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Four Steps to Having The Relationship of Your Dreams - Not Your Nightmares

By Timothy J. Ryan, Ph.D. D.Div., PSc.D. on Sun, January 19, 2014



With divorce rates at 51%,  and extreme economic uncertainty, we understand that the human family is in crisis.   Individuals, couples and families are facing severe challenges to financial, emotional, and relationship stability.   It’s estimated that 97% of the population want better relationships but only 3% actually have the skills to enjoy meaningful connection.

Unfortunately for most of us, when under stress we loose our perspective, we often don't  know what we need and/or how to take the necessary steps to get where we want to be.   With increasing stress, uncertainty and limited communication skills, relationships are always the first to suffer and the last to recover.

With increasing stress and uncertainty and limited skills, relationships suffer increasing disconnection and greater  chance of divorce.  The scars of divorce carry on giving the second marriage even higher rates of divorce.   A recent poll in Orange County discovered that over 50% of singles have given up the idea of dating because of repeated disappointment and the conclusion that  “It’s too painful.”

The most common response when in crisis is to procrastinate.  However, if we procrastinate, we’re choosing not to take action and not only are we we’re delaying our dreams – maybe for a few years or maybe forever but we are resigning ourselves to accept the relationship we have now is the best it can be and we are reinforcing the habits that keep us stuck in the first place.


Unless we acknowledge our relationship needs improvement and we are  willing to invest in learning skills and strategies to change sabotaging patterns we will never have the relationship of our dreams.


There is an old Chinese proverb that says:
“If I don’t change the direction I am headed,
I will end up where I’m going…”

With increasing stress and uncertainty, most are thinking of survival not enrichment. To make matters worse, when we are in stress, we are not our best selves and certainly don't always act in our best interest. During acute stress we become overly controlling and tyrannical or submissive and indecisive.  We become more reactive and do the opposite of things we would normally do to nurture, support and strengthen loving relationships.  

It's easy to understand why we put off things especially relationhip stress when there are so many other stressors.  Often relationships and conflict are confusing and we get distracted, there alot other things on the table.  Since most don't have the skills, trust, safety to know how to get comfort from relationships, they seem like the easiest to put on the back burner. 

However, if we procrastinate, we’re choosing to avoid facing those very things that ultimately need to be addressed to achieve our greater happiness and success. When driving our car we don't ignore the gas gage or temperature readings. By paying attention and dealing with things early we avoid problems that become bigger problems later on.   

The Zen have a saying "recognizing the closed mind is the open mind." Unless we recognize that we are stressed and lack skills and need help, we never take the action to get help.  I'm from the south and when they cook frogs in New Orleans, they don't have to fight to keep them in the pot, they simply put the frogs in luke warm water and turn the heat up just a little bit each hour.  The frogs keep adjusting till there is nothing left of them.    Don't wait feeling helpless before you do something to get help.

The first step to having the relationship of your dreams is to understand where your are now is not where you want to be and then make a determination to get your life on track.  Set an intention to get your life and where your life/relationship where you want to it to be.  Far too many individuals and couples stay stuck in dysfunctional habits and emotional patterns because they are not clear on what's really happening to them and what they want their life /relationship vision to be.

In these fast changing and troubled times, more and more people are seeking to better understand themselves from a larger context or the META view.  META stands for Above beyone or seeing the situation from a larger context.  META Communication techniques looks at the interaction of couples in relation to the process and deeper needs rather than the content of the communication.  Couples may be fighting about money, children, choirs etc but the real issue will be the META Communication Needs  ("I need to know that I'm important to you." " I need to trust that you are there for me when I need you," " I need to know I'm safe to be seen and comforted by you."  When couples loose perspective of their relationship in the larger context they begin to fight about all sorts of issues never getting anywhere.

Traditional Counseling and Psychotherapy can take years dissecting  life into pieces and may not change anything.Sue Johnson, Ph.D. says " Life and relationships are about our bond not our bargains." 

Many individuals in our society have become disillusion with TV and other forms of medication but do not have the support or confidence to trust that they can find fulfillment in something more than trying to fill their emptiness with external things. 

