I am learning about the R.A.M. in my Marriage Prep course this semester. Is it silly that I'm taking a marriage preperation class when I've already been married for almost 14 years? No. It's really helpful for me to identify ways that I can be a better spouse to this amazing guy.
Which in turn will help me be an even better person when it comes to the people I love.
John Van Epp, Ph. D., describes the R.A.M. like a sound system equalizer with five sliders. The slider on the far left represents the extent that you really know someone. As you get to know them better and the slider goes up your relationship gets richer. The next represents the trust you have for that person. The higher the bar, the deeper the trust. Next is how much you rely on this person. The higher the bar the greater ways you depend on them to meet your significant needs. The fourth is the level of commitment you have established with this person. Lastly, sexual touch. Elevating this slider obviously shows the level of sexual contact with your partner (pgs 22-23).
When all five sliders are at the same level you are in a healthy relationship. When even on is low attachment is weakened.
Here is what Epp labels one of the most important keys to building a healthy relationship:
"Keep a balance among the five relationship dynamics."
He goes on to say, "...When you keep these five dynamics in balance with each other so that you are not moving further ahead in one area than in any of the others, then you are securely planted in the safe zone" (pg 24).
Thus far the most important paragraph I have read is this one:
"There is one basic rule for guarding the safe zone: never go further in one bonding area than you have gone in the previous. This rule is based on the view that the five bonding dynamics have a specific order and logic to them: what you know about a person determines the degree you should trust him or her; this trust directs you in choosing what personal needs you can rely on him or her to meet; you should become committed only to the extent that you know, trust, and depend on that person; and finally, any degree of sexual involvement is safest when it matches the context of the overall intimacy reflected in the levels of the other four dynamics.
Slipping out of the safe zone explains the most common mistake people make in relationships" (pg 25).
In summary, relationships should be established according to these five sliders, and they should go in order from left to right. Know them before you trust them. Trust them before you rely on them. Rely on them and then commit. Have a serious commitment before you have any sexual involvement.
Everything I quoted today was from my awesome text book, "How To Avoid Falling In Love With A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind" by John Van Epp, Ph.D.