Creating the Arc of Connection
The 60 Second Pleasure Point
This technique for working with couples who feel they may not have more than one last chance before divorce was developed by Peter Fraenkel, widely known for his Family Therapy Theory and Development Research. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at The City University of New York.
Think back to when you first caught a glimpse of the person who is now your partner. Maybe you looked across a room or were seated beside them in a yoga class. Wherever you first saw each other, you likely had positive first thoughts about them. As you got to know them something told you that you wanted to form a relationship with that person. But why? What was it about them that got you thinking that you wanted to spend your life with them?
Were they beautiful, kind, compassionate, outspoken, searingly intelligent? Whatever your reason, you were probably not thinking I want to get into a relationship with this person in order to solve problems. You got into the relationship because you thought the other to be many different things, be it handsome, beautiful, a great dad or mom, kind, interesting, exciting, ……
Dr. Fraenkel explains that while we did not get into a relationship to solve problems, we do need to solve problems to stay in the relationship.
However, it is a myth that we have to first resolve the matters between us before we can enjoy the others company or have any joyful times together. A little bit of the positive can create an arc of connection that sustains us as we work through problems.
How the 60 Second Pleasure Point Couple’s Activity Works
Each partner takes responsibility for 3 activities during each day directed toward their partner.
The activities must be able to be completed in 60 seconds or less.
Giving your partner a hug, a kiss, a hand massage, looking at a sunset together, toasting with a glass of champagne, sending a text message, writing and delivering a note, etc….
Each partner offers their partner one 60 second pleasure point in the morning, one during the day, and one in the evening.
Each partner is responsible in one day for 3 minutes or less (i.e. a hug may only take 10 seconds).
The couple then experiences up to 6 minutes of connection spread throughout the day.
The instances of joy are perceived as an arc of connection, thereby creating an arc of connection between the couple throughout each day. Within this daily arc, we work on communication and resolving conflicts.