The Space You Must Heal To Save Your Marriage

How you and your partner can heal your relationship and yourselves.

couple walking in park holding hands New Africa / Shutterstock

Your relationship does not live in your partner or yourself.

Your marriage exists in a theoretical space between you and your partner. If you're having relationship problems, then it's this "space" you need to look to to save your marriage.

That space is sacred, but over time, it may become polluted.

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This space is also the playground for your children. You as a couple and as parents are responsible for keeping the space clean and sacred. However, if you don’t know how to do this, the space becomes dangerous over time, and you will react to the danger in the space.


The goal is to stay connected.



If the space is polluted and dangerous, you'll become detached, and disconnected, and then the space becomes even more dangerous. So, the goal is to clean it up before it destroys what you want to preserve and keep sacred.


How do you stay connected?

The great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber says that your brain is hard-wired for connection, and when you disconnect, you go into crisis.

Neuro-biologists have empirical data that tells us the brain is the only organ in the body that cannot self-regulate, which means it doesn't know what behaviors are "good" or "bad." When two people connect, the brain will self-regulate and the central nervous system will calm down.

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My mentor, Hedy Schleifer tells us that there are three invisible connectors. The first is the relational space, the second "the bridge," and the third "the encounter."


What is the relational space?

It is where you live in your relationship. When the space is sacred, time is eternal.

How do you make the space sacred when It has become polluted?

You learn the art of "presencing." What is that?

That's when the couple sits across from each other, 18 inches apart, looking into each others' eyes with an open heart and gratitude for each other. This is how you can connect to your spouse.



The second invisible connector is where a visit occurs called "the bridge."


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This is not a dialogue. It's a visit. One partner invites the other over to discover the world of their neighborhood. The content is minimal. The process is most important.

It requires the assistance of a trained therapist to facilitate until the couple has been able to integrate the process on their own.

Finally, there's the encounter.


The visitor is not allowed to bring their conceptions, beliefs, opinions, or responses to the neighborhood of the other. If they unconsciously do, the therapist asks them to bring it back to their side of the bridge and return to the encounter.

In this "encounter," you're there to listen, repeat, and confirm that you're with your partner. It’s simple, elegant, and transformational.

It requires only a big fat "yes" from each partner to follow the process directed by the therapist. It's only successful when both partners are in full cooperation to bring their relationship forward.

Bottom line: For couples to reclaim their essence and heal their relationship, working together to connect is key to making that happen.


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Joan E. Childs, LCSW, is a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker, and author of I Hate the Man I Love: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success.