greater awareness and deeper contact with the Divine.”
In addition to all of this practical advice and support, Relating-Manual.com
also includes a number of interesting and insightful personal stories by both Jake and Eva. For example, Discovering Jake
recounts in some detail what happened the second time they met, with a great twist at the end, while Ecstatic Guilt Clearing
is an amazing story from Eva about how relationship issues unfold over many years. More stories will be added to the website as it builds.
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Featured image – All That We Fought For by Henry Grey (Stelios Nikolaou)
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