I have experienced a handful of previous long-term relationships before my recent marriage. There were definite issues in those relationships, however, with my current partner, these issues are not as present. If anything, he is my lover and my healer, and that is why I married him. For me, I want to be responsible and intentional in making my marriage the most it can be, so it will last. I want to do work on myself and with my partner, so we both get the love that we want. I feel even more responsible to do this because I am a couples therapist, and I want to practice in my own relationship what I teach to my couples.
Perhaps your story is like mine. You are holding your own in life; it’s just that you can’t seem to make a go of an intimate relationship no matter how hard you try. Things start out with lots of fun, hope and togetherness but sooner or later things take a turn. He’s not who you thought he was; you can’t believe this is happening again.
At some point along the way, we have to realize that the common denominator in all these failed attempts at love, is us. I needed help, and I found it in the Imago Relationship Model.
People in the end, are relational beings. That is to say that we crave connection, closeness and intimacy. But, because of imperfections in our childhood experience, we are afraid of being hurt. So, we stick to what feels comfortable even though our failed attempts are evidence that ‘what feels comfortable’ hasn’t worked terribly well in the past.
As Imago trained counsellors, we’d like to share with you 5 principles to live by in your relationships and request for yourself, in order to get the love you want!
- Accept the reality that your partner is not you. We want you to understand that you both have had different life experiences, and thus will have different reactions, needs, and perspectives. Though in the moment differences may be irritating or confusing, you both do make sense always when you take the time to hear each other.
- Be an Advocate for Your Partner’s Separate Reality and Potential: Support your partner’s fulfillment of their dreams, even though they may not be yours. Put energy into things that are important to your partner, that are separate from you.
- Always honour your partner’s boundaries: An example of a boundary violation would be taking the car without asking, when one partner has made it clear the importance of communicating first. Respect things that are meaningful to your partner, so that they feel safe and trusting of you.
- Make your relationship a sacred space by removing all negativity: No blaming, shaming, and criticizing of your partner. Think about what is behind the negativity, and turn your frustrations into requests, so that you benefit each other and get your needs met.
- Practice the Imago Dialogue: In each podcast, we provide examples of how the dialogue can be used, whether your single or in a relationship.
Grace and Margot know it’s not always easy. We do believe though, that with these added tools and skills, you too have the power to ‘get the love you want’!
Our vision is to help you learn and implement the principles necessary to move intimate relationships through the pain of Conflict to Connection and Mature Love waiting on the other side.
By Margot Sutcliffe, M.A., CCC, & Grace McDonald, M.A., RCC