Posts Tagged ‘relating’

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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A Stronger, More Passionate Relationship — Four Minutes at a Time

February 29, 2012

We recently came across a new strategy to help couples build up and expand on the positive in their relationships. We want to share it with you because we’ve seen couples who use it be enormously successful at changing the tone of their relationship on a day to day basis. It is a great technique because when the tone shifts the foundation is set for couples to create a better, strong, more loving and passionate marriage.  It really can be a part of what makes happier marriages and relationships. No, it won’t make all the unresolved issues go away, but it can make you feel more connected to each other, more loving, and more hopeful about your relationship. With all those good feelings and good will, often negotiating the tough issues becomes a lot easier and sometimes, some of the issues do dissolve.

Most people are very busy these days. There are multiple commitments and obligations, kids after school schedules, work, to do lists, the tedious tasks of day to day living. Most of us certainly want a better, stronger, healthier and more passionate marriage but we forget that we need to take purposeful action to have a relationship or a marriage like that. Too many partners or spouses rarely have much couple time. What they have is often what is left over after most other things are taken care of. Just think about how much energy is being put into the relationship in a situation like that. It isn’t that most of us are bad or thoughtless people, it is just that we are pulled in so many directions and have to do more to stay or top of our lives than in any other time in history.

When we are so overworked and rundown it is like a car trying to run without gasoline. In that state it can be a little harder to see the good things around us.  We might more easily focus on what is not working or what is wearing us down. So this exercise, like many of its type, helps couples develop the positive in relationships.

This strategy was created originally by Linda Duncan, PhD, Professor and Director of the Professional Counseling Program and Tarleton State University. She has developed what she calls the Four Critical Moments Activity. Don’t worry. “Critical” in this case does not mean to criticize. It means “crucial” “important.” There are four critical moments during the day which can set the tone of your relationship for that day. These critical moments are:

  • The first four minutes you and our partner are awake in the morning
  • The last four minutes you and your partner spend together before leaving the house for the day
  • The first four minutes when you both get back home in the evening
  • The last four minutes before you go to sleep

First, do a little “interview” with your partner. Ask each other about what you would like most from each other during those critical moments. Think about what are the things that would make you feel loved, taken care of, nurtured. Maybe you really want to spend those four minutes before you get up just snuggling with your partner while you both are awake. Perhaps your partner making you a fresh cup of coffee or your favorite tea when you come downstairs makes you feel cared for.  It could be a long warm embrace and a brief overview of your plan before you leave the house. Or, a gentle shoulder rub when you walk in the door. You can get as creative as you’d like as long as it’s something your partner can reasonably do in four minutes. This helps ensure you both get to feel successful and see the rewards almost immediately.

After you’ve “interviewed” each other and made your lists, put it into practice. There may be times you don’t feel like doing it and do it anyway. Part of what makes us feel cherished is sometimes knowing what we are receiving takes some effort. Besides that shows a lot of commitment to the tone of the relationship. Think for a moment how it feels when your partner goes out of their way to do something nice for you.

After a couple of weeks of this activity, notice how the tone of your days have changed. Notice if there has been a domino effect and other things have begun to shift in your relationship. Some couples tell me they notice a big difference right away and others say they need a little more to shift some of the more serious issues between them. Either way it is a great place to start creating a stronger, healthier, more loving and more passionate relationship

Dare y’a:

(what have you got to lose?)

Why not try to develop a positive ritual you and your partner can do at one of the four times a day for two weeks. For example, upon waking lay in bed and cuddle for 5 minutes or before bed make eye contact before the lights go out and smile or…you decide!

Yours in relationship, Maureen and Tamara