ERP 383: 4 Ways To Deepen Love & Intimacy In Your Relationship — An Interview With Eri Kardos

By Posted in - Podcast August 1st, 2023 0 Comments

As we navigate the highs and lows of being in a relationship, it’s essential to cultivate and nurture the connection we share with our partner. Whether you’re a newly formed couple or have been together for years, there’s always room to deepen the love and intimacy you both experience. 

In this episode, we’ll explore four powerful and actionable steps to enhance your bond, foster open communication, and create a more fulfilling and loving partnership. 

Let’s embark on this journey together and discover the keys to a more profound and intimate relationship with your loved one.

Eri Kardos is the founder of Relearn Love, LLC. Her mission is to help people experience ease with love and relationships for more fun and fulfilling connections. She works with clients across six continents ranging from top tech executives and Hollywood celebrities to ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Eri is the author of the best-selling book, Relationship Agreements: A Simple and Effective Guide for Strengthening Communication, Reducing Conflict, and Increasing Intimacy to Design Your Ideal Relationship.

In this Episode

5:45 Erin Cardoso’s mission to enhance fulfilling connections. 

10:41 Balancing masculine and feminine energies in relationships. 

16:33 Embracing conflict with respect and love: A transformational journey. 

21:11 Exploring the relearn love model: From curiosity to celebration. 

25:53 Cultivating knowledge and learning tools. 

33:43 Making sustainable and joyful changes in your relationship. 

39:08 The power of acknowledging and celebrating progress in relationships.

45:29 The importance of being present and focused on the now. 

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Practise active listening: Give your partner your full attention and validate their feelings to foster effective communication.
  • Set relationship goals together: Discuss your aspirations and desires as a couple to create a shared vision for your future.
  • Be open and honest with each other about your emotions and fears to build trust and intimacy.
  • Seek to understand each other’s perspectives and find common ground to resolve disagreements constructively.
  • Establish regular activities or moments that strengthen your bond, such as date nights or heartfelt conversations.
  • Express your love and gratitude for each other’s efforts and qualities regularly.
  • Prioritize self-care: Take care of your individual well-being, as it contributes to the health and happiness of the relationship.
  • Keep the romance alive: Engage in spontaneous gestures of affection and surprise to keep the spark alive in your relationship.

Mentioned

Teammates (*free masterclass)

Relationship Agreements: A Simple and Effective Guide for Strengthening Communication, Reducing Conflict, and Increasing Intimacy to Design Your Ideal Relationship (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

Imago Relationship Therapy

ERP 303: How to Create Safe Conversations — An Interview with Drs. Harville Hendrix & Helen Lakelly Hunt

Relationship Map To Happy, Lasting Love

Connect with Eri Kardos

Websites: relearnlove.com

Instagram: instagram.com/coacherikardos

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/erikardos

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Eri Kardos, thank you so much for being here. 

So good to be here, Jessica. Thank you for having me. 

Yes. I’ve just enjoyed chatting with you, and the warmth and just the purpose, and so much of what I feel for me in the way that you live. So I know we’re in for a treat today. We’re going to be talking about one of your ways in which you provide support to people in the way of relationship, and you have a four-step system. But before we go there, I want to hear a little bit more about what got you into supporting people in the way of relationship, if you wouldn’t mind to share?

I’d love to. I feel like it’s been a lifelong calling. Some people just know in their soul, they’re supposed to do something, and I feel very blessed to have known that most of my life for two big areas. One, I always knew I was meant to be a mom, and I am. The other one was, I just knew I was meant to help people and had something to do with love. So as I was growing up, I got to see that model in really beautiful ways by my parents who teach marriage workshops at their church. So I already had an early example of that. Then when I was 14, I was chosen to start learning how to do peer mentoring. I was like: Oh, this is amazing. Then I went on to study sexual psychology and loved that. Throughout my development of even different skillsets, when I got my MBA, it was like, I really wanted to focus on human resources, and how can we bring in the skills into leadership, and working for Amazon.com doing leadership development. 

So what really changed the course for me from staying on this like, okay, I always knew relationships were a thing, but what kind of relationships? Then I got to have these really beautiful, intimate conversations with a lot of my leaders in the tech industry, once the trust was established. The big turning point for me was, when I was getting these conversations over and over and over again, where people were feeling lonely, really lonely, and they would share this. They’d say, “Would it be okay to speak with you about my life at home, not just in the office?” And whether they were married and their marriages were falling apart, or they were single and they were seeking love. Either way, they felt really lonely. So I said, “Would you be open to me coaching you on this, too? It happens to be part of my background.” They said: “Yeah, that’d be great. 

