One characteristic satisfied and successful couples have in common is that they are part of each other’s lives. Duh-ah! I’m sure this does not come as a surprise. The trick though is how the partners are part of each other’s lives.
Partners have difficulties negotiating what this means to them and integrating a healthy approach to togetherness and couplehood. Their relating ranges from partners leading parallel lives where each barely knows what the other is up to and is minimally involved in the other’s activities, pursuits and processes to being completely enmeshed in each other’s world where there is little space for uniqueness, originality, and authentic selfhood.
The extent the relationship is characterized by these interactions impacts the resiliency of the partnership. This relating poses a danger to the couple as it extinguishes the sparks between the partners rendering them passionless.
Couples with no passion express dissatisfaction, lack of intimacy and connection and tend to feel dead in their relationship [Disengaged relational style], have a very conflictual relationship (misguided passion!) [Conflictual relational style], and/or become great friends (friendship is nice but not enough…) [Enmeshed relational style]. In any case, they are at risk. These couples usually do not fare well. The space between them is too great to bare, the conflict is too painful, and/or their interactions are too tedious and boring!
Continuing with such dynamics leads to inertia in the relationship, while it lasts…, and in the partners’ lives. This is how people get stuck and are generally unhappy.
The opposite is also true. When partners find a balance between togetherness and separateness, of being a couple while holding on to their individuality, when they create a true partnership where they get to explore, integrate and express their whole self, they are then able to engender passion and tap into the synergy intrinsic to couples. Thus the couple is able to have a satisfying and successful relationship, create and contribute to our universe, live their life and be truly alive. The goal of our humanness…