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The Dance of the One and the Two

Secrets of a soulful marriageIn our book, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, my wife Ruth and I refer to the dance of the one and the two. In our own marriage and work with couples, both spanning well over four decades, we have repeatedly witnessed that the happiest partners are those who have learned to strike a solid balance between self-fulfillment and intimacy with one’s partner. This balance can also be called self-care and couple care. Simply stated, “step in, step out.” Considerable marital research has verified our continual observation.

couple dancingOf course, it’s lovely when spouses really enjoy each other and share common interests and activities, including stimulating conversations and mutually satisfying sex. Mutual support and collaboration on tasks or projects also nurture and bolster committed relationships. Shared transparency or emotional vulnerability and constructive conflict resolution represent powerful communication skills that contribute significantly to couples’ sense of connectedness and fulfillment. However, excessive togetherness or over-reliance on the other–including to validate one’s beliefs or feelings–tend to characterize co-dependence. We also need to realize that as close as we might get to our partners, we’ll always have considerable differences and never fully understand our mates.

balanceThere are many ways of describing someone who values/appreciates some time alone, such as self-possessed, comfortable in one’s own skin, and complacent. Knowing one’s main life purpose and having strong interests and hobbies provide direction and impetus for personal pursuits. Cherishing privacy or solace reflects inner peace and a form of self-esteem. Personal growth requires an adequate amount of time for introspection. An indicator of mental or emotional health is the ability to self-soothe and effectively manage one’s own insecurities and fears.

I recommend considering by yourself and in discussion with your mate a few ways that each of you would commit to enhancing your connection and some additional ways of taking quality time for yourself. Again, step in, step out.

Read more about the dance of the one and the two in our book, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage, SkyLight Paths, 2014.

Gregg Levoy, in his book Vital Signs (an exhilarating book about passion), succinctly and poetically encourages couples to, “Love the pillar that stands apart from ours but that helps hold