Free Two Men Lying on Green Grass Stock Photo

“So what I found is that as I was coaching people about the bedroom stuff, the boardroom stuff started shifting too; people were happier and more fulfilled. I was having this crazy ripple effect into the rest of the team.”

The ROIs were just like, I didn’t expect to see an organizational shift just from working with one person around their love life. It was beautiful. I was so inspired, I thought: If I can do this here, I could do this anywhere. So I decided to leave Amazon and started touring the world. I wrote a best-selling book called Relationship Agreements, and started a company called ReLearn Love. Our team really focuses on helping people look at their relationships, look at how they communicate, look at how they handle their emotions, look at how they show up and how they take ownership of their past and the things they might have learned around what is love or relationships, how do you be in one, and understand that all of us probably learned some inefficient ways of being in a relationship that don’t always serve us. How can you shift that? How can you really change the emphasis to take the time to invest in ourselves and our relationships, and learn how to grow? Which is very different. I feel like there’s a lot of stigma around learning about being in love and being in relationships. Like, when I decided to start my own business, everyone was like: Okay, you have to hire the best business coach. Or when I am a dancer, it’s like, of course, I’m going to go hire a dance teacher to teach me these moves that they’ve already worked on. But when it comes to relationships, it’s like: “Oh, if you’re going to work with a coach or a therapist, there’s obviously something wrong with you.” It’s this crushing feeling of shame and guilt, and like, “I should be good at something. Disney tells me it should be that easy.” 

So for me, it was really like, well, if I’ve been interested in these kinds of subjects my entire life and I’m not getting it right, then what about everyone else who hasn’t had the time to invest, and what if we start looking at this in a whole new way? And what are the patterns I’m seeing with myself and my husband, and then with my clients, and how can we apply all of this? How do we relearn love in a whole new way? That’s been my passion now and my joy, and what I get to do when I’m not being a mom, and a dancer, and a wife, and a traveler. It’s really good.

You sound so dynamic. I just appreciate your welcoming the different facets of who you are, and what brings you joy and purpose and meaning. It feels, if I may project for a moment, it feels very in the feminine. If I think about more Western culture, and the compartmentalizing that we might do, that even as you’re describing how this emerged that people were seeking, and you saw and you even invited into deeper conversation around relationship, and what transpired around that and how healing, and also how it provided such a richness that translated to many spheres. So it’s not perhaps so compartmentalized as we imagine it to be, and you’re bringing testament to that. I echo and can endorse how the relational work and the healing can impact other areas in such profound, beautiful ways. So I love that you are able to say that right here right now. It’s really sweet. Would you agree that it feels less compartmentalized than maybe we might imagine?

Oh, incredibly so. I work with a lot of different people with different backgrounds. But I come from the tech industry, so there’s a lot of masculine energy. Men or women doesn’t matter, but there’s a lot of focus on: Stay in your head, find the system, be as efficient as possible, get in, get out. I think it really takes this blending of the masculine and the feminine, and to know that there are systems and processes in how you can be in relationship that work more efficiently. And it takes the ability to tune in, and be in your intuition, to be in your emotions. So you have all of that within you whoever you are, and knowing that it doesn’t need to be in a little perfect box, but the box contains multitudes; you contain multitudes. 

Yes, thank you. I love just the value of both the masculine energy and the feminine energy, and any individual, I believe every person has both. That these can be complementary, they can be supportive, and what can come from the working, to get the masculine and the feminine relating and working together can be really powerful. 

Just even with the company name, ReLearn and how you’re sharing, I guess I’m hearing, I want to check this out with you, that just even in the name, recognizing many of us either haven’t had the best model. It sounds like you’re unique, in that you actually got to see your parents practicing and supporting people in relationship skills and marriage principles, which is beautiful. But not everybody had that modeling. Then the way that we learn to negotiate relationships, sometimes we do the best we can. But then when we come into adulthood, that those old ways of being maybe don’t serve us any longer or have certain side effects. So the relearning, is that really helping people expand their ability and their skillset in relationship?

Completely, and you nailed it. You just walked us through so succinctly. 

Free Two Men Being Affectionate Stock Photo

“I would just say that, oftentimes, I find that people have this resistance to doing the work, to doing the work of learning, like what it means to be skillful in relationships. It’s like, so many people don’t want to learn the tools.”

I remember when my husband and I started dating, we each had some ideas of requirements of what we wanted our other person to learn about, or share, or where we went deeper. I said, well, I really want you to learn Imago dialogue, which is a form of therapy, a really wonderful tool for communicating and listening. I remember, we practiced a few times, and he was all about it. But then when it was time, when the rubber hit the road, he wouldn’t use it. I remember him saying, like, “Who talks like this? No one talks like this!” I’m like, “Exactly, no one talks like this, and that’s why we keep getting into these fights.” Finally, one day, I think three fights into our relationship, he just turned around and started using the tool. It was so smooth, and at the end, he was like, “Why doesn’t everybody do this?” 

