a Roadmap for Couples
"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." —Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
"You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free."
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Romantic relationships offer one of the most potent healing containers, because they are also the space where our deepest wounds and triggers surface. This is because we choose partners who recreate the experiences we felt in childhood. That's right, we actually pick our partners from our wounds.
Why? Because our subconscious is trying to create similar conditions, so that we can heal old pain. Without any awareness of this process, all we succeed in doing is repeatedly re-injuring ourselves and each other. With the right support however, intimate partners can actually become resources for each other in a mutual journey towards core-level healing and transformation.
Sometimes couples counsellors unwittingly prolong the power struggle of couples in conflict by focusing on surface issues, and helping clients negotiate behavioural contracts (bargaining with habits and hobbies, time with children, interest in sex, etc.) without getting to the root of the problem.
Relational maturation evolves from a platform of self-work. The progression out of the Unconscious Partnership into the Conscious Partnership depends on both partners committing to stepping out of victimhood (blaming the other) and into their power. This requires owning our experience, taking responsibility for getting our needs met, and actively cultivating a willingness to grow and change.
Together we will work to de-construct relational myths (such as the notion of an ideal partner, or the belief that great love should come naturally, or be accessible with minimal effort), map conflict patterns for clues into our unique emotional scripts, and actively apply concepts from Imago therapy and Emotion-Focused Family therapy to create new ways of relating to one another. In doing so, we will create the conditions for romantic partners to heal in context of one another, and cultivate intimacy that lasts.