If the player doesn’t show, you can click here to listen: WEfulness 001 – The 2 Minute Miracle
For further information, you can read the article that inspired the broadcast: 2 Minute Miracle by Shane Adamson
(Please note: The audio is transcribed “as is,” spoken grammar glitches and all.)
Welcome to Wefulness where we discuss the science of profound connection. I am WEfulness co-director Gregory Blake. Today we are talking with relationship expert Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen. Besides being a professional psychologist and licensed counselor, she is also my co-editor and the professional voice at WEfulness.com.
G: Hi Becca, it’s great to finally get in touch with you.
R: Oh yeah, it’s so good to talk to you. I’ve really been looking forward to today.
G: The reason I wanted to talk to you today was mostly because of something you sent me from a colleague of yours the other day. I believe the title is “The 2 Minute Miracle” and I was wondering if you could talk first about the issue he was trying to address.
R: So yes, a colleague of mine, Shane Adamson, wrote up in one of his blogs, “The 2 Minute Miracle”. He’s really trying to address how couples can work on keeping their connection because what happens when we go throughout the day and throughout our relationship is we can kind of stop putting the kind of energy into it that really keeps it fresh. And partings and greetings are attachment significant moments. Really relevant moments in every day that we have in partings and greetings. So he wrote this little formula called, “The 2 Minute Miracle” – how to spend a couple of minutes every day that’s very significant around attachment moments to build and strengthen the loving relationship.
G: Where would we see the problem with that? With our comings and goings of coming together and leaving our partner. What sorts of things turn into problems in that situation?
R: Well, we can get a little laissez faire about it; a little too relaxed about it. Get comfortable with each other, which is really great, but so comfortable that we can kind of run in automatic without making comings and goings a significant part of our day, and they are significant. Having our loved one come or leave is a significant moment. I can remember one couple talking about their relationship after 9/11 – being much more aware in that they didn’t ever want to leave the house if they were distressed with each other. They wanted to make sure that when they parted, that they had said, “I love you” – that they had let the other one know how special they are to each other. So comings and goings are really relevant to our attachment bond and partings especially, and then at reunion, to kind of reconnect. Make sure that we are back in each other’s forefront; that we are there; that we’re connected; to acknowledge and to embrace each other is really important for keeping that bond fresh.
G: I can actually relate. I know for the last year…my marriage is very important to me, I’ve been married for 28 years now, but even for myself, I found coming home from school as a school teacher, I was looking for a little peace and quiet and my initial, until I caught myself doing it, I had developed a habit where I just go almost straight to my den, find a quiet spot and check my email and things. And it wasn’t very long before I figured out that that was probably not a good thing. And then I had to say “Hi” to my wife and just check in at the end of the day. Can you describe what his solution was? His 2 minute miracle?
R: Sure, his solution is really similar to what you’re describing, that check in moment. The research really indicates – John Gottman has quite a bit of research about what makes marriages work – and the research indicates that those reunions…not reunions specifically in his research but he does talk about couples making sure that they are up to date with each other, what’s going on, you know. Checking in is an important part. In this “2 Minute Miracle”, what Shane is describing doing is really making a reunion and parting a ritual that is significant. So, in the morning, before leaving the house, hugging and kissing each other, talk about perhaps missing each other, knowing what’s on the plan for the day, and is there any way that we might be of help of service to each other before we part. So making mental notes, we are able to keep each other in mind when we’re apart from each other about what’s going on, what’s important during the day. And then, having a long goodbye kiss, a 10 second kiss or a 30 second kiss or a 60 second kiss feels a whole lot better than a peck, right? In the way of really connecting, having a real kiss, it doesn’t take very long to make sure that that connection is really in good place, that we are leaving on solid ground with each other and having that really significant ritual going on and then also when we come back, when we join, when we have reunion at the end of the day.
G: So when we have reunion at the end are we looking for…like what sorts of things do you do? I know some people just come home and complain for instance. Is that what we are talking about? Or what sorts of things?
R: Yeah, we can come home and just want to dump you know. I mean there is that wanting to check in and catch each other up on what’s going on. Really to embrace, to pay attention to each other. You know you were talking about going off and going to the computer and hardly acknowledging each other, but finding each other, having a greeting, having a warm welcome home, a hug and a kiss and then yes if you want to visit about your day, that’s okay. Lots of times, especially with young families, there’s a lot going on at reunion time and a partner coming in or both partners coming in may have additional things that are going on to fill up the day. So whether that check in is just a brief one, making sure that you’re reconnected to each other in a positive way and then you do more of, “Boy this is what happened in my day and I need your support about this, or I’d really like to hear about this, this was kind of a crummy thing”, or celebrate other moments, you know that catch up time probably needs more time than just the greeting and reunion.
G: Yep, fair enough. You sort of touched on…and I’m not sure if you can expand or not, but you mentioned John Gottman and I believed Sue Johnson talks about coming and going rituals in… I believe I was reading in… “Hold Me Tight.” Can you talk a little bit about this from a science perspective? How could a mere 4 minutes a day be so important?
R: I think it’s the tone that it sets for the relationship as a priority. We have some major questions that we need reassurance about with our loved one. “Are you there?” As Sue talks about in “Hold Me Tight”, “Are you there for me? Am I important to you? Will you come when I call?” – those kinds of attachment significant questions. And so when we are coming and going, those attachment moments are significant around reconnection. “I’m here, you’re important to me, we’re still connected.” And so the research talks about building ritual in and laying that on top of a good foundation of a relationship to maintain it, to make sure we really are staying really connected to each other.
G: You mentioned attachment. Do you think this technique would work for everyone? I’m thinking specifically about how this might feel for an avoidant partner or a withdrawing partner. What if they aren’t into all the lovey dovey stuff?
R: Well that’s a really great question. I think when we talk about withdrawing as people get kind of triggered or pressured in the relationship, then their tendency may be to move a little bit more away or have more space… one of the things they also really long for is physical contact and presence. While it may be hard to be a little ooey gooey, or to say every morning, “You know you are the most important person to me, I want you to remember that as I take off today.” That that may be a little uncomfortable or unnatural, that really we all really long for and hunger for knowing that we are significant and important to each other. And physical touch and proximity, especially non-sexual affection can be so reassuring in that way, that, “I see you, you’re important, your contribution in my life really matters to me.”
G: Awesome. Well I think we’ll wrap up there for now. I guess I would challenge… it’s been a challenge to me actually to just remember, as the new school year starts to remember that the coming and going rituals are important in my household and I hope that other people that are listening will find the time to do that for themselves.
R: Yeah, I hope so too. Carving out those two minutes at parting, two minutes at reunion. It might be even a little less, but just having that on our minds can really start to shift the tone between each other.
G: Thank you very much.