What’s the secret code to loving relationships? 

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Why do people struggle in relationships?

Firstly, most of us were given very little education about how to ‘do’ relationship. Compounding that, our primary relationship role models, (Mum and Dad), were often not the greatest examples of healthy relating.

If you look at when you were learning to drive a car, we had numerous driving lessons, practiced parking, learnt the road rules and had to sit a driving test. Yet with relationships, which we believe are far more complex than driving a car, we get very little guidance and education.

Secondly, we all carry wounds and negative behavioural patterns from our past and the more emotional and deeply personal nature of intimate relationships tends to bring these to the surface. We have a saying in Love Code, that ‘love brings up what is unloved within us’.

What blocks the flow of love?

We long for a loving, intimate connection with another and the emotional and physical nourishment that comes with that. Often, we had a deficiency of these different ‘love needs’ in our childhood and subconsciously we feel wary of showing those to a partner.

It felt way too painful to keep experiencing this ‘lack’ in our early years and to survive this intolerable reality, we built a dense layer of protective behaviours around us. Our vulnerabilities, fears, hurts and insecurities, are covered over by these protective behaviours, designed to keep the ‘other’ away from the sensitive places within us. However, these defensive, distancing, attacking and deadening behaviours have now become very automatic. As we start opening ourselves up with another in relationship, we reactively act out and start to harm the flow of love.

What’s wrong with being in protection? 

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with it, but the cost of operating from our protection, is that it cuts us off from ourselves – and tends to trigger the protective layer of our partner. Protection triggers protection and the experience of relating from it is like two hard walls colliding. Our blame or criticism might trigger defensiveness or withdrawal in our partner and we end up in a distressing place that leads to conflict and distance. It can be a painful and confusing area to navigate, with a sense of frustrating impasse and this is where the Love Code workshops really help.

We teach different maps, tools and practices and as people learn more about their own relationship behaviours, they start to be able to navigate their way through these deadlocks and reinstate the loving connection. It’s very reassuring for people when they can do this and see that the inevitable conflicts and reactions in relationships aren’t necessarily endings but a wonderful opportunity to grow.

Why is connection important in relationships?

During Covid there was a funny but true trending social media post: The Department of Health is looking for couples married for 7 years or more to help educate people for social distancing.

As relationships get older the quality of connection often diminishes. Unresolved resentments, unspoken needs or boundaries and withdrawal and avoidance all contribute to a railway track type of relationship, where you have proximity but not much connection.

Relationships need attention and to be given a sense of priority to flourish. If we don’t address the issues that are in the way with each other and invest quality time into connecting with our partner, we incrementally start losing intimacy and connection. We start choosing checking emails or social media over connecting with the person next to us.

The Love Code workshop is a wonderful opportunity to re-invest in your couple and work through what obstructs connection. Through this process you meet each other again and build an everyday intimacy that is very sustainable.

How the Hoffman Process and Love Code can help relationships:

There is a cliché that we can’t have a loving relationship until we love ourselves. And it’s true. The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Until we can build the capacity to love ourselves, it can be challenging to allow ourselves to be loved by another. Healthy relationships require a healthy level of self-esteem in individuals. Self-esteem allows us to speak up, express our needs, have our boundaries, value and self- respect.

The Hoffman Process is a profound healing journey that builds this sense of a healthy empowered self, that is anchored in qualities of self-love, self-compassion, and self-forgiveness. It helps us to become more adult in our behaviour, have greater ability to self-regulate and move out of transference with our parents and others. When we learn to take responsibility for our patterns and defences, we model to the world around us the power of vulnerability, honesty, and courage – all necessary ingredients in a healthy relationship. This provides a wonderful foundation for healthy relationships.

The Hoffman Process is generally more of an individual growth journey. We don’t generally recommend couples doing Hoffman Process together as it’s more personal in nature and having your partner there could possibly draw you out of your own process journey.

Benefits of the Love Code: 

Love Code workshops equip you for having relationships that are fulfilling, authentic, deeply intimate and loving. It builds on the self – connection work of Hoffman, but now with a lot more focus on our interpersonal relating.

We work with building acceptance of whatever you are feeling/experiencing and developing the capacity to be with that- and relate from there. This is the building block of intimacy. We need self-connection to be able to be intimate with another.

You learn wonderful tools and practices to help you navigate the inevitable relationship challenges.

You will also:

  • Develop deeper, more authentic connections, anchored in mutual respect and love
  • Understand the need for both differentiation/autonomy and merging/contact
  • Develop awareness of your defensive strategies and honestly explore the fears and insecurities driving this behaviour
  • Learn skills to improve communication as well as navigate and repair conflict
  • Create healthy connection and sensitivity to your body and sexuality
  • Learn to understand and express our needs and boundaries
  • Develop greater emotional capacity within yourself and build intimacy with your partner 

Many couples who attend the Love Code have done the Hoffman Process but it is not a pre-requisite. It is actually a wonderful introduction to the kind of language and inquiry used at the Hoffman Process. The work is deep but gentle and compassionate.

Love Code 2024 Dates:

  • March 16 – 17, Narrabeen NSW (Non-residential)
  • June 8 – 9, Narrabeen NSW (Non-residential)
  • September 20 – 23, NSW (Residential, Byron Bay)

For more information regarding the Love Code please visit https://craigtunnell.com.au/lovecode/ or go to  www.lovecodeworkshops.com.au

To find out if the Hoffman Process is right for you, please complete a contact us form and one of our consultants will be in touch. 

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