The Rules of Relationship – An Interview with Dr. Stan Tatkin

Article by: Brianna Reineke, LPC, LCDC

August 3, 2021

This August, we celebrate National Wellness Month!

National Wellness Month is an opportunity for all of us to establish healthy habits, such as stress management and remaining present – both for ourselves and others. Establishing practices for self-care and wellbeing is essential to enhancing our quality of life, both as individuals and members of our community. Focusing on topics such as nutrition, sleep patterns, and exercise could all enhance your well-being. The benefits of self-care patterns and wellness often result from a range of simpler changes, as it takes 21 days to create a habit. It is important for you to feel comfortable with the change you create for yourself as well!

Events related to the COVID-19 pandemic of the last two years may make establishing self-care habits overwhelming or even make them feel like daunting tasks. Reframing these habits to fit your needs can help them to feel less challenging. For example, If you want to set a goal to “drink more water,” but struggle to drink water or do not like the taste, you might consider changing the goal to, “stay well hydrated.” This also might allow you more room to drink fruit juices, or some sports drinks if those appeal more to your tastebuds.

Dr. Stan Tatkin is the founder of PACT and the author of Wired for Love. He is an expert on couples therapy and has had a profound impact on the way that couples therapists are trained to consider and integrate neurobiology, attachment theory and secure functioning practices into our work with couples.

In this interview, Dr. Tatkin describes how the biological wiring that has enabled our species to survive can come into conflict with the maintenance of a healthy committed relationship. Even the most secure functioning couples can find themselves engaging in behaviors that can be destructive to the health of their relationship. For this reason, Dr. Tatkin argues that relationships, like societies, cannot just rely on love, they require shared principles and agreed upon rules and values. These mutually agreed upon “principles of governance” help us to override our automated and reflexive survival responses so we can sustain a relationship that supports the growth of this two person system.

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