Silent retreat leaders Caroline and Wally share some of the insights they’ve discovered about building a happy, long lasting relationship. Based on their years of experience teaching with the Art of Living, here are some ideas about the art of acceptance and living with one another.
The Night of Acceptance
Wally: I’m not allowed to tell the whole story, but this was in 1995. We had just moved to Colorado from Fairfield and we were having a fight. I mean, we weren’t hitting each other or anything like that (Caroline laughs), but we were having a strong argument and our vocal chords got some exercise that night.
We agreed that the only way out of the fight was to look at the knowledge points from The Happiness Course:
• Accept people and situations as they are
• Live in the present moment
• Don’t see intention behind other people’s mistakes and all the others.
Then we sat down to see how we were doing. We just kept going down the list and said to ourselves, “Man, every single one we messed up on.”
That was the turning point right there.
Caroline: It really was the turning point. And we did call Guruji that night (it happened to be that we had set up a call earlier). And Wally shared with him what happened. And he said, “Yeah, it works.”
Wally: These points really work. It’s just a matter of applying them in all the situations that you come across.
How to Deal with Issues
Andrew: What advice would you give new couples?
Wally: Always look at yourself first. There are some issues or problems that come up as a couple. Always look at yourself. And if there’s some advice you want to give to your spouse, don’t give it immediately, wait at least for 24 hours if not 48 hours before you offer your advice. Then just offer it and whatever happens with it, just let that go. If your spouse takes it, fine; if he or she doesn’t, then drop it.
Caroline: Just respect and love. Put the points from the Happiness Program up on the refrigerator and use them everyday.
Wally: Yeah, definitely put them on the refrigerator because it’s easy to forget. In the heat of the moment you just forget, but it can be useful to go over to the fridge and say, “Oh let’s see did I get this one?”
Andrew: When you teach a course together, did that harmony in teaching together come about naturally or was it something you worked on and developed?
Caroline: You have to communicate with each other but it’s pretty much a reflection of how we flow together in our life. We can complete each other’s sentences and we know what the other is thinking before he says it (laughs).
Wally: We don’t know who’s controlling who (Caroline laughs). It’s a fifty fifty guess on what’s happening. Either I’m cognizing what she’s saying or vice versa, or I’m doing exactly what she wants or vice versa.
Caroline: But it’s just a reflection of how your relationship is. When you’re teaching together it will show.
Wally: Of course it’s really easy with Caroline. She’s a special women.
Andrew: How do you complement each other?
Wally: Everyday I say, “Honey you’re wonderful!” (laughter)
Caroline: We feel like we’re two halves of one person. Whatever he’s lacking I’ve got and whatever I’m lacking he’s got. When we teach I’ve got the points down and then he brings the silence and the magic and humor.
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