This last week my wife and I spent two days training with Sharon Hargrave in her Marriage Strong curriculum. There were several reasons why we wanted to attend the training: 1) We know how much working through our Pain and Peace Cycle has transformed our own marriage; 2) We have a desire to lead these groups in our neighborhood, community, and at workshops and conferences; and I in my practice. 3) I absolutely love the work of Terry and Sharon Hargrave.
In 2010 my colleague and good friend Todd Sandel started telling me about these amazing 4 day marriage intensives taking place at The Hideaway Experience in Amarillo, Texas. After going up and sitting in a few of these marriage intensives, I eventually went on staff as one of the therapists, and helped co-lead marriage intensives there until 2014 when I eventually stepped off staff because of time constraints with my own practice and family life. It was here that I learned about the Pain and Peace Cycle through the 5 Days to a New Marriage model developed by Terry Hargrave and Shawn Stoever for The Hideaway. I put this model to work fairly quickly in my own marriage…and it was then that a radical shift took place that has helped us really transform our marriage into what it is today.
I then went back to my therapy practice and began using this model not only with couples, but also individual clients and I saw people’s lives dramatically change. It was through these experiences that I came to realize and really believe in the work of the Pain and Peace Cycle, and I wanted to do everything I could to become a better practitioner of it. So this last year I spent time training with the founder of the Pain and Peace Cycle, Marriage and Family Therapy pioneer, Terry Hargrave. Through my training with him I officially became a Level II certified therapist in Restoration Therapy.
So when my wife and I had the chance to go train in Marriage Strong which has Restoration Therapy as it’s foundational piece, we jumped at the opportunity.
We had a great weekend learning more about each other and talking about how we can intentionally continue to improve our marriage. As we spent time doing this I came to realize that there are a certain number of skills that I think if couples practice, they would benefit greatly from…they would see their marriage shift in some really positive directions.
So in this podcast I took all of my training that I’ve learned at The Hideaway Experience, Restoration Therapy, Marriage Strong, and other things that I’ve learned and developed along the way as a clinician…and I boiled it down to 5 skills. Of course there are a lot of varying skills couples can practice, but instead of always looking for that “silver bullet” to fix everything in a marriage, I think more couples need to really focus on a few skills and just practice…practice…practice…practice…practice. You get the point. Marriages grow and become strong through practice, not through some shiny or sexy new skill that will fix everything.
So in this episode I talk about these 5 skills:
- identifying and practicing awareness around your negative pattern of interaction made up of your feelings and coping (Pain Cycle).
- taking responsibility for yourself (your Pain Cycle) and learning to emotionally regulate yourself, rather than expecting your spouse to.
- identifying and developing your positive pattern of interaction made up of your truth and action (Peace Cycle)
- learning how to problem solve out of your Peace Cycle.
- fostering your sense of “usness” in the marriage.
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Resources and People Mentioned in the Episode
The Hideaway Experience
5 Days to a New Marriage
Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Using the Restoration Therapy Model to Transform You, Your Relationships, Churches, Organizations, and Corportations
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Plano, TX. I specialize in relationships, both marriage and non-marital, as well as working with individual men and women, and adolescent boys. Some of the topics that I specialize in are anxiety, depression, transitions, spiritual issues, and all forms of relational struggles. I am the author of the books The Anxious Christian, and What it Means to be a Man. Check out my weekly podcast where I interview guests and cover a lot of these same topics.
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