Joe Beam is an internationally recognized marriage expert and a dedicated Christian. The LovePath 911 seminar he leads has been researched by colleges and psychologists because of its unusually high level of saving marriages in trouble. Joe has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Focus on the Family, The Montel Williams Show, MSNBC, Fox News, The Dave Ramsey Show and many other television and radio programs around the world. He is author of several books including his most recent, “Your LovePath,” which is a guide for rekindling lost love, for keeping love strong and for finding true love. For more information on Joe, visit his website at http://www.joebeam.com.
Tell us about your LovePath 911 Marriage Seminar. Who is it for and what is the purpose of the seminar? What topics does it cover? If one spouse is resistant to the idea of trying this seminar, are there effective and reasonable ways to persuade them?
I developed LovePath 911 in 1999 as an intense three-day weekend to “turn around” marriages in crisis. In 2006, we engaged Jim Grayson, PhD, to survey our effectiveness over the first seven years. Three out of four couples were still together. That success rate is electrifying, especially when you consider that only couples in crisis come, and most of those have at least one spouse that did not want to save the marriage but came only to pacify their family, church, or friends, or to get concessions in the divorce.
LP911 helps people comprehend the underlying causes that got them into their current situation, the future each will have if they continue on their present course, and how to change course so that each of them will find true fulfillment. We cover areas ranging from how to stop hurting each other to how to overcome an affair, even if one of them is madly in love with someone else. It’s quite a comprehensive lineup – anger, forgiveness, personalities, life desires, negotiation, respect, commitment, and more. The workshop centers on a model we call the LovePath that visually demonstrates how people fall in love, fall out of love, fall in love with someone else, or fall in love with each other again, no matter what has happened beforehand. Couples come with issues that span the spectrum – stepfamilies, addiction, disrespect, constant arguing, affairs, parenting, drifting apart, financial stress, sexual disharmony, and more. No matter what the specific reason, research demonstrates that most people divorce because they don’t feel loved, liked, or respected. We start at that core and work out to the symptoms.
We’ve seen people convince their reluctant spouses to come by offering concessions in the divorce, asking that they try this one last thing so that each can depart with a clearer conscience and nearly anything else you can imagine. Many involve their pastors, the spouse’s family, their children, and respected friends. We have a document that provides several suggestions of potential avenues to convince the spouse to come. As far as I’m concerned, anything that is legal and ethical is fair game. We’ve learned that even when spouses come angry and resentful, our success rate continues to be three out of four. Just give us a chance.
Tell us about your Love, Sex and Marriage Seminar. What can couples expect when they attend this seminar?
Love, Sex & Marriage is a fun, informative, and stimulating one-day seminar packed with extremely important material thoroughly seasoned with hilarity. I focus on three areas: walking the LovePath, understanding each spouse’s personality, and increasing sexual satisfaction and enjoyment.
The LovePath visually demonstrates the process of falling in love and growing in love. I explain crucial areas of every relationship. The personality session visually demonstrates how couples can understand each other and how to use that understanding to change the way they communicate. The sex session uses Scripture and the latest scientific research to explain how to have an exciting sex life in marriage. That session ends with the audience anonymously submitting questions about anything concerning sex that they wish, and receiving straight and frank answers to those questions, no matter what they may be.
Churches and organizations around the world bring me in to do this daylong workshop for their members and communities.
What are a couple of key things that a husband and wife can do to most effectively improve their relationship?
We can sum a great deal of research spanning many years with this statement: Most people seek divorce because they do not feel loved, liked, or respected.
Similar research indicates that most affairs don’t begin as sexual liaisons but evolve from needing validation, friendship, and reciprocated love.
My experience with thousands of couples indicates that the aforementioned research is dead on. Those three things – needing to be liked, loved, and respected – lie at the base of most major marriage problems that I encounter. Sometimes it is because a person does not like, love, or respect self. More often, it is a lack of feeling liked, loved, and respected by one’s spouse. Therefore, the most basic advice I can give a person in any relationship is first to understand what would lead the other to feel that you like, love, and respect them. Your feeling that way toward them isn’t enough; they must feel that you do.
Feeling loved means feeling that the other person accepts you as you are, flaws and all, and genuinely cares about you. It includes feeling safe and being confident you will not be abandoned.
Feeling liked means feeling that the other person actually wants to be with you and enjoys it when they are. It doesn’t mean the other person says that they do; it means that you feel that their actions and priorities prove to you that they do.
Feeling respected means that the other person treats you as an equal in intelligence, emotion, and wisdom. Neither sits in judgment on the other, acts superior to the other, or tries to control what the other thinks, feels, or does. That doesn’t mean that you always agree – or that you accept destructive behavior – but it means that when you don’t think or feel the way the other wishes you would, they accept that you don’t and validate your right to differ from them.
I have heard you say that there is a process to falling in love and how this influences the success of marriages. Can you tell us more about this?
Falling in love is a process. If you follow the process you fall in love whether you mean to or not. If you vacate or violate the process, you fall out of love whether you mean to or not. The problem is that most of us not only don’t have any idea what the process is, we aren’t even aware that it exists.
It took an entire book, Your LovePath, to explain the LovePath, therefore I provide only the basic outline here. The first step is Attraction that draws you Closer to another. The second is Acceptance that leads you genuinely to Care about that person. The third is Attachment in which you Commit to that person. Aspiration occurs when you Cooperate with each other so that each of you helps the other achieve his/her life desires and dreams.
Of course, each of those steps has certain dimensions that make it work. When those things don’t happen, rather than moving up the LovePath you move down the LovePath and fall out of love. For example, the Attraction step includes one or more of the following; physical attraction, intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, and spiritual attraction. To the chagrin of Madison Avenue and “the beautiful people,” understanding those different areas of attraction gives as much hope to the emotionally attractive as it does to the physically attractive.
Each step is important to falling in love, staying in love, and growing in love. Ignore them and love fades.
We are looking forward to sharing Part Two of this interview next Monday. Stay tuned! You will not want to miss it!
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