As a guy who isn’t really looking for a serious girlfriend with any urgency, I didn’t seem a likely candidate to read The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn. Surprisingly though, this 268 page paperback from A Higher Responsibility has given me multiple strategies that have improved my relationships with my roommate, friends, and my parents, and I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned.
Mali and Joe, the authors, have worked with couples for years (and are a couple themselves) and most of the stuff they came up with is counter to the traditional advice marriage counselors would give, because Mali and Joe have found that compromise, the core of the “old school” of relationship building, just causes disappointment and resentment in both parties.
Here’s an example of one of the unique strategies in the book: one woman’s partner always leaves stuff out on the counter, water on the sink, stuff out of place, and he leaves the house. Instead of getting angry, she now sees the misplaced dishes as loving reminder of this wonderful person who is in her life. I hear you saying, “Yeah, but the guy still needs to shape up.” That is precisely why the people who read this book are happier and more in love than you: they accept one another without expecting changes. When someone is free to be who they are, they can start to move into the space of self-improvement.
I tried this strategy with my roommate, who sometimes burps while I’m eating. It’s annoying, no doubt. But I realized, it’s actually kind of funny. So by accepting him, rather than trying to get him to stop burping, I just get a few laughs out of the whole situation. And who knows, maybe eventually he’ll stop burping of his own accord.
This book is all about turning lemons into lemonade. Take jealousy for example: the trick is not to try “…to control what going on out there. Instead the answer lies in transforming what’s going on in here, in our own experience.” I was on a date shortly after reading this book, and my date and I met some of her old college friends, including an old boyfriend, for a drink. I could tell he was still attracted to her and vice versa, but I let their attraction to one another make me appreciate them both more, as I started to see what these two old friends loved about each other! I had a great experience and I was lauded with love by both of them!
The bulk of the book is a constant preaching of the effects of taking responsibility for one’s inner space. The couple constantly reference their transitioned teacher Michael Naumer, who was an absolute inspiration to the both of them. One of his great sayings was: “Don’t assign responsibility for your emotional experience to your partner.”
Another instantly applicable tip is the recommendation to have “a guest in your life.” When a loved friend comes to town, we have infinite patience with them. Mali and Joe talk about starting fresh with one another every day, like a new guest, and that keeps the physical side exciting, and prevents nagging and arguments. We simply need to increase our acceptance and stop demanding our partner be like us, or expect our partner to meet our needs. The Soulmate Experience is all about meeting our own needs inside, and letting that wholeness create a safe place for others to be around us and with us.
The toughest part of relating to others is when someone violates one of our standards, such as theft or a large breach of trust. Mali and Joe would suggest that we don’t handle these situations alone, so always ask advice of a trusted friend or counselor, but one of the unique things they suggest are “looking through a different lens”. For example, if you look through the lens of “people shouldn’t steal things”, you’re going to be pissed if I nick your wallet. But if you look through the lens of “Everyone is doing the best they can,” you can have compassion on me because I’m struggling with lack consciousness.
I can’t really say enough good things about this book and the positive effect it has had on my relationships and my happiness. If you are willing to open your heart and your mind, you have the chance to transform your life, too.
This post was written by Sean A. Mulvihill, President Hollywood Happiness Studios.