An Increasing number of individuals are waking up.  They have discovered that having more things only leads to greater unhappiness. Many people are now disillusioned with the commercial banners and drive for money, sex, glamor and status as ways to find greater meaning in life.  People are realizing that that they have been held hostage by corrupt, beliefs, morals and solely profit motive institutions.  


John Gottman in his Couples Research of the Masters and the Disasters found that the average couple took 6 or 7 years to take action after the first sign of trouble.  It's with It’s common to put off facing things that are painful for us.   We tell ourselves that we will do something about it when the kids get older or when I get out of debt, when I’m stronger  or perhaps when the kids are grown etc. Relationships often unconsciously reinforce one another to settle for getting by rather than learning how to take the relationship to the next level.

The other part of delaying our dreams  is that when we continually procrastinate, we become more and more helpless, we get resigned to our fate maybe forever and we are reinforcing the very habits that keep us from having any chance of gaining the relationship of our dreams.

The Gotman research foundation after twenty years of research has identified the qualities that make a difference in being masters or disasters in relationships.  The Disasters has the poorest habits of communication blaming, defensiveness, critical, condescending and inability to connect with nurturing or vulnerability in sharing., This finding suggest that couples who wait risk establishing chronically negative thought and behavior patterns which increase health risks and keep the relationship from growing and resolving issues.”


Taking action  to create the relationship of our dreams takes courage. Nothing changes if nothing changes.  The other problem with putting off facing what doesn't work for us is that we get entrench in bad habits and create increasing stress and trauma to their relationship.

Now is the time to learn how to give and receive the love you want.  As we get older we get more entrenched  in our ways and habits.  When we avoid issues and choose not to take action, we are in reality choosing to delay our dreams – maybe for a few years or maybe forever and we are reinforcing the habits that keep us stuck in the first place. Don’t let another day go by reinforcing helplessness and negative habits.  The time to be free is now,  before it’s too late.

By taking action you begin to break out of your conditional ways of stagnation and trading dreams for nightmares. There is also an old Chinese proverb that says: “If I don’t change the direction I am headed,  I will end up where I’m going…” When we delay, we miss out on life.

The other part of delaying our dreams through procrastination is that we become more and more resigned to our fate for a few years or forever.  By not taking positive action, we are then reinforcing the very habits that keep us from having any chance of gaining the relationship of our dreams.  Decide today to do something to change your life / relationship pattern.


Once you know where you are is not where you want to be, your ready for step three.  Step three is to seek out and gain the support from a coach or therapist who can help you see yourself and your relationship from a boarder perspective. It's also helpful to have someone with skills to to help you overcome your blocks. 

In order to have the relationship of our dreams, we need to be able to get out of our way. Einstein was quoted as saying "we can not solve the problem with the thinking which created the problem" This requires the willingness to get support to see and think differently.   Find someone with greater perspective, who has experience and expertise to get train you in the skills and vision you want.

 In order to step into the life we were meant to have we need the skills of self and other understanding.  When a relationship fails the unresolved wounds from a previous relationship can carry forward into the next bad relationship decreasing our chances for success. 

A recent poll in Orange County discovered that over 50% of singles have given up the idea of dating because of repeated disappointment and the conclusion that  “It’s too painful.”  Couples in relationship who don't have the skills and don't get the skills to effectively communicate are doomed to repeat their mistakes.


Once you've decided to take action and found someone to support you, It’s important to learn how to communicate authentically and gain confidence in practicing the skills you need to create a passionate meaningful relationship.    Nothing changes if nothing changes.  To  truly live  our dreams, we must free ourselves from outdated habits and remove the blocks to be connected to our passion. 

I worked with a husband who worked hard to support his wife.  However,  every time she made a request, he took it as failure on his part.  He reacted in anger didn’t realize that this reaction was from years of grief and loss not being able to please his parents.  He grew up isolated and didn’t know how to get comfort from his parents.

Although he was a competent medical doctor, he didn’t know how to express his hurt or understand the meaning he gave to his feelings since all of his feelings except anger were shameful.

