Healthy couples connect on three different levels in their relationship...
But some just live their lives in "The Shit Storm."
A few years ago, a metaphoric picture began to form in my mind of the things that couples need to talk about in their relationship to keep it healthy and functioning.
The picture in my mind looked something like this:
Beautiful light fluffy clouds in the sky,
deep waters below, and a chaotic storm in the middle.
Each of these three “levels,” symbolize a category or area of connection and communication that need attention in a marriage.
The clouds are the romantic feelings and
your hopes and dreams for the future.
What first attracted you to each other?
What do you enjoy doing together?
What do you admire about each other?
What are your happy memories of the past and what memories do you want to create for the future? What are your dreams for the near future and the far away future?
Often, couples forget to connect on this level on a regular basis, especially when children come along and so much of your focus is on them! Remembering to stay connected in a romantic way helps to keep the feelings of love alive and strengthens us as individuals and as a couple. It builds resilience and gives hope for the future when times are difficult.
Deep Waters Below:
The deep water represents all the things that are under
the surface of the relationship. The dark things that are lurking in all of us as human beings and the difficult parts of the relationship that aren’t working. Insecurities and regrets, pain and fear, resentments and shame.
Many people don’t want to talk about these things and avoid shining light on them at all costs.
The problem with never bringing these things to the surface to examine them is that they begin to pop up in your daily life in unhealthy ways: Angry outbursts, addictions that help you escape from painful feelings, physical symptoms of emotional stress, passive-aggressive behaviors.
Talking about the deep stuff, the hard stuff, the painful stuff - and supporting your partner with compassion when they share their stuff – builds emotional intimacy and trust. Knowing that your partner has your back even when you are at your worst is what love is all about.
The Shit Storm:
Most couples in mid-life have careers, kids, bills, household chores, dirty diapers, work schedules, kids’ schedules, homework, in-laws, aging parents, and on and on and on.
My husband has fondly dubbed this “The Shit Storm.”
It’s life and YOU'RE IN IT!
The shit storm of daily life takes up an amazing amount of time and energy. At the end of the day, you are usually so exhausted you can’t even remember what you like about each other, let alone have the energy to talk about the hard stuff!
I get it!!!
However - if you don’t create enough balance in your life to find time to connect with your partner in the clouds and the deep waters…
Then those fluffy clouds begin to float away…
And the deep waters begin to stir…
And pretty soon the shit storm becomes a hurricane.
It has to be about more than The Shit Storm.
-Valerie Allen, MEd, LPCC
If you would like to create a stronger, more resilient relationship with your partner, I can help.
Please contact me at email@example.com or 513-317-8113.