Our couples counselors will help give you a new “lens” to see the most important details of why relationships either fall apart or thrive:
Finding Love… and Keeping It:
Falling in love gives us the intoxicating feeling of being alive, whole, and happy. It makes us act in ways we don’t normally, but this magical feeling is not supposed to last.
Romance fades and the “hidden agenda” in our relationship emerges from our differences. Keeping love depends not on finding the right partner, but on becoming the right partner. If we are willing to grow and change, we can learn the skills needed to have a successful relationship.
Conflict is Not the Enemy: Conflict in relationships is actually a blueprint for mutual growth and healing. When we listen to the messages embedded within our conflicts, it teaches us about our deepest unmet needs and how to be fulfilled and happy.
The Way to the Heart is Through the Brain: Our brains are highly adapted to protect us from anything that might be perceived as a threat to our survival. At certain points in every relationship, we hurt our partners when we are just trying to protect ourselves. Our natural and automatic fight/flight/freeze responses occur in how we talk and act. It takes a high level of awareness and the practice of specific skills to identify and eliminate unsafe communication in a relationship and develop habits that cultivate love and affection.
A New Way of Talking: It is possible to express differences and frustrations
with your partner while remaining connected in a way that actually enhances your appreciation and love for each other.
Consequences of an Unconscious Relationship:
If we do not become aware of how we react unconsciously (automatically) when we feel threatened by our partner, we will blame, criticize, shame, or withdraw to protect ourselves. We start to believe that we are with to the wrong person. It is typical to live increasingly separate lives or develop alternative sources of pleasure (friendships, family responsibilities, hobbies, career, affairs, substance abuse, etc.) in order to tolerate or reduce the discomfort from the relationship – Washington DC Imago Therapy.
You Have an Imago Match:
Among other reasons, we were attracted to our partner primarily because he/she is our “imago match.” This means that your partner has some of the same positive and negative characteristics of our childhood caretakers.
While we might first feel most “at home” around our partner because of this resemblance, we eventually experience it as frustrating or painful. Since the same principle applies to how your partner experiences you, it is exceedingly difficult to break the pattern of mutual reactivity without understanding that we are matched in order to forge a new way of loving together.
Couplehood is Curative:
Marriage is the one kind of committed relationship that most closely resembles the original parameters of our relationship with our parents and early caregivers. As such, couplehood has the amazing potential to replay scenes from earlier in life. If we are conscious that this is happening, we can work with our partner to find new and healthier ways of meeting each other’s needs. We become partners in each other’s growth and healing, and recognize how we are capable of providing what our partner needs to help him/her finish growing up. Our marriages and committed relationships can be a place of deep healing and a transforming, spiritual experience.