Even as a child, I was very curious about romantic relationships and why some marriages make it and others fail. I thought that someday I was going to get to the bottom of this. It’s quite a journey that I paved for myself. I started college majoring in Nursing and it led me to a prerequisite course called Development Across Lifespan. I fell in love with the class and without reservations changed my major to Family and Human Development, which is a sub-field of Psychology focused specifically on family relationships and human development.
The next four years have been incredible. At that time, I didn’t know that it was possible to stay consistently at the high-flying disk mode of joy and happiness. Truly! I enjoyed learning all aspects of family relationships. I also exposed myself to doing a variety of research. I coded children’s emotions to a gift that they were not supposed to open and I watched tapes of couples arguing in a laboratory setting, trying to determine who might be successful at making their marriage work.
Most people can’t wait to graduate from college, but that wasn’t me. I wanted to know more. Taking a few years off and working at jobs that could sustain my attention for just a little while, I decided that it was time for me to fulfill my dream of becoming a professor. The journey of acceptance and rejection from graduate schools wasn’t easy, and, the journey of getting through graduate school wasn’t easy either, but I am pleased that none of these obstacles held me back from pursuing what I love.
I wrote my thesis on parenting and children’s socioemotional development and my dissertation focused on interparental conflict. I have several publications in credible academic journals on these topics. Over the course of my graduate career, I’ve had over 10,080 hours of training in becoming a researcher (and that’s not counting summers spent studying). So does that qualify me to talk about family relationships? According to the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that 10,000 of hours of training in a specific area is necessary for a person to be considered an expert. So am I an expert? I certainly don’t consider myself as one because as I continue learning, I realize how much more there is to learn. But, there are certain conclusions, three to be exact, I made about relationships, that I’m happy to share in this Relationship Series: (1) relationship is a dance that requires both partners’ participation, (2) relationship is a process, and (3) the power of perceptions.
Stay tuned as we unpack each of these topics in depth!