Because you’re already using something, if you think that your way of doing things is the “right way” or it’s working for you. But if you’re not actually experiencing love with ease, then you learned it, how to be in a relationship, in some way that isn’t serving you. You learned it from your parents, your caregivers; it wasn’t taught to you in school, most likely. So you did learn something, and now you have the opportunity, this invitation to learn a whole new way that’s going to serve you now and make life more fun and pleasurable. Fights that might take people weeks to get through can now be done in hours, 20 minutes. You get so much time back and so much energy back. 

I remember going to work after a conflict with my spouse. I couldn’t focus on anything, I felt so drained. It’s like, it sucks so much out of you when you’re not feeling connected and free in that relationship. And you’re waiting for the text message from them, like, what’s it going to say? Or you never get a text message from them. Everything is hinging on that. Instead, if you can just get back into harmony, quickly. Have the tools, get back into harmony, and be that way. It’s like, why can’t we all do that? It’d be awesome.

Yes. The work you’re doing and the work I’m doing, and people in the world that are supporting people and these relationship principles. I so appreciate just what you’re speaking to both of what I heard you say a moment ago around just culturally the messaging with Disney, or just that this isn’t something. I think it’s changing with podcasts and books, that collectively, our consciousness around seeking relationship support, we’re more open to now than maybe we have been. But if we do look at the lineage of this, it’s the idea that something’s wrong if we’re to seek to get support, and it feels really foreign. It’s such an intimate space, how do we reach for support? I get there’s a lot of barriers, and that makes a lot of sense. 

The other thing I’m hearing you speak to is resistance, and I think this shows up in any. I had some major resistance. So I play a lot of beach volleyball, I haven’t been playing since my husband and I have been traveling the US trying to figure out where our next home is. But we have been playing. We’re currently in Asheville, North Carolina, soon to be launching to another place. But I feel very comfortable with a lot of the movements, and there’s the attack, which is the hitting, and there’s many things that go into it. I recognize, even with having gotten coaching, there’s some barrier there and resistance that I have. I realized I could work on that if I really needed to and wanted to excel, it’s a recreational hobby. 

But it’s amazing what you’re speaking to, and I’m sure we can all identify areas of resistance if we’ve done something in a certain way. So with volleyball, I learned just playing pickup; I never played in college or high school, so I didn’t really get the fundamentals. So I have these just bad habits that are hard to break. So to your point, even if it’s not the most easy, or the most efficient, or even most comfortable or powerful movement, I still do my old way. Because it’s what I know, it’s what’s comfortable, it’s what’s familiar. To your point, like your husband is like, who does this? It seems so awkward and foreign, and to question it from the standpoint of weird or odd or something. Yet when he got into practice and saw what it could offer, it was like, why don’t we all do this? It was very much a total game changer.

Huge shift. My husband’s name is Jaymin Patel. I love this thing he always says: “You’re either in pattern or you’re in practice.” It’s like, we have these patterns, and we love being uncomfortable in our own misery; we’re comfortable in our own discomfort. It’s like, if you love a way of doing things, it’s enough, and getting through that and breaking out of that into a new practice is so hard. It’s so hard. But it doesn’t have to be, especially if you know how to move through that system a little bit with more ease and bringing the fun. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play; you can actually have fun along the way. Then people around you are going to start noticing. 

Free Couple Having a Conflict Stock Photo

“We fight in front of our children, and it’s very important that we do. Because how else are they going to learn how to navigate conflict?”

My parents, I would say, would disappear. They’re amazing, they did wonderful modeling. And they’re not perfect. I would know when they were in a fight because they would disappear to my dad’s office in the basement, and I’d just hear yelling. Then they’d come upstairs at some point in time, and it’d be weird in the house energetically for a day or so, and then it’d be back to normal. So I didn’t really know how to fight or handle conflict, and I had to learn that on my own. I knew how to, which was, run away, go someplace else. Then something happens, sometimes shouting. It’s like, that’s not what I want our children to know. I want them to see mom and dad handle conflict with respect and love, and we know what to do with our emotions and how to release that in front of each other. They know that they don’t have to be afraid if mommy’s hitting a pillow, or daddy’s hitting a pillow, and that we’re just expressing where we’re at. Then turning around and making clear requests in our experience in real-time. 

