I have a tidy pile of high school uniforms ready for the school year to begin. But back-to-school routines are......
Stage 1 – Bonding, Illusions (faced and given up) Reality and Intimacy
The first 10 years are about moving from illusion, by bonding on reality and intimacy.
Stage 2 – Differentiation
Taking back the bits of “me” we loaned to the “us” but not getting too far apart. Poor differentiation happens when one dashes off, getting out of touch, this can mean affairs and emptiness in the relationship. When this stage is done well and not getting too far apart, couples can then re choose to be with each other in non needy ways (redesign the relationship).
Stage 3 – Real Intimacy
This stage makes the whole journey worth while! Partners have gained self respect, trust, and acceptance and are able to give to each other without feeling diminished. Secure in the relationship because they are secure in themselves.This can be the “golden years, the magical time” if the tasks of each stage and transition have been well done.Transition tasks in Stage 1 start happening when we discover our partner cannot or is unwilling to meet all our needs. We must do it for ourselves, trust and tolerance will move us forward together or we are now likely to separate.Transition tasks in Stage 2 start when we re engage with each other as secure individuals liking what we see in the “other” moving forward together being personal, emotional, spiritual and internal rather than our fulfilment coming from outside of the relationship.
Some ideas on keeping close and connected with your partner which have worked for many couples are: (John Gottman)
When issues arise, as they will, skills of respectfulness, attacking the problem, not the person, negotiation skills of good listening, setting rules, defining the problem, identifying goals and finding solutions are really important.
Some people develop these skills informally through life and others attain them more formally through reading, courses and counselling. Over all this place love and desire and the will to make your relationship, safe, secure and life giving not only for yourselves but also family, friends and the community.
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