The creative process in the couple
The creative process happens when you and your partner have different but equally strong beliefs or ideas. At this time, to make a decision would mean one person wins one loses something quite fundamental.
From my observation the build up goes something like this:
Firstly there is the coming together, the clash of views and the fight for your side, with a sense of desperation that your partner can't see how important this is for you - or maybe can, but can't or won't do anything to change their mind.
Secondly, you retreat to your corner to strengthen your argument and pitch in with full force, only to find that your partner has done the same and now seems more obdurate and determined. You may repeat the whole process again and again with the same response, and frustration turns to a feeling of alienation. You start to feel abandoned and the bleakness of isolation hits you. You’ve lost your friend and you feel scared.
Maybe in this period of despair you start to question yourself. ‘Why am I holding on so desperately; what is it that means so much to me about this, why have I risked so much?‘ This is the beginning of objectivity. The next step might be another question; ‘can I stand apart from myself a bit to get another angle?’ And then; ‘is this worth the risk to the relationship?’. And then; ‘is there something in what he/she is saying that I’ve missed?’ I think it is helpful to project yourself ahead in time 20 years and ask yourself to look back on the situation and think what you would like to have done.
At this point something similar may be happening with your partner, so that when you do approach each other there may have been a shift in both of you, however small. Even if this hasn't happened, your goodwill alone can create an opening.
With the return of goodwill, hope is restored and the creative process is released. You start to look at things in a different way, truly hear your partner’s side without hostility - maybe with empathy. Ideas and suggestions follow and something new gets built. With this comes the excitement and relief that your relationship has survived a test and feels stronger.
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About Brenda Clowes
Couples Counselling and Sexual Therapy are my main areas of work (I trained with Relate in Marriage Guidance, adding Sex Therapy and Infertility Counselling qualifications). Making a decision to come together is a big first step but if your partner is uncertain or unwilling to come I will see you alone so that you can speak about things from your side of the picture. Often partners soften w… Read more
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