Now our six and seven-year-old can do that. They can tune in and they can say where they’re at and what they need, and it’s incredible. People around us will hear us fight and they’re like, “What did you just do? That was wild! To witness you guys, and you didn’t move away from us.” We’ll be respectful of the space and where we’re at in our conversations. But we’re not going to hide it from our friends either. It’s like, we want you to see that there’s a way that we can do this, and that you can do it too.

Okay, I love that there’s a real example that you’re providing, that you’re living into in real-time and space, and being open and making that visible to your community and family. There’s something really important about what the message you’re sending too, around the confidence and the belief in your process, and also a bit of the pattern interrupt, even culturally. So you’re saying, let’s not be hiding, let’s not try to go this alone, especially when you spoke about lonely, how isolated we all are in our little nuclear relationship, whatever that structure looks like. I think this is really important. 

The other thing I’m hearing you speak to is, oh, I have so many questions in my mind. But I want to comment really quickly on the level of awareness that it sounds like both you and your husband are in practice with. This is new material for some, and it was for everyone at some point, to challenge old ways of doing things and to come into new ways, that there could be some resistance in that, and to build the awareness. Still even for myself, I teach this stuff, I coach, I work with my clients, and I am so committed to my own personal work. But there’s definite places that I’m like, oh! Whether or not I’m getting feedback, some mirroring from either my husband or something in my life, my body discomfort, or something’s alerting me to something’s happening. I still need to take the time, because sometimes I’m not aware, to get clear, before I can be in a place of engaging. Because if I don’t even know what I’m feeling like, how do I identify it? So part of what I’m hearing is there’s a process here.

Oh, there’s totally a process for all of this. Some people process faster than others; some people are external processors, and some are internal processors. My husband and I are pretty much opposite on every personality test. So we have had to find the ways in the middle for everything. But it’s very entertaining.

It’s good curriculum. All right, I know you have a four-step system, and I can just already appreciate that I would love to just conversate with you for a long time. But to also get to some of what we wanted to talk about today. Where would you like to start with the four-step system?

Yeah, let me just walk you through the four steps of the ReLearn Love model, and we can see just what pops up. If you want to pause on the way, all good. But just high-level: first one is curiosity, second one is cultivate knowledge, third one is change, and fourth one is celebrate. 

I’ll break those down. For a lot of people, and I’d say with each stage of this model, people fall off; they don’t even start. So if you’re listening to this podcast right now, you’ve already reached phase one and phase two. So phase one is just really getting clear on being curious, just noticing that something doesn’t feel in my system. I wonder if. I wonder if this relationship could be easier. I wonder if we could fight less. I wonder if our intimacy could be deeper. I wonder if we could have more fun. Just having that curiosity is a big deal. I find that really, the stress levels, especially around the US right now, but globally, are super high. It’s like, there’s financial stress, and there’s work stress, and there’s family stress, and there’s health stress, it’s just like one thing after another, environmental stress. There’s just so many things happening. So that when we do get a moment to pause, we oftentimes just want to auto-regulate or go into the numbing or checking out. It’s just like, Netflix is a great option, scrolling on social media is a great option, and staying out of the feelings feels a great option. Unfortunately, that keeps us out of the curiosity, and keeps us from really looking at what else is possible. Because it already feels like a lot, and it is a lot. But what if the curiosity could lead you to taking off some of the pressure? What if it could lead to more joy and ease? That is a big step. So I celebrate anybody who’s listening, because that means you’re already curious about what else is possible.

I have a quick question. So I love, first of all, just what you’re saying about the curiosity. As we move through this model, I’m wondering and imagining that this can be worked with both in a micro and in a macro, because you’re talking about looking at the system of the relationship and the functioning of that, and that might be bigger picture. Whereas we might have an interaction or a moment where there’s something that feels challenging, and we could apply curiosity to that specific moment. Is that right that they could be both? 

Totally, I love that. No one’s ever brought it up, but yes. I love this. One of the ways that me personally, and other people, you can try it if you want, you’re like, what do I get curious about? At any time, I feel two things. One, I call it a wobble. It feels like something didn’t feel right; maybe there’s no words, but something in his interaction didn’t feel right, or something in our bigger relationship pattern doesn’t feel right. Then the other way is judgment. Do you feel like you’re judging something or someone, or do you feel like you’re being judged? Anytime there’s that judgment involved, it’s like: “Oh, what if I pause and turn that into curiosity? Why do I feel like I’m being judged? Why am I so annoyed by my partner right now?”

I just am grateful you brought that up, because I was like, ah! Even when you were posing examples of the wondering, my mind, even though I wasn’t necessarily going to my specific relationship, I feel that if there’s an opening in the questions that are curious, that I start feeling like, every single question you posed, I was like: Yes, there’s possibility. Yes, there’s possibility. So it just seems to be a great setup for more information, more possibility. And when you talk about the judgment, or perhaps even just what we might be operating in habitual, this is the way it is, which can be judgement too that that cuts off the curiosity. Is that right?

