Relationship Help: Creating a Protected Space Together


There are certain relationship skills that couples need in order to build and maintain a healthy marriage/relationship.  An often neglected, yet vital skill involves your imagination and your ability to focus.

As the frantic pace of life continues to tighten its belt around the life-energy of couples, it has become more imperative than ever to erect relationship buffers—protected moments that will allow you and your partner to retreat to a quiet place in order to nurture your love.   

Relationship Help: Creating a Protected Space

The following exercise is geared toward helping you and your partner learn to control the distractions in your life. Being emotionally present with your partner is a prerequisite for so many essential parts of a healthy relationship: Effective communication, emotional intimacy, passion and sex, and mutual support and validation.

The first step is to carve out a certain amount of time together devoid of any and all distractions (this can be as short as fifteen minutes). But your physical presence does not guarantee your psychological/emotional presence.

That’s why the next step is essential.

Now use your imagination and pretend that nothing and no one else exists except your spouse/partner during this time. This needs to be a repetitive and deliberate act. During this time repeat to yourself, “No one and nothing else exists. I’m with the person I want to be with and in this moment all I want to do is intensely focus on everything about him/her. Everything I need is right in front of me.”

While carrying out this exercise you may find it helpful to focus on a particular aspect of your spouse/partner, like hair or eye color, or the sound of his/her voice. Note some feature that you haven’t given attention to in a while, describing it to yourself in as much detail as possible. In this moment of alone-time try to see your partner in a new way. Don’t worry if you have trouble doing this at first.

Practice and keep at it.

Couples report that the more they practice this (and similar) exercise, they start to feel their emotional connection deepen—a connection that carries over into other parts of their relationship.

Wishing you and your relationship all the best!

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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