We work with couples in varying stages of their relationship. Using a medical metaphor, relationships may be broadly categorized as having full health, a head cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia. Characteristics of these states are described below.
Our work is not marriage or relationship therapy. We don't try to heal the relationship or even hold the relationship together. Our goal is to have each person take 100% responsibility for the state of the relationship (200% together). Only then does the relationship have the potential to be authentic and enduring.
Our Couples Retreats help healthy relationships become even more vibrant. For head cold and bronchitis relationships we first get the commitment of each party to work on themselves. Then, at a Couples Retreat we guide them in developing and sustaining a healthy relationship. We do not work with couples in the pneumonia category.
- Committed to authentic, truthful communications; each speaking their truth to the other
- Each person takes 100% responsibility for his or her role in the relationship
- Ongoing appreciation for one another
- Conflicts are addressed quickly, cleanly, creatively
- Each person is committed to collaborating on plans for both their individual lives and their life together
- A mutual mindset of "I want to please, honor, help, serve you ... without giving up who I am."
- Lots of laughter
Head Cold Relationships
- Occasional anger or pouting, but usually with a quick recovery
- Occasional disagreement or clumsy communication around child rearing, sex, money, vocational roles, or other difficult topics, yet a foundation of care and love exists in the partnership
- Denial about certain issues, perhaps saying something like, "Well, we just don't talk about _______." (e.g., sex, money, the in-laws, her drinking, his work, our beliefs)
- In a period of life transition (major career changes, children leaving home, ill or dying parents, financial stress) and neither party knows how to address the coming change
- One (or both) parties feels a sense of entitlement "after all I've done"
- Ongoing defensiveness or miscommunications: "I never said that"
- Weak boundaries – giving in, then getting angry
- An ongoing pattern of sullenness, blaming, complaining, concealing, controlling
- A major unconfessed secret (e.g., infidelity)
- Both parties are regularly trapped in the Victim-Villain-Hero triangle
- Patterns of addiction, enabling, and co-dependence
- Chronic, confessed or unconfessed infidelity
- Ongoing rage or physical abuse