Many people view relationships as an external quest… The main focus is on the other person.
“If I can just find Mrs. RIght.”
“If only he could see the real me.”
“If only she loved me the way I need to be love.”
“Then I’ll finally be happy.”
Little do we know that the key to a successful relationship is to realize that it’s an internal quest. Relationships are an opportunity to face shadowed or wounded parts of ourself and heal.
This is the first in a series of videos about relationships.
This series is based on Harville Hendrix’s book Getting the Love you Want. This gem of a book literally saved Mike and I while we were engaged, and it still rings truer than ever.
In the next eight videos or so, we’re going to unpack some of the key concepts of the book, outline some tools you can use to make your relationship stronger, and share some real-life stories from our personal experience.
If you’re at all interested in this topic, I suggest you buy yourself a copy of this book. It’s available used on Amazon for a penny, and you’ll find it at most libraries.
So back to that external quest. Looking for Mr. Right…
That was me not too long ago. I went on date after date after date looking for… HIM.
After the first date with Mike, I knew something was different about him. In fact, I came home that night and wept. It was the strangest reaction I’ve ever had to a person! It was like a spiritual experience. The best way to describe it is that something in my soul was stirred up that felt exciting, expansive and yet really scary…
Scary because of the relationship I witnessed as I grew up. I viewed my parent’s marriage as dysfunctional and sad, particularly for my mom. I watched her go through pain and worry but she chose to stand by her man through thick and thin. And more power to her, they are still married after nearly 43 years and are in a much different place. But these impressions still made a significant impact on me.
So when it came to commitment, I was like “no thank you.” Consciously, I might have said that I wanted to be married but unconsciously I was running for the exit sign when it involved commitment.
But again, with Mike, it felt different and despite my fears, I couldn’t ignore my strong attraction to him. And because of this, it wasn’t too long before I started to wonder… is he the one? For many months I vacillated between the high highs of ‘yes’ and the low lows of ‘no, it’s too scary’…
Mike was going through something similar, but expressing it in different ways.
His parents divorced when he was just 2, and so his views of a relationship were fractured. Rightfully so, he feared abandonment (don’t we all?). So when I pulled back, he clung to me even more tightly.
The ironic thing is that he also had a lot of fear and trepidation about commitment. He had been through several long term relationships but could never truly commit. Because of his history, he was terrified of commitment because it seemed like a one-way road to divorce.
So, together, we were in a tailspin that almost tore us apart. Yet, we both knew that there was so much potential and that it was where the Lord was guiding us.
Out of desperation, I searched for help. I found some incredible books and mentors who taught me to stop obsessing on “is he the one?” and instead go underneath my mental pinwheel and tap into my tumultuous emotions. This is where I would find my answers.
By the way, the emotions that Mike and I stirred in each other? Those are totally normal when you’ve encountered your IMAGO match. What’s that?
Well, IMAGO is the Latin word for “image.” It’s a key concept of Hendrix’s book, and it’s the focus of our next video so please stay tuned!
In the meantime, did or does your partner stir up any old wounds?
Learn more about IMAGO and find a therapist at: http://gettingtheloveyouwant.com