Totally, and that really locks us in. Especially, I look at people who have been in relationships, and there’s this idea that I think a lot of people have this internal belief system that our partner is supposed to stay the same. Like, we met them, we fell in love with them, they’re going to be the same person today. and in two months, and in two years, and in two decades; we have permission to change, but they don’t. Our relationship definitely needs to stay the way it was in the beginning. 

Free 
Women Kissing Each Other Stock Photo

“We evolve, and people evolve, and new relationship energy fades, and mature relationship energy comes in. It’s like: Oh, what can we discover now? But if we don’t keep the curiosity, and we just lock ourselves or our partner or our relationship in a box, it doesn’t lead to anything great.”

Totally. Another form of judgment, or could even be an added thing, is the control. When we feel threatened or we feel the wobble, it’s easy to want to go into the judgment around like: what’s wrong with us, what’s wrong with you, what’s wrong with me? Or even just that sense of needing to hold tightly, which again, constricts the flow of wonder and curiosity, I imagine. 

Totally. These two words are part of the model, but they’re not in the four steps. But the two words that really touch home on the balancing act, we talked earlier about the masculine and feminine energies. I just find that oftentimes the feminine energy really wants safety; sometimes it looks like control, but we’re seeking safety. Then the masculine energy really wants freedom, and that can also look like control. How do I control my freedom and get that sense, and how do I control my sense of safety? It doesn’t have to be one or the other. I laugh, our family is called The Life of And Family, because we’re always looking for what else is possible? You don’t have to choose one or the other; what if you could have awesome jobs, and be parents, and travel the world, and have our own meaningful individual lives? And, and, and. So instead of looking for the or, which happens a lot, it’s like, how do we blend the safety and the freedom and co-create that together in this whole structure? Because you can have it all.

Yes, and asking that question. If we don’t even ask the question and have the belief that it’s possible, likely, we’re not going to get a lot of potential ideas around how to create that. 

Okay, awesome. Thank you for pausing with me there. So the next one is?

Cultivate knowledge. So cultivating knowledge is really when you’re going out and you’re learning, you’re becoming a student again. It’s like: Oh okay, so I want to become a dancer, I want to become an engineer. Okay, now, how are we going to do it? Let’s go out and learn. Today, we’re really fortunate, in many ways, to have access to so many amazing resources, like your podcast and your different articles and the work you do. And at the same time, we also have access to a bunch of crap. Google is helpful to a certain extent, and it’s also misleading at times, and it’s not what people always need. 

So I would say, taking the time to decide to really do your research and find out what are the best tools to cultivate the knowledge that’s going to help me in my situation, and really being thoughtful about where you’re going to go to, and learn the tools that we know work; there’s some science behind it, there’s some time spent and data collected to show that this thing works, and it works for different people. Because a lot of times people will try something that doesn’t work, and then they get so frustrated, it didn’t work for me, and they drop out. Or they find something that just left a bad taste in their mouth, and then it’s even harder to get going. 

So taking the time to really cultivate your own knowledge about the tools that work. It could be maybe an amazing retreat. It could be learning a whole new system, and there are whole new systems that are out there that are just incredible, and I’ve seen entire family systems and organizations and relationships transform through them. So really cultivating that knowledge. 

Now, before I jump to the third step, I’m just going to mention it. Again, each step along the way, people fall off. So some people never get curious. Okay, you got curious, now you are going to go learn. Great! Our society loves learning. We love put things in our brains. We’re so good at it. We can consume 800 podcasts a week, listen to three audiobooks at the same time. But it’s like, well, how do you really then? So the third step is to take it from our heads and drop it down into our bodies. How do we let it come into our heart and our bodies and the somatic experience, and really integrate it into our systems? Because if you leave it up here in our brains, it’s going to be like sitting on the shelf pretty much, and not be useful. Just like when my husband said, who talks like this? He had the tool, he learned the tool. But he didn’t use the tool. It wasn’t integrated into his system; he didn’t turn it on. So if he didn’t turn it on, what’s the point? Yes, I know all about this thing, I’ve read all about it, I’ve even learned the steps. But if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it or it’s not going to be helpful. Then it’s like, why did you invest so much in it?

Totally. I feel like there’s a quote, and it might be attributed to Mary Morrissey. But she might actually be quoting someone else, I’ll have to look and I’ll put it on the show notes. But something to the effect of: Information without action is merely entertainment.

Yes, I love that so much.

Because we can entertain a lot of ideas. But to your point, if we’re not integrating it, applying it, we’re likely not going to get the experience and the transformation of it.

