Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Three stages of Relationship

April 12, 2013

This post is written by Joe Kort and re-printed here with permission. Imago Couples Therapy teaches partners that every relationship goes through stages. In this blog post, Imago therapist Joe Kort provides a tongue-in -cheek way to remember them! View a quick video of Joe Kort.

Couples Therapy Secret Stage #1—Call of the Wild

You see your partner-to-be across a crowded room, and the attraction is immediate. You want to be with each other; you can’t see enough of each other. The experience is a wild ride boosted by a pharmacy of natural chemicals flooding your system. Actually, you find yourself falling for familiar love: your partner reminds you of positive traits of your parents or whomever was important in raising you.

In this stage, you say:

“Something about you seems so familiar.”
“Have we met before?”
“Feels like I’ve always known you.”

Call of the Wild Alert:  People in couples counseling know that this stage won’t last. The call of the wild—a transient positive emotion designed to come to an end—lasts for between 6-18 months. Its purpose is to connect and bond two people, making them willing to stay together when things become more difficult in the relationship—as they inevitably will!

Couples Therapy Secret Stage #2 — Call of the Child

Where did our love go? Your partner’s charms are replaced by little differences that annoy you. Soon they aren’t so little. You hope to dispel them, or at least cope with them by arguing and defending yourself. But trying to change or “train” your partner won’t work. You consider couples counseling.  During this stage, unresolved issues from childhood resurrect. Couples project onto each other feelings from the times their parents acted poorly and disappointed them.

In this stage, you say:

  • “You’re so different! What happened to you?”
  • “If you loved me, you’d know what I need!”
  • “You tricked me. I was a fool to believe in you!”

Call of the Child Alert:  Every long-term couple goes through the call of the child. This stage is also supposed to happen and supposed to end, but lasts longer than the call of the wild. Even though the call of the child makes you feel like you’re with the wrong person, if this is happening, you are in fact with the right one.

Couples Therapy Secret Stage #3 – Call of the Mild

You value each other as you are, not as you might become. Even though you may wish that differences and disagreements would go away, you begin to understand that some will always be there—and you accept them. In this stage, ideally, you learn to give unconditionally, relate non-defensively, and relate with empathy and compassion.

In this stage, you say:

“I love you—warts and all!”
“We are different—and that’s okay!”

Call of the Mild Alert:  To revive the love of call of the wild and bring romance back into your relationship, your couples counselor might suggest you surprise your partner by doing the same things you did during the beginning of your relationship. That will remind you both of the old times when things were new and exciting—and let you feel how your love has endured.

A note about the author:

Dr. Joe Kort is a certified sex addiction therapist, certified Imago Relationship Therapist and a certified Sex Therapist providing mental health outpatient services for individuals and couples needing sex rehab as well as those struggling with depression and anxiety issues in the Rochester, Bloomfield, Birmingham and Novi areas. The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health – www.CRSH.com – provides this information written by its founder, Dr. Kort, in order to educate interested readers. (248) 399-7447

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Are You Getting the Love You Want?

June 20, 2012

Re-posted from Your Tango and written by Tammy Nelson, author of  Getting the Sex You Want.

You choose the person you are with for a reason, never by accident. Why do they drive you so crazy?

The bestselling book, “Getting the Love You Want” written by Harville Hendrix, teaches couples a powerful form of healing that Hendrix calls Imago Relationship Therapy. This theory says that we never choose our partner by accident.

Our mate, for good or bad, helps us to heal from our childhood wounds, helps us to grow as a person and if we let them, becomes the one person ideally suited to propel us into adulthood. Attraction to a mate is based on our almost totally unconscious capacity to choose a partner who brings out the parts of us that are the most vulnerable and sensitive, and frankly, those we are the most blind to. The person we choose as a partner is ideally suited to help us find those places within us that need healing.

I can tell you that it is no mistake that we are with the person we have chosen, even though on certain days it can feel like we have made the biggest mistakes of our lives. Our partner helps us to find those places within that need love and tenderness. And we choose the perfect person to help us get that love that we need. We choose our mate because they help us finish off the unfinished business of our childhood. If we can make this person love us in the way we have always needed to be loved, then we imagine that finally, we will feel whole, cherished and adored in the way we have always longed to feel.

As adults, we want to feel like the most important person to that one special person. Sort of like we did when we were children and had that unique, exalted place with a mother. As adults, we assume that our spouse should love us unconditionally, like our mother or father did in the past (or like we wanted them to).

Yet, marriage and committed partnership is not unconditional. There are conditions to marriage. And although we promise to love each other regardless of our foibles and limitations, those frustrations become a power struggle almost from the moment the honeymoon ends.

And yet it is those very frustrations of a serious committed partnership that hold the key to our own growth. The things that your partner finds annoying about you may actually be the things in you that need changing. (I know, this is not what you want to hear. It is so much easier to blame them for their faults) Perhaps your partner sees in you the things that you need to change in order to grow into your highest and most developed self, and in the best of all worlds, in their most loving and gentle way, they place that gift in front of you in order for you to grow as a person.

However, in reality, most of us don’t present the gift well. We yell and scream and with our own frustrations and abandonment fears we demand that our partner change in order for us to be happy. And we all know how well that works.

And yet, we know somewhere deep down, that we chose this person because they hold the key to our emotional and developmental growth. We took on this relationship challenge because they are the perfect person to help us grow into our highest selves. But we still get really mad when they confront us with the truth – that we need to change parts of ourselves in order to grow into who we need to be – because we know somewhere deep down that they are right.  And it is painful and annoying to know that we really do have to change something in ourselves.

You choose the person you are with for a reason, never by accident. Why do they drive you so crazy?

It’s easier to think that they are the problem. Sometimes it’s just easier to fantasize about trading them in for someone else; maybe someone who won’t demand that we change, someone who will accept us for who we are, who will love us unconditionally like our moms and dads did. Ultimately, if we are honest with ourselves, somewhere deep down, we know that this is not the goal of a committed partnership.

Relationships are the key to healing. If we try, we can make each other feel cherished and adored. We can get the love that we want and we can give each other what we need and help each other to grow.

Using some of these basic theories of Imago therapy you can learn how to make your relationship more rewarding and find a new intimacy in your relationship.

But no one ever said it was going to be easy. Growing up never is.