Workshop Description: Strengthening Your Marriage With The Six Steps of Living-Connected

Strengthening Your Marriage Journey With The Six Steps of Living-Connected Workshop.pdf

A few years ago, during a period of deep grief following the passing of our beloved son, Lee, Susan and I immersed ourselves in his journals and writings. Despite the profound sorrow we were experiencing, Lee's words revealed profound insights into how his own pain had molded him. It was then that the Holy Spirit guided us to uncover a powerful approach to engaging with those who are hurting and disconnected from the love and support they desperately need. Through Lee's example, we learned that amidst life's painful challenges, there lies an opportunity for profound connection and healing. Our journey through grief transformed into a testament to the transformative power of connecting in a way that is healing. This is where the Six-Steps of Living-Connected was birthed. We found that the Steps were a guide forward for not only ourselves but for all who seek to mend the fractures within their relationships and find healing in the midst of pain.

Lee, who was inherently outgoing and compassionate, was naturally able to connect with others in a manner that made them feel like they were the most important person in the room. But it was experiences of suffering that seemed to imbue him with a supernatural capacity for healing connections. It was as though this gift had been crafted by God's hand, effortlessly channeling God's love and empathy to those in need.

After reading his writings, we could see how his pain journey shaped him. C.S. Lewis once wrote that “pain is the gift that nobody wants”. Lewis was clear that pain drove us to God in a special way for help. Lee showed us that pain was also connecting him to hurting people in a special way. Most of us understand that pain can give us an extra sense of sympathy for people who are hurting, especially if the pain is similar. But for Lee, his pain was more shaping, It turned his sympathy into empathy and compassion, and It drove him toward hurting and marginalized people. It gave him a natural process to use when engaging with hurting people in a way that is healing to them. Susan and I organized this process and further explained these Six-Steps in our book Love-Connects. And, we go into more detail and application in our online course: Living-Connected With Hurting People.

What we have also discovered is that these Steps can be very healing with spouses who are hurting. Whether their pain is from an external cause or the result of an argument that escalated into a hurtful, hostile, and disconnecting conflict, these Steps can be the rescue that is needed for spouses.

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. And the primary catalyst driving couples to seek professional help is a conflict that escalates and breeds disconnection. However, our experience and what we have gleaned from Lee's life and writings have shown us that conflicts, when managed effectively, can actually build a stronger connection, and a deeper intimacy, resulting in a more successful marriage.

At the core of many conflicts lies selfishness, which can ignite arguments and drive a wedge between partners. Conversely, selflessness emerges as a cornerstone for cultivating a healthy and resilient connection in marriage. Walking through the Steps with each other entails prioritizing your partner's needs and desires above your own. It's not reacting defensively, but rather responding in a way that says "I can see you are hurting right now and I want to understand why. I know we can work this out and be better for it."

By learning and embracing the Six-Steps framework with intentionality, couples can navigate through challenges in a way that bonds their connection. This approach isn't just about conflict resolution; it's about offering a selfless gift to your spouse that is honoring, loving, and encouraging, ultimately strengthening unity within your marriage.

These Steps go beyond learning active listening as a vital skill for building understanding and connection. It requires giving your full attention to your partner, without interrupting or thinking about your response. Instead, it focuses on understanding their thoughts and feelings. 

We believe that learning and implementing the Steps can be especially transformative for broken relationships. By committing to these steps, spouses learn:

  1. The value of being others-focused and available
    1. Selfless
    2. Sacrificial
  2. To be fully present with each other and actively listen 
    1. Honoring
    2. Non-Reactive
  3. To be genuinely curious and interested in each other’s pain
    1. Non-Judgemental
    2. No Hijacking
  4. The healing power of empathy and compassion
    1. Validating their pain
    2. Fellowship of Suffering
  5. To be encouraging and hopeful
    1. New Perspective of Confidence & Optimism 
    2. Not Alone
  6. The importance of their connection with God
    1. The Ultimate Healer 
    2. A covenant marriage relationship

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