Okay, so with the cultivation of knowledge, I just want to comment really quickly that it sounds as though you’re really inviting some discernment on the front-end, because this is valuable energy. As much as we all might like to think we have endless time and endless life, this is precious; our energy is really precious. So if we’re going to engage in certain support tools, guidance, material courses, curriculum, podcasts, books, all the things, that you’re inviting a real discernment around how we do that. 

Before we move on to the third, I’m just curious, do you have any way that you guide people to have more discernment? I like that you’re referencing, well, where is this coming from? Is there research here? Have they done a level of work to arrive at these findings and the results that they’re getting, which feels like very clear criteria? Then I also wonder if there’s a sense of resonance. Sometimes people can have similar research, but then the delivery or how they offer it can be different for different people, the style of it. But I’m curious, what do you help people with? Or do you suggest anything to help people navigate? Because there’s so much out there, to your point.

So much out there. For me, I really like the combination of both the masculine and feminine approaches. I really like the balance. So for me, I’m like, I’m going to go out and do a little bit of research. Google, again, has great data for if I want some help on navigating conflict, what are the best resources out there for that. Like, who has this data? You might find places like the Gottman Institute on there, who have just done so much work for decades and decades. And you’ll find other people too, maybe with their program or others, where you’re like: Oh, this feels really good. This feels like it’s meeting some criteria that it’s legit. It’s been around for a little while. It’s not just like, we declared ourselves a coach yesterday, and so now here we are. There’s some experience there. 

Then on the other side, there’s your intuition. You need to know, like, and trust somebody to share this vulnerable space with them. So even if it’s a video course they’re doing, if you’re not choosing to go deep in the one-on-one space, or if you’re going deep in a group course, you need to make sure you can really trust your guide. Who are you inviting to be your leader, your teacher, your guide in this journey? If there’s a part of you that if something’s not sitting well, you’re not going to be able to be all in, and you’re not going to be able to trust that. So really taking the time to be like, does this feel in alignment with me and my values and how I want to show up in the world? Are they modeling what they are teaching? Are they walking their talk? If they’re not, then let’s look somewhere else; there are plenty of fish in the sea, let’s find the one for you. 

Wonderful. Thank you for slowing down for that, I just wanted to give people a little bit more there. Okay, walk us through the third.

Yeah, so there’s change. That’s really where we’re integrating all the learnings, and again, we’re dropping it from the headspace, bringing it into the body, bringing it into the heart, bringing it into the emotions, and noticing what’s here, when we actually make time? This is oftentimes the hardest part for people to bring it in and really say: Okay, we’re going to honor this thing we just learned, how are we going to do that? Any change? There’s so much data around, like, it takes like a minimum of 30 days of doing something to really shift things. Okay, so how are we going to navigate this together? How can we make this a team effort? How can we hold each other accountable? Do we need somebody outside of our relationship to help hold us accountable to this? Are we going to practice in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming? If we’ve got careers and kids, what is the way we can spend the five minutes before bed doing this, or find the bite-sized way that we can? 

My husband and I do a reunion ritual. So whenever we see each other, after we’ve been apart for a while, we prioritize our couple bubble and we go on and we hug each other, and we hold for just 10 seconds to two minutes, depending on how much time and energy we’ve got, just breathe and co-regulate, and it’s just so nice. That is our system reset, and guess what we’re modeling for everyone around us? It’s like this is how we are prioritizing ourselves and grounding and resetting before we move forward. It took us usually around 30 seconds to do to get back in the world, but we’re choosing those little bite-sized moments to be present, that really are the game changers. So find out how can I integrate this in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming? How can I integrate this in a way that feels like, we can do this? It’s something that we can take on, and we can take on with joy, and then we can celebrate it when we’ve done it. 

Grateful for just your example. Also, you’re mentioning that it can be broken down into doable steps. Because I think when we talk about resistance, or even changing habits, or the fear of the unknown, that it can be a really big leap to try to expect so much change to happen quickly. You’re talking about the system, you’re talking about practice, and how we learn; we learn through repetition, feeling it in the body, the felt sense. And just the empowerment that you’re also describing here around what’s going to make this doable, what’s going to help us stay the course, whether or not it’s accountability, extra support, having a system that we feel excited about or interested in. These are all really important ways of showing up for it. Because I mean, as humans, we’re likely just to go back to normal or the default.

Yeah, and default is so comfortable, and we’ve had decades to practice it. We do have a way of communicating. We do have a way of being ourselves or being in a relationship. We do have a way that we want to be loved or that we’re showing love or that we’re holding back love. And we have our own trauma responses, and we’ve got all these things we’ve had for decades. So to expect an overnight switch, this isn’t McDonald’s. We really want the slow home-cooked meal, the nourishing, and you don’t have to gorge yourself in three minutes. But it’s going to be lasting. So that you’re like: Oh, that was so good, and it wasn’t overwhelming, and I feel just really great in my whole system. 

