One of the first things I say to couples who come to my relationships practice is that a good coupling is one of the best rewards in our lives and a bad coupling is one of the worst dilemmas in our lives. Two people can be excellent partners without being a couple. Two people can be soul-mates without being a couple. Not all couples are soul-mates. Soul-mates are connected Spiritually forever. They are one Spirit in two separate bodies. Couples are incredibly loyal, honest and capable of negotiating extensively.
Couples are very like-minded. Partners can have huge areas of difference and disagreement without the need for negotiation because they may not have as strong a commitment to closure in negotiations as couples do. Mature couples often wed successfully. It is best if partners do not wed because they are not sufficiently bonded.
When I hear the expressions “get engaged” and “get married”, I ask people to proceed carefully and consider that it is a process and not just a goal. I suggest the following mature, mutual, patient and step-by-step process of becoming emotionally closer: Dating…Courting…Engaging…Marrying…Wedding…Deepening…
For most intelligent, sensitive and loving individuals it takes between 3 and 5 years to reach the intimate marrying stage.
It takes at least this long for them to readily see the stark differences in their personalities, negotiate and finally accept these valid differences. Note that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet realized their stark differences as a Montague and a Capulet only when they went “inside” the walls of Verona!! Romantic love was eclipsed and destroyed by the human tragedy of family feuding. The common expression is, “When you marry someone you are marrying their whole family.” Most young people do not fully realize this and rush head-long into what later becomes a broken relationship.
In the English language, we have the words: “independence”, “dependence and “inter-dependence”. Interestingly, there is no such word as, “inter-independence”. I suggest this concept when two highly independent people connect in a mature, deep relationship. I also suggest to my relationship coaching clients that they ask themselves if they, and/or their mate, have”finished their business” with their cross-sex parent. “Finishing their business” means radically accepting the relationship that they have or had with that parent. Even if it was very bad and/or abusive, it is critically important to maturely come to terms with it. Then, and only then, are they ready for a fruitful, meaningful relationship with another person. Many women complain that they are treated like a mother by their male mate. This means that he has not yet accepted his mother. It is imperative for couples or partners to be emotionally available for each other.
Many couples and partners run aground because they have exhausted their relationship skills and are not able to grow together emotionally. One or both of them authentically believes that there are limits to how much two people can grow together. There are no limits unless someone projects that there are. Some relationships are more amenable to coaching than counselling. Counselling is mostly about emotional problem solving. Coaching is more about skill-building and learning techniques of communication and negotiation. Just because a person runs out of skills does not mean that there is something wrong with them. They are simply skill-deficient in this area.
May you experience wonderful, deep and enriching relationships for which you can be eternally grateful.
This article was written in August of 2014 by:
Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation)
Richard has been practicing Wholistic Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.
Richard by phone: (613) 234-5678. By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org