Intimacy can be measured by how safe we are to be vulnerable and connected to feelings and needs that is to our aliveness. For many aliveness and vulnerability were not safe growing up and anything but safe to express in our present relationships. We all have to learn protective habits, which have become default reactions to save us as children but keep us stuck as adults.   

If we don’t get support to overcome our  past and present fears and limiting beliefs, we will only repeat the same mistakes and end up in the same situation again and again.   I see many couples who are willing to fight with each other for long hours but who can barely handle talking about real feelings and needs in a vulnerable manner.

One of the main skills to having the relationship of our dreams is to learn how to be authentically vulnerable and connect to and express feelings and needs.  Most of us have been miss-educated to substitute thoughts / judgments for feelings ie. I feel that.. I feel you should... etc. and confuse needs such as love, understanding support and partnership with strategies / conditions i.e.. I need you to ... (do x). 

We also, unfortunately have learned to replace vulnerable requests with arrogant demands which only guarantee our needs will never get met.   With support  skill training to compassionately listen and vulnerably share what's alive in us. We open the doors to a deeper intimacy and greater compassionate connection. Learning how to compassionately and safely share is the beginning of creating the relationship of our dreams.

 By practicing advanced relationship skills, such as those taught in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Nonviolent Communication, Imago Relationship Therapy, Mars Venus and the Gottman Institute, we can learn new ways to understand our relationships. 

We can learn to develop trust and safety to realize new depths of intimacy wtth freedom and awareness to give naturally without limits. We become genuine healing presences and lovers of authentic aliveness and natural giving.  We engage in nurturing and supporting each other by continually increasing our compassionate presence and our ability to connect to feelings and needs and make requests rather than demands. 

By learning to heal our conditioned reactions from the past, we forgo seeing our partners as enemies and focus on each other's strengths rather than weaknesses.  We become as Gottman says, Masters rather than Disasters and see our relationship transform right in front of us.  We continually gain in our ability to give and receive love based on genuine compassion and authentic expression.  We learn to  live our dreams where once we could only barely imagine them in our daydreams. We learn the true meaning of  Rumi, who said it perfectly when he wrote.


"Out beyond thoughts of right doing and wrong doing,

there is a field, I'll meet you there.

And we shall live and share our dreams if we dare."


We invite individuals, couples, families, and anyone who is receptive to learning and growth, to come in for a counseling session or join us in our six or 12 week coaching sessions to learn state of the art advanced communication skills. We will teach you how to have authentic meaningful relationships and how to be successful in giving and receiving love. 

You will learn concreted skills that you can use right away to better understand  your self and your relationships and  remove blocks to go the next level.   We will show you a step by step process with concrete skills and feedback to learn to be successful. You will receive support and coaching to learn principles and skills to transform all aspects of your life and relationship patterns.  Healing in one area usually translates into healing in other areas of your life

At AIWP, We Support Couples and Individuals To Discover that Conflict Can Open

The Doors To Greater Intimacy.  In six to twelve sessions you can see your relationship from a whole new context and begin making progress to have the love you want and deserve. 


Call today to Find Perfect Peace and Security by Integrating Your Mind, Body and Spirit with Holistic Integrative Pastoral Psychotherapy (HIPP).  949-250-1423

Dr Timothy J Ryan, Ph.D. D.Div. has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Divinity.  He Holds Diplomate status at the American Psychotherapy Association, The American Association for Integrative Medicine and The Pastoral Medical Association as well as others.  He is a Board Certified META Health and META Healing Practitioner, Hypnosis Instructor, Relationship Expert, and N.L.P. Trainer.  He is a Certified Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner and EFT Master Practitioner.

 He has been the Director, Counselor and Workshop Facilitator for AIWP Miracles Ministry since 1994.   He is also certified in many leading state of the art transformational techniques.including Hypnotherapy, Health and Wellness and Meridian Therapies Training.  He Practices as a Licensed Pastoral Psychotherapist and  is a Board Certified Holistic Integrative META Healing Practitioner.

For more information

 see Dr. Timothy Ryan WEB SITE





             TIMOTHY J. RYAN, PH.D, D.DIV.





Tags: Marriage Counseling, Relationship Healing, Couples Psychotherapy Conflict Resolution

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