1. This was a wonderful video and I loved Pete’s spoken process around the change he made – leaning into Ellyn’s need and trusting the process. Yet I wouldn’t think of this as negotiation either. In my studies negotiation involves “sweetening the pot” such that your partner can release their need to do it their way. This entails making it a win-win for both parties. I’m curious if Pete found the “win” prior to leaving for the trip or if the win was actually the discovering trust in Ellyn’s plan? If so what benefit did Pete find in trusting Ellyn PRIOR to arriving and seeing the benefits once they arrived? Thank you!

  2. David – you are right about staying closer to home frees up more resources to do something good in the world. And it was a negotiation/discussion where I capitulated.

    However being “right” is different than being smart.

    For me, the smart thing was to listen to Ellyn and what feeds her heart in her way. Not my way.

    If my “right” would have prevailed we would have lost what we gained on subsequent trips. Building more schools, recently starting an innovative counseling program that addresses the enormous number of psychological and emotional traumas in the villages.
    And we would have missed one of the most personal rewards ever. One on of the first trips, a young adolescent girl that we had connected with asked if she could call us ‘Mom and Dad” as her father was dead and her mother was overtaxed with being a mother to many children and little money to get through.

    We agreed and it has been one heck of a positive and challenging learning experience as semi-adoptive parents for the last 6 years. She has grown from close to being a school dropout to now enrolled in college. As Mastercard used to say, “Priceless.”

    So yes I was more right than Ellyn and she even agreed that my logic was stronger than her logic. But some aspects of being married are more important than focusing on being “right” and it is what I said at the end of the video clip. It is trust.

  3. I honestly don’t know how this qualifies as “negotiation.” Pete offered an alternative plan that made way more sense than going all the way to Kenya which would allow Ellyn to fulfill her desire to do good work in a foreign country and which would have allowed them to donate much more to the people in need. Not only did that get totally ignored, but after Ellyn “grinded” on him, their daughter went with them which wasted even more resources, money, and time than originally stated!

    How does one person grinding the other down over time to the point that the other person capitulates “negotiation?”

    I see how the trip was for a great cause and how they are doing good works for those in need but Pete was right about them doing even greater good if they stayed closer to home and isn’t that what the whole point is?

  4. Barbara-Thanks for your comments. And so much more has happened since.
    We’ve now been involved in building 11 schools and starting a counseling program for the school you saw in this video.

  5. This was truly inspiring! It helps us to see that you are living out what you teach others and to me, that is what life is all about.

  6. Pete and Ellyn; living your values. Makes want want to off my butt and do the same. Thank you for your inspiration. And thank you for 1440

  7. What a wonderful and real example of the conflict we face in our relationships. I loved the reminder that when our partner is expressing something that is important to them, we should “pay attention”. It can be hard to find the balance for each person’s needs. So great to see Pete express a different viewpoint after being willing to go. LOVED IT!

  8. That was wonderful! It looks like it was a joyful experience for everyone, with a lot of learning involved and sharing and being flexible. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  9. Thank you both for the courage to look at your own process and struggle through it. But also for the courage to think about what happened and share your process with others in such an accessible thoughtful way.

  10. This also is a great model of any inner conflict, where one part of us is passionate about something and another part is very, very practical. Listening to both voices and holding the ambivalence and tension/anxiety without needing an answer right away is the way. Your video shows this progression so beautifully. After all, as a couple we are speaking the two voices. Thanks so very much.

  11. This is so very wonderful and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is so rich and has meaning for me in many different ways. Thank you, thank you.

  12. What a inspiring video! Thank you for sharing!!!! I cannot even imagine what you feel each time you hear a kid go to college :))) You are giving resources and hope to a community full of energy and potential for an endless learning. I loved also to see which has been the negotiation process between you and Pete. I think you should disseminate this video everywhere!

    This kind of things makes your training very especial and trustworthy!
    Thanks again!

  13. Ahhh. Three main ingredients of successful negotiation – – faith, perseverance, and trust! You are such a great and realistic example of couples’ work. Thanks so much for sharing.

  14. Thank you all-
    And this has led to so much more richness in our lives.
    We’ve just started a counseling program in the village in Kenya where we built the school on this video.

  15. Thank you Ellen and Pete. Actually, I watched this some time ago and then rewatched it with my husband. I found the negotiation strategy useful, but also found your story about the trip to Africa inspiring.

  16. Thank you Ellyn and Pete for sharing this experience with us. It is rewarding to see that what you are teaching others is something you yourself may struggle with in your life and marriage but most powerful is the end result–restored closeness and connection with one another where you are able to see the experience from your partner’s viewpoint.

  17. Yes it isn’t hallways easy to cast logic aside and take emotional risks (especially for men)
    However there is joy in witnessing your partner being happy; it builds a richer environment, but also i believe that this serves as a reminder when things are not going so well.

  18. This is a terrific example of negotiation – with a happy ending. Thank you for both sharing, Ellyn and Pete. I would like to show this in my Relationship workshops – do I need to clear this with you first, or just go ahead because it is quite clearly from the Couples Institute. So much of the material I use in my work with couples is from you – your work has enabled me to do a much better job.