Okay. Before we go to the fourth, which I know our time is limited, so I’ll keep it short here, that there’s a prioritization that you’re speaking to, to really be mindful and intentional. We can’t do everything all at once. Possibly, we as individuals in a relationship will do things individually, and then there are things that are shared and the relationship. I’m curious, do you offer anything around how to prioritize? Is it just what feels like most urgent? Is it what feels the most compelling or exciting? How do you decide what to prioritize?

That’s a great question. I would say what feels most alive for you. If you’re working with a professional, they’re going to help give you that guidance too. And when I’m talking with my clients, I say, I need to know where you’re at. It’s like, I can give you a truckload of things you can do. But it’s not going to get where you want to go. I can fill your whole life with relationship stuff, if you want. But really, what feels alive for you in the moment, and what practices are going to get you there the fastest with the most long-lasting impact? That is what we’re going to focus on. That’s why I think working one-on-one with a professional is so incredibly transformational and powerful, because they can hear about your exact situation that you’re in. They’ve seen this God knows how many times before, which most people don’t understand. People are like: “Oh my gosh, our situation is so unique. Have you ever heard about a situation like this?” I’m like, yes! 

Free Young Couple Stock Photo

“If we all talked about, openly, the things that happen in our relationship, or our emotions, or how we handle different things, or our desires that we think are so taboo or we shouldn’t want them, or whatever is there. If we all shared that, it would just normalize the fact that what we’re experiencing is normal.”

You and I get to hear that behind the scenes and be like: Oh no, it’s okay, honey. It’s really, where you are at and what you’re experiencing is valid; your truth is valid, whatever that is, and it’s “normal,” people are experiencing this. So for me, I think it’s really looking at how can we invite people into the best practices that we know work the best? If you aren’t clear on that, then I recommend going back to who are you choosing to work with, where are you cultivating knowledge from? Because those that know what they’re doing and have the tools and have the experience will be able to bring you to where you want to go fast,

Thank you. Okay, wonderful. The step four, or the celebration.

Celebration! Again, this is another place where people fall off. I think about what it was like for me growing up, and I think for many people around the globe, it’s like we are born into a story. It’s like a never-ending escalator. It’s like, here’s what you’re going to do, here’s your life path; you’re going to go to school, you get accepted into a good college, and then you’re going to get a great job, and you’re going to get married, and then you’re going to get a house, and you’re going to have kids. It’s like, boom, boom, boom, always! Like, you know your whole plan, it’s laid out for you. The second you start, it’s like: Oh, I met a person. Then the parents are like, are you official, are you going to get engaged? It’s like, we can’t just be in the fact that we’re right here now. Because what about next? So as soon as we get to that next level of even wanting, whatever that is, most of us don’t actually celebrate it. Then it’s like, maybe we will give ourselves five minutes for a dinner, and that’s it. Then we’re on to the next, how can I be good enough at the next thing, how can I achieve the next? We’re so achievement-focused. Ah, and how much pressure is that? If we’re always worried about the future or thinking about or regretting the past and not being present and really celebrating and allow ourselves to be there, nothing really lands; we’re always just running. It’s exhausting.

It is exhausting, and we’re disembodied likely.

Completely. Say more about that, please.

Well, even as you’re talking, knowing your background to the sexual intimacy and a psychology that you’ve done the work. Just so often, if we’re in the task mode or taskmaster mode, or this achievement, it’s always this next, which is outside of the moment, which hasn’t happened yet. It’s outside of the body. It’s a lot of imagination, projection, planning, strategizing. Again, those are really useful exercises, and have a time and a place. And if that’s what we’re constantly running, often, we’re losing touch with our felt sense, our here and now, the contact of experience. That is very important for relating and being in connection with others, through even just sharing space and being present and attuned, or whether or not it’s your conversation, or with the chosen person to be intimate and sexual. And how we need typically to have that felt body full system online, to have that contact and the availability and the capacity to have deeper levels of intimacy. Even with self, just as we were talking about a little bit ago around how do I convey or express to someone else if I’m not even clear on what’s true or where I’m holding tension or what’s happening for me, and all these wondering questions and the curiosity. So yes, it feels so important when we’re talking about being in service of relating and relearning how to love.

So important. It is that bow, or the frosting on the cake that is important. It’s a critical piece of really laying this land. Historically, and we look at tribal cultures around the world, they all have an emphasis on the ceremony and the celebration. It’s like, what if we took our time to really be in that and witness that? There’s just so much there, and I think that’s what lets things settle. It’s the exhale.

