Love, Relationships, and NLP by Tom Sanson

by Tom Sanson

NLP continually asks the question “What do you want”. The array of responses adds great variety and richness to NLP. In my own case I had a great interest in public speaking and personal communications. After I had been working NLP for a while I also became interested in the question “How could NLP affect love. The intensity, the depth; was love an area that could be enhanced by examining and making some adjustments to sub-modalities. The answer is yes. A description of the process I came up with follows.

One of the most transforming exercises for me was the acuity training in the first weekend of the NLP Institute of California Practitioner Training, particularly the auditory exercises. For me, auditory/listening has always been the toughest representational system, especially listening to my wife.

After the first class I went home with the intent of practicing my auditory skills. I asked my wife, Donna, if she would mind just talking to me; I would listen to test the auditory part of the acuity training, listen for word usage and check for eye movement. She could talk to me about what was on her mind, what she aspired to, how work was going, or any subject she wanted to tell me about.

We were sitting on the couch about 2 feet apart.

To say the least, she was surprised by my question and I was just as surprised by the physiological change I was witnessing. She leaned away about a foot into the corner of the couch, but she did start talking somewhat tenuously. Over the next 2 hours she told me about our family, our relationship, work and her aspirations as an artist.

I could not help but notice that as the 2 hours passed Donna moved back to the same position she started out in and even moved closer. This changed my ideas about developing listening skills and establishing rapport as part of starting a conversation.

My conversation skills definitely improved from that point on, but as I progressed through practitioner training I began to wonder what other techniques could improve the relationship Donna and I had. I had always looked at improved communications as an end in itself.

Last year I was studying sub-modalities and started to change unsatisfactory personal and business situations with sub-modality changes in location, size, color, light, tint; volume and tone, pumping up certain feelings. I began to wonder if changing certain sub-modalities could enhance my relationship with Donna. We both felt that we had a strong relationship with good communications and support for one another.

I started by visualizing her in front of me, behind, and to both sides. If she was in sight, either in front or either side, the light was good and my feelings were heightened. If I brightened the image, her face was clearer and with a great smile. If I brightened her smile I felt even better. Distance was not an issue as long as I could see her. As I was able to verbalize to Donna what I was doing with sub-modalities, she seemed to understand and like what I was doing. This encouraged me even more.

Next I turned to auditory. When and where did I enjoy her voice the most? What were the elements? What tone(s) did I use that had the most positive effect in our relationship? Experimenting with tone has had a strong impact at work as well, matching tone with associates in standard business situations and even corrective interviews and negotiations.

I reviewed the visual and auditory experiences, good and bad, to find out what had worked well and what had not. Replaying the experiences really helped to enhance the positive use of sub-modalities. Changing sub-modalities has enhanced the fun and loving experiences, and reduced the tension from a lot of negative emotional situations. Donna really liked talking about the changes and trying them on to see how they worked toward me.

Adjusting and experimenting with sub-modalities can develop into a very scientific exercise. I have to admit that I had to consciously remember to bring my heart into the experiences, but heart was the issue from the start.

We worked on pumping up kinestetics when we kissed and touched. How did attention, pressure and talking change the simplest experiences, like kissing. I will let you have fun experimenting with this one without further explanation. I must add that the rewards here are incredible. Just a kiss can be become an extraordinary experience with a little effort.


There are three exercises I use to practice and enhance the love I have for Donna. Try them yourself. I am sure you will experience a nice shift in how you see, hear, and feel about your spouse.

Think of a time when you and your spouse had a wonderful time together. A vacation, a hike. A time when you had real rapport and intensely shared the same sights, sounds and feeling during the experience.

Where did the experience take place? Recall all the sights, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. Even air has taste and smells i.e. a walk in the woods or along the beach.

When you have it, NOW, anchor it with a touch. Use the anchor often.

Think of a time when you were having an argument.

Where did it happen? Sight, sounds etc. Change the tone, distance, lighting. Try a still picture in black and white. How does it change the occasion? What submodality changes shift the negative feelings of the event?

Remember a time when you and your spouse communicated very clearly.

When—where—what were the elements that made the conversation so clear? When all the elements of sight, sound and emotion are crystal clear, anchor the experience.

If you are heavily visual, do #3 often and add sub-modalities liberally. The change in communication will improve over time and you will see and experience a difference in communication.

Sub-modalities will continue to change as you practice the exercises and as you continue to ask the questions: How can my love expand? What would it be like if my love was deeper? Where and when would I experience this deeper love? How does this change apply in other areas of my life? How would others accept the changes?

Meta-Modeling is inseparable from the submodality changes. You will need to check the ecology often. If you are experiencing rapid change through the submodality shifts, it may take time for others to accept the positive changes you are experiencing.

The ongoing experience described above has made positive changes for Donna and I in our everyday communication, our working and planning together, and playing together. Our quality of life is enhanced through better communication and understanding of one another.

Try the exercises and experience your own change.

© 2001 All rights reserved. Tom Sanson

About the Author

Tom Sanson Completed the NLP Practitioner Training in April 1999; Completed Master Practitioners training with Tim Hallbom, in March 2001. He uses NLP primarily in business and is in the financial field in Silicon Valley, CA.

2017-08-01T14:56:37+00:00 Articles|Comments Off on Love, Relationships, and NLP by Tom Sanson