Rediscovering Love: An Intimacy Restoration and Growth Journey Guide can help you identify how hidden fears and learned behaviors from as far back as childhood are undermining your relationships. Page after page, you’ll start to understand why your relationships have played out as they have, and how your subconscious can trick you into acting out of fear instead of love.
Reading this book has truly been an eye-opener, helping to set me on a path towards discovering and enriching my connections with both my self, my husband and my world.
Roy Rawers’ truly transformational lessons are packed with mindset-altering ideas and stories that follow the progress of three of his clients. One of his recommendations to them and to readers of Rediscovering Love is to cultivate inner clarity through journaling, so we can see how our thoughts and feelings activate one another in a less than loving way. Then he relates how to learn and practice new ways of thinking, feeling and relating, so that we can consistently hold thoughts of love toward our partners, and consistently express them.
By the time you’re done reading the book and answering the Self Help Exercises at the end of each chapter, you can’t help but feel your heart growing with love and compassion for yourself and your loved one.
“Sometimes as we rediscover love, we rediscover ourselves.” ~ Roy Rawers
Roy Rawers, MA, LMFT, CSAT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a Southern California private practice focused on working with individuals and couples longing for more satisfying relationships. In the following Author Interview, he discusses how his book offers real solutions for real people with busy lives who want to identify and heal their problems.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ROY RAWERS ON REDISCOVERING LOVE:
Who is this book written for?
In the introduction, I write that this book is “for all those who refuse to think the best days of their relationships are behind them and who have the courage and willingness to try to repair the relationship.” My original intent was focused on helping intimate partners stay or grow more connected, but what I’m learning from the feedback I’m getting from the readers has pleasantly surprised me. I’m hearing that not only are people using the book to help with their intimate partner relationships but also applying the principles with family members, significant friends, and co-workers. Usually unintended consequences don’t work out so favorably, but in this case, I’m happy to report positive results.
What would you most like readers to take away from Rediscovering Love?
I like to think that there are a few themes woven into fabric of the book that I hope stick with the reader:
a) The value of self-examination, introspection, and gaining insight into how one’s own unique experiences can influence both positively and negatively the quality of their relationships.
b) The reality that it can take a significant amount of emotional courage and energy to grow relationally, but I haven’t run into one yet that has said the reward wasn’t worth the effort.
c) Hope. Another quote from the book hits the center of this, “It doesn’t matter so much what cards we are dealt as much as it is to learn how to play them as best they can.” Meaning that no one is disqualified from participating in the journey, but some may have more challenges than others.
What is the “Lover’s Dilemma?”
The “Lover’s Dilemma” is the tension between the desire to be and feel connected to another and the sacrifices or hardships that come with the relationship. A simple example might be when a husband chronically leaves his dirty clothes on the ground for his wife to pick up. It’s not a “deal-breaker” or true threat to the continuation of the relationship, but it’s annoying and creates an “emotional cost” to staying in the partnership. Annoying is nothing to ignore, but the tension can become more intense when issues of self worth, rejection, acceptance, abandonment, or inadequacy enter the relationship. All relationships experience the Lover’s Dilemma to some degree, what’s important to take way is understanding when, to what degree, and how one mal-adaptively reacts to emotional pain so that more effective problem solving processes can replace old responses.
How can one best handle unmet expectations in a relationship?
Every relationship will experience unmet expectations; how they are responded to is the key. Not to oversimplify the process, but I think the best defense is a good offense. When a couple can proactively work on developing their abilities to: 1) have early identification of both what is and isn’t working for them in their relationship; 2) the ability to appropriately communicate those issues within an atmosphere of emotional safety; and 3) avoid settling on solutions that are overly burdensome toward one side or that could create resentment over time.
When pro-actively addressing our life situations, it’s harder for small problems to grow into big ones.
How can we change unconscious habits that keep us from a loving relationship?
By being very intentional to do otherwise. Learning to anticipate situations when an old habit would occur, and intentionally replacing it with a new response, meaning purposefully and premeditatedly practicing an outcome different than the unconscious pattern. Many find it helpful to create a script of how they would ideally respond and mentally rehearse the new outcome in preparation of a real life opportunity to practice. Over time and with perseverance, the new pattern will begin to override the old programming.
Why do you recommend journaling?
I could possibly write an entire new book on the value of journaling, but some of my favorite benefits are: 1) Learning things about yourself you would otherwise miss or deny; 2) Providing historical evidence of growth, and reflect on changes in attitudes or perspectives; 3) Capturing verbally unexpressed thoughts, feeling, and emotions that may be helpful to address vs. avoid; 4) It’s an emotional gym, a ritualized place to develop one’s intimacy with self and others.
What exactly is the new process of journaling recommended – the Captain and Terrorist method?
This is a new way at looking at an old problem, namely, how to examine and counter mal-adaptive internal dialog patterns.
Why do intelligent people sometime make terrible relational decisions? In most cases when we feel unsafe or unsure when faced with an emotionally threatening situation, the fear control center of our brain tries to take our decision making process away from the executive functioning part, the pre-frontal lobe. The Captain and the Terrorist represent the two forces battling inside one’s head for control over the prevailing narrative and how to respond to a threatening situation. By listening, or studying, the dialog that goes on between the fear based and rational/logical parts of our thoughts, it is possible to understand how our past traumatic experiences and perspectives are used by our fear-based side to promote choices that are relationally destructive. For example, a husband might conclude to not talk to his wife about something that is bothering him, because when he thinks about it, a fear-based narrative, such as, “she’ll only think I’m weak,” overrides an opportunity to be intimate through sharing his feelings.
There is an ancient Chinese saying that goes, “Know yourself and know your enemy and you need not worry in a hundred battles.” Certainly if one has a keen understanding of both their Captain and their Terrorist, the Captain will have an advantage in knowing the enemies strengths.
Why is it better to live in the gray zone than in strictly black and white?
Here’s what a relationship loses when we choose to think in black or white terms: 1) The desire, interest or ability to understanding another’s thoughts or feelings (loss of empathy); 2) Resilience and openness to criticism (loss of authentic self examination); 3) Meaning all is reduced to either “good” or “bad”, requiring a winner and a loser (loss of accurate discernment).
You might be able to see how the Lover’s Dilemma fits into this situation, as giving up the comfort and familiarity of a black and white perspective could easily require an unspecified amount of emotional turmoil. Living in the gray offers greater potential to attain deeper levels of intimacy, with oneself, and with others.
You say, “…as we rediscover love, we rediscover ourselves.” Can you explain that?
The best gift that I find my clients receive toward the later stages of rediscovering love is a clear and restored sense of “okay’ness” with oneself, despite being openly able to discuss their personal shortcomings. Not rationalizing or justifying the dysfunctional parts of themselves that could still benefit from ongoing work but understanding that they are lovable and acceptable while still having flaws and room for personal growth. For many, it will be the first time in their lives that they actually felt authentically “okay” about themselves.
Do both partners in a relationship need to follow the self-help tools you recommend in Rediscovering Love?
Let me start by saying that I don’t think you need to be in an intimate relationship to begin learning how to have more satisfying and connected relationships. The Rediscovering Love self-help tools can be very helpful for a single person looking to make sense of past relationships and what can be done to not repeat the process with a new face, or someone who has never been in a serious relationship but wants to gain an understanding of healthy intimate partner relationship dynamics.
For those in a relationship, one of the benefits of the self-help tools is that they don’t require a partner’s participation to be useful toward rediscovering love. Even less enthusiastic partners get an opportunity to develop their ability to rediscover love when their mate shares and demonstrates their own journey. While I never recommend taking responsibility for another’s intimacy development, being vulnerable and exposing one’s own journey can spark a partner’s interest in participating at greater levels, but don’t be surprised if their pace is slower than you would like it to be.
Rediscovering Love: An Intimacy Restoration and Growth Journey Guide is available on Amazon.
Roy Rawers’ insightful writing brings psychological practices into today’s world, to treat today’s unique problems. You can find more of his ideas on his blog at rawerstherapy.com.