“What's your holistic message on relationships now and how does that differ from, say, 20 years ago?”
Maude: Our core message is that it is possible to have joyful, passionate, conflict free relationships.
Twenty years ago this was a fantasy I had of relationships.
Today it is a reality I live.
Phil: The number one message is to let the other person be who they are.
Don't try to adjust or control them in any way.
It never works in the long run; it leads to conflicts, it leaves the other person feeling unheard, unappreciated and under attack.
In contrast, fully accepting the other person offers a space for them to grow, breathe, live and explore.
Twenty years ago I could not have verbalized that, though to what extent I practiced it is hard to say.
I know that in former relationships, I spent much energy defending and meeting my own needs.
“What would you tell a young man about relationships?”
Phil: I'll start this by telling a story.
I was in a relationship with someone who looked like Joni Mitchell. She was intelligent, educated, a published academic with a sense of style and a black Steinway, all things that I found very attractive and seductive.
But in the first few months, I would wake up in the mornings at the edge of the bed with a desperate urge to flee, and had to calm myself down before I could connect.
It took years before I gave up and left. My analysis of what happened led me to the realization that I should have listened to my intuitions.
Maude: Give your partner your full attention, listen to her, and talk to her.
Make the relationship a priority and take time to be together. Words are important; learn to use them wisely.
Phil: Don't take rejection by a woman as a reflection on your unworthiness.
Maude: Sex is very important in a relationship, but it only works if your core values are in harmony.
Phil: Right; sex creates intimacy, and we have strong needs for both, but these needs can cause you to ignore when other needs such as autonomy and respect are not being met. Be careful.
Maude: You do not have to give up who you are to be in a successful relationship.
“What would you tell a young woman about relationships?”
Maude: Don't try to change your partner; rather learn to celebrate the difference.
Phil: There is a musical called “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change”. I can't tell you the number of times I've had this done to me. After continuing to compromise in the interests of harmony I felt as though nothing was left of me, and had to leave in order to find myself again. Don't put someone in this position.
Maude: The language you use is very important. Criticism takes a lot to balance out. Being “right” is not what's important; listening and being heard are.
Phil: Men often don't express love in the same way as women. Instead of flowers or long talks, he may fix your computer or a buy you a bike lock. Don't get trapped by your expectations.
Maude: Do not use sex as a bargaining chip.
Phil: Try and avoid using anything as a bargaining chip. That's an attitude of limited resources and grabbing as much as you can. Instead, look at the bigger picture of what your joint goals are.
Maude: As long as your core values are in harmony, acceptance is the way to go.
“From each of you, what's been your biggest Aha moment in dealing with your partner?”
Phil: My biggest Aha moment was on our first anniversary when I realized that we hadn't ever argued.
This suddenly made the relationship stand out from every other one I had ever been in. The years have only confirmed this, and I am so grateful that we are both always able to express ourselves, hear the other, and explore possibilities until we find a solution that works for both of us.
It is a wonderful mystical process that continually surprises me.
Maude: For me, the Aha moment with Phil was when I realized that he wasn't interested in arguing, being “right”, controlling, criticizing, trying to make me into something else or make me do things differently.
We both seem to be attracted to a peaceful supportive way of moving through life together. In previous relationships, there would be arguing and conflict and tension. I always felt that if the other person didn't bring that into the relationship, then it wouldn't be there.
Turns out I was right!
“Why do you recommend men and women join the GeekandJock Community and become active as well?”
Maude: Joining a community where people are sharing their experiences and knowledge of relationships is a wonderful way to grow and learn.
If you're going to participate in community you'll get the most out of it by being active.
Let's change the world one relationship at a time.
What’s Your Thoughts on Phil & Maude's Beliefs?
Yes, now tell us what you think of Phl and Maude in the comments below – let them have it haha