Yes, and there’s a place for it. There’s a real invitation, and with that intention, we can more fully arrive. Just as you’re describing ritual and ceremony, it’s like, there’s a place for this, I long for it. But if I don’t give it a marker or a placeholder, I might not do it. Can you give us a couple examples? I know we’re winding down here. But how do you encourage people to celebrate, anything you want to say about what this could look like?

I would say, what brings you joy? If you don’t know, because some people are like, “I don’t know. I don’t even know what brings me joy.” So in my ReLearn Love Program, my private coaching program, I teach people about the power of nice dates. So these are dates that are new, interesting, challenging, and exciting. If you do things that are new, interesting, challenging, and exciting, they light up the parts of the brain that were lit up when we were newly in love or falling in love. Dopamine. You can have fun. You just did so much work and play together, now have some fun and let it land as a beautiful memory with that little dopamine hit. It’s a nice little topper. 

One fun way too, if you’re like I seriously don’t know even what to do, go on to Airbnb Experiences and check out local things around you of like: Oh, I mean, I could do that right next door. Oh, I didn’t know I could go to this horse petting zoo. Or I could go break plates with a baseball bat, that sounds cool. Or maybe you think about what you still love as a child, and then you guys do that together. Like, I used to love bubble bath. Great. Go to the store, buy that giant thing of kids’ bubble bath, like the biggest bubble thing you can find, and make a bath together. That can be part of your celebration. It doesn’t have to be a week-long trip to Hawaii. It can just be a moment that’s present and meaningful where you’re choosing to say: “I recognize the journey we’ve been on, and here we are. Before we move on to the next chapter, let’s just be here now and celebrate this.”

Ah, I want more of that. I can definitely feel how easy it is for me to be in the mental space of next, next. I do my best to pause for these rituals and making time and space. I love just how you’re saying it could be in small moments. It doesn’t have to be this big, elaborate thing that takes so much energy. 

Eri, this has been so beautiful. Thank you for walking us through your four step system. Is there anything you want to say before we turn towards how people can get in touch with you?

I just would say, in the beginning, I was talking about there are two main words that show up in this cycle of the four C’s: of the curiosity, and the cultivating knowledge, and the change, and the celebration. It is bringing a balance of the safety and the freedom. 

Free A Bride and Groom Together  Stock Photo

“At the heart of the entire thing is, when you feel safe and free to be yourself, that’s when you are authentically you. And when you’re authentically you, and your partner is authentically themselves, this is where the relationship can just take off to a whole new levels.”

This is where the importance of relearning love comes in. Because when you get to live and love as yourself, which you probably haven’t gotten to honestly do, like, wow! So much is possible. 

Wonderful. Well, for people that would like to know more or engage in one of your programs or coaching with you, where would you like to invite people to connect with you?

Sure. So if you’d like to learn more, you can visit me and my team at ReLearnLove.com. I have a free gift on there for a masterclass about becoming teammates and really feeling like you’re on the same team as your partner again. Then, I’m also on Instagram @CoachEriKardos. You can find my best-selling book, Relationship Agreements, on Amazon and Audible. My husband and I just released it this year, the Audible version was really fun to record.

That’s so great. So I’ll make sure to have all those links on today’s show notes. For the website, what might people find in addition to the free gift you’re offering for the masterclass around teammates, what else might they find?

Yes, there’s several different resources, different blog entries, and then there’s also information about my different programs. I have one called Rekindle, which is a Do It Yourself program all about dating, and it’s really fun. It’s six weeks of dates that I’ve already designed for you. So it could be your dating domino tricks [52:35 indistinct], if you will. It’s done through training videos on the art of dating your spouse or your partner. So you can really have this rekindled connection again, with a lot of fun. It’s really based on how can we have fun together again, and bring that curiosity piece back in, and a little bit of the cultivating knowledge with the video trainings. There’s also information on my private couples’ program and my private singles program, all about relearning love.

Wonderful! Well, I am excited to invite people to check those out. It sounds like you’re just doing so many great things for people. 

Eri, thank you so much for being here today and sharing so much of all that you’ve experienced, your heart, your knowledge, your guidance with us here today.

It’s such a pleasure. I loved speaking with you. Thanks, Jessica.

Signing Off

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here. 

Thank you so much for your interest in improving your relationship. 

Also, I would so appreciate your honest rating and review. Please leave a review by clicking here

Thank you!  

*With Amazon Affiliate Links, I may earn a few cents from Amazon, if you purchase the book from this link.

Please leave a Comment

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
and strengthen the connection with your partner.

SEND ME THE FREE GUIDE

Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching