In his 20 years as a counselor, Dr. Nicastro has lectured at universities, supervised doctoral students, conducted numerous workshops, and appeared in television, radio and national magazine programs.
Relationship Help Quick Tip
The ability to mentally compartmentalize, to mentally segment your life so that you can be more present to the gifts of love, is a skill often overlooked in marriage/relationship help literature. However, it’s an important skill to nurture.
A straightforward example is being able to leave the stresses of work at the office and not have the residue of these experiences invade the space of your home-life and relationship; or temporarily leaving your role as parents/caregivers as you plan a “date night” that will involve romance and sexual passion.
Mental compartmentalization is like having a mental desk-organizer that holds different experiences in separate chambers, as well as the feelings associated with these experience. Some people are natural compartmentalizers, mentally segmenting their experiences into discrete and boundaried psychic events and, as a result, may be able to more effortlessly stay present in the moment.
Many of us, however, need to make conscious efforts to compartmentalize in order to protect our relationship.
Marriage Help: Benefits of Mental Compartmentalization
The ability to compartmentalize allows you and your spouse/partner to create a relational-sanctuary that protects your marriage/relationship from the negative energies or competing priorities that can erode emotional and physical intimacy. Like the skin that protects your internal organs from injury or irritants, creating mental boundaries buffers your relationship from the intrusive, negative outside influences that can chip away at your relationship’s foundation.
Of course, it’s unrealistic to think that anyone possesses the mental capacity to barricade their marriage/relationship from all stresses that exist in modern life. But the couples I see in marriage and couples counseling often feel victimized by external experiences which may be out of their control. When this is the case, making efforts to reclaim your relationship by creating pockets of time together where you are both making deliberate efforts to focus on each other can go a long way toward diminishing the effects of outside stressors and creating a peaceful sanctuary within the relationship.
This approach doesn’t deny the stresses of your life but rather, puts those stresses on hold so that you can reignite and savor the love and gratitude that connects you both.
How will you and your partner create pockets of time that act as a sanctuary for your love?
Dr. Rich Nicastro
Las Cruces, New Mexico