  19. I love this video because it shows in such a lovely way how mature couples come to resolve differences with love and respect and perseverance. Thank you both. And Ellen, I want you to know that I really started my work as a couples therapist by taking your course. As someone who sees about half couples and finds the work to be joyful, creative, inspiring and very deep, I want to express my gratitude to you for the strong start you gave me. I continue to use the materials you shared!

  20. Ellen and Pete–your willingness to give an intimate glimpse of your personal problem solving in your relationship convinced me to purchase the recent training course. As a Therapist it is difficult to find someone to open up to for my own relationship pain and struggles. Thank you.

  21. Thank you Mary-
    This work has now become a passion. We go back every summer and finish a new school in a refugee community. The people there truly inspire me. Some of the first kids we helped(who missed 4 years of school) are now in college. Thanks for watching.

  22. What a lovely sharing ! Thank you so much for your
    generosity and openness! It is a beautiful ” seva”
    or service for couples Thank you !

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring video. I closely followed the process and find it an amazing instrument for assisting couples with similar challenges. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work.

  24. Thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring video. I closely followed the process and finds it a wonderful medium for assisting couples with similar challenges. What a joy it is when one can bring a smile to another human being, especially children. It was really touching to say the least. Keep up the good work

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring video. I closely followed the process and finds it a wonderful medium for assisting couples with such challenges

  26. Thank you. I’m inspired. I wish I’d seen it before things got so bad with my husband that he walked away. I guess where there’s life there’s hope. No one can ask for more than that.

  27. Hi Pete and Ellen,
    To reiterate what so many others have said: wonderful video…..reminded me of my
    trip to Africa years ago……such lovely children. And for you to share your life lessons
    with us in this way is invaluable.
    Thank you!

  28. Thanks so much for sharing this Ellyn,
    I can appreciate Pete’s perspective because I too resisted going to join my husband in his desire to work in Mozambique, Africa. I wondered at the cost, and what I could possibly do? Ron has for 8 years been traveling back and forth, and I have been fortunate enough to go on 2 trips. It has given me a huge appreciation for the courage and persistence he has had to grow and carry out his shared vision of improved health care for Moz. I have learned so much about myself and our marriage through supporting him along the way.
    So thank you Ellyn and thank you Ron!
    Safe and joyous journey!

  29. Dear Ellyn and Pete,
    Thank you for sharing this touching, meaningful experience and process with all of us! I love the insights you share and the passion you live in your life. Thank you for your transparency. I think of you often. Your work is phenomenal!
    Much love and support,

  30. Dear Ellyn,
    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I had no idea you and Pete were involved in actively doing something so valuable for the African children. What a challenge and what a growth journey for both! My sister, who is a nurse, has just come back from Vietnam and she had many stories to tell of intense horror but also of great hope. The world is a wonderful place because of you people!

  31. Loved the video and enjoyed hearing about the negotations, subsequent decisions and ultimate experience you both had in the physical and literal journeys you took. A mitzvah for all invovled.

  32. I loved seeing the negotiation between you, and the fruition unfolding into so much love and joy between your family and the village. You have impacted so many lives. What a pleasure to watch. Thank-you for sharing!

  33. Pete and Ellyn….you are both amazing and bless your hearts for your service and contribution to the world, couples, your own students, and these adorable children! I really enjoyed the spirit of love in this video! From my heart to the both of yours…be blessed in all you do!

  34. Hamjambo Ellyn and Pete,

    I’m so glad that you’re back in Kenya, continuing this good work. You’re in one of my favorite old stomping grounds. My husband and I studied Swahili at Limuru, near Nairobi, lived in Tanzania for five years and then back in Nairobi for 3 years.

    I loved the video in which you shared the story of resolving your differences about going to Kenya. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your experience this year.

    Kwaheri ya kuonana na safari njema!

  35. While I have not seen or studied with you and Pete for many years, I have continued my
    interest in your work and approach to couples. I am trilled to see and hear of your work in
    Africa in this vulnerable and powerful way. Thanks for your leadership.

  36. Hello Ellyn and Pete,
    My respect of both of you – and the work on yourselves – increased tenfold (and it was at a nice high level before after having met you at a conference last year or so).
    I love not only your commitment to bringing some good to the mostly abandoned part of the world, but your moral strength and honesty. It does take lots of courage to examine and improve our close relationships. Bravo!
    All my best,
    Anne Pauline

  37. Hi Ellyn and Pete, fantastic idea to use this medium to help others to connect and feel what it means to trust in the process of stepping into your partners world and what it can foster for a couple relationship. It has really inspired me to think about using more creative mediums for helping couples with their dilemmas and challenges. Thank you.

  38. Hi Ellyn and Pete,
    Thanks for sharing both your process and your spiritual journey. How inspiring! And the production values of this video are so professional — this could easily be on TV! (Wish this kind of thing was on TV). Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing the lessons from your personal path,

    Barbara Griswold, LMFT

  39. HI Ellyn, Pete & Molly, I can’t wait to get a computer where you can reach right in and hug the people you see. I loved it. Hugs Patsy Pearson

  40. Really wonderful inspiring video, You should do it on TED (.com).
    A wonderful inspiring story I’ll share.

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