I never really liked Tony Robbins very much. The popular self help guru likes to hear himself talk and promises people the world. That is what I thought maybe ten years ago, when I first encountered some of his shows. Ever since, I didn’t give him a chance to win me over. None at all. Until last week, when a trusted colleague recommended to have a look at this video. If you’ve ever had doubts about your relationship, take eight minutes out of your day and watch it. I promise, it is worth it.
What Robbins does here by means of some impressive wizardry is to make a young man, who is frustrated with his marriage and his wife, step into his parnters’ shoes. He validates his point of view, and then turns the focus around and makes him think about how his wife might feel. Robbins makes optimal use of having a large audience that will side with what he skillfully makes out to be the right way to approach the matter. It’s an educational tale of how relationship works. If you can give to the other what is needed, the world will be at your fingertips. Ironically, that is exactly what I used to criticize about the guy. I guess I’ve changed my perspective somewhat. Years and years of self inquiry will do that for you.
If you’ve watched the first video, you might have seen the one that followed. It’s a clip of Robbins and his wife, Sage, selling people some kind of love & passion DVD. The couple was man and woman enough not to edit a very telling moment at about 2.50 minutes, when they disclose a dynamic that they’ve been struggling with – his hyperactive personality that seems to demand all her time and energy, or as she puts it “me, begging for sleep and food”. They frame the issue around the need for humor – as in, this is what we’ve been struggling with for 12 years, but we’ve learned to make light of it. If this is going down between the two of them as all fun and joy, I’d suspect it’s not always the case. At least it’s not in most relationships.
All couples struggle with one or several core issues that will go away only with time and patience. Most people will struggle with these core issues for years. But if you keep at it and are willing to see your partner’s perspective, you can arrive at a place where you can make fun of it all. That doesn’t mean that all arguments will cease. They may still flare up during a time of stress or hardship. But if you can learn to let go, even the most persistent conflicts can be overcome. And not just in celebrity couples.
Gerti Schoen is a writer and psychotherapist. In her spare time she enjoys learning, being in nature and around animals.