In a couple relationship, we share with our partner things we do not disclose and parts of ourselves we do not expose to anybody else. Shared intimacy is both a soothing and energizing factor in our lives.
As Hal and Sidra Stone wrote : « if we do not achieve this deep intimacy with the partner in our life, something fundamental to our relationship is lacking, which is the depth of contact that only can enrich the relationship ». (Embracing each other, published by Delos Inc.).
When that shared intimacy cannot take place or is lost, the couple faces a crisis situation. Still, crises are regular occurrences in couples' lives. A number of events such as lack of mutual understanding, resentments or things and feelings left unsaid, differences of tastes or rhythm, professional or family changes, may call for a new.
However, for such a new balance to be viable, it must provide coherence and meaning to both partners. Unfortunately, coherence and meaning are often seen and experienced by each member of the couple through the lenses of his/her own beliefs, logic and sensitivities. This difference in perspectives leads to mismatches, worries and frustrations that may develop into a full blown crisis. Actually, once recognized, the crisis is an opportunity to bring back a revived relationship where boredom, withdrawal or rancor might threaten.
Couple therapy offers time, space and support to pause, observe and creatively manage these difficult transition periods. Experience shows that it is the little things of daily life that yield the best indications as to what differences between the partners really matter.
As the therapy unfolds, the important thing for each partner is to identify, acknowledge and take account of the dissimilar sensitivities at work in their couple for, in effect, the manner in which the two manage their dissimilarities is a key indicator of how healthy their couple is.