He talked a bout the "FIVE Cs" - and no, they were not diamond related.
The first two, we have zero control over. So if we are looking for a relationship that is solely based on chemistry and compatibility, then we are probably doomed for failure. Chemistry mostly comes from a hormone called oxytocin, which is dubbed the romance hormone. Like a fire that is made of lighter fluid, the blaze is hot and bright - for about a second, and then it dies off. Or in the case of oxytocin, the blaze burns out in about six months. Of course there are important elements to chemistry and compatibility, but overall, these are things while making the relationship easier, are certainly not KEY to maintaining a long-lasting relationship.
It's the next three, choice commitment and creation, that we have 100% control over. Once you've made the choice to be in a relationship, then you must commit to stick to that choice. It's as simple as that. Dr. Sherman brought up the example of a couple who came in and wondered whether or not they should be married. They had already made that choice years ago, and Dr. Sherman encouraged them to remain committed to that choice.
I think that divorces happen far too often and with far too little work towards the relationship. I think that if two people are truly miserable - especially when abuse is involved - divorce is necessary and certainly appropriate. But it has become too prevalent in our society and I think if most people would work to stay committed to the choice they already made, then there would be less choice.
We didn't discuss the fifth C - creation. I don't know what the couple is supposed to be creating, though I have a sneaky suspicion that he was talking about married couples having babies. Of course, it could also mean the creation of fun and excitement and respect and devotion within a relationship, but I will likely never know.
The next topic in the seminar was entitled BOUNDARIES - the great relationship key. Whenever I think of boundaries, I immediately think of the boundaries that we put up in order to live chaste and virtuous lives. Boundaries must trump chemistry. And while that is a big part, it is not the only boundary that we should be setting up. The example that he used was excellent as he brought in the "happiest place on earth", where he literally meant Disneyland. Disneyland can be the happiest place on earth, but there are a few rules that you have to follow. There is a reason that the whole park is fenced. Those that are not willing to pay the price of admission are not allowed within the walls of the park. Those that pay, but do not abide by the park's rules are happily escorted out. You can't participate in the happiest place on earth if you are not willing to pay the price and stay within their set boundaries.
So, we are supposed to set up a boundary list that begins with, "Regardless of how I feel, I will/will not:..." Feelings can mess with a lot of things, and we have to remember that things done based on feelings can be to our determent. Feeling-based love will not sustain long-term; but behavior-based love does and can transform relationships.
The Secret Dating Pool does not put up with crap, and if you do, you will not be attractive to them. As with stoplights, if it's green (or you are getting green flags) then MOVE FORWARD. But if you stumble upon a red light (flag) you ignore it at your own peril.
High standards predict a healthy, happy relationship.
The rest of the presentation was rushed because we were running out of time. He brought up the gender culture, which brought in a few laughs when he said that while we are all from the same planet, we speak different languages (womanese vs. manglish). In order to have a healthy relationship, it is important to bridge the culture gap. It was interesting to note that he told us that while men know that they are terrible communicators, women think they are wonderful. However, women are only great communicators towards other women (they speak the same language, after all) but they are terrible in woman-to-man conversations.
The last were just a few Dos and Don'ts:
DON'T marry a project - marry a partner.
DO have a four season courtship. (I wonder how many of my friends actually went through with this... everyone seems to get married so quickly in our culture.)
DO remember that character comes out in conflict, not in love. Conflict within a relationship is not a bad thing, as long as it provides growth.
DO remember that manners never go out of style. Manners communicate respect. If a person is rude, it is because they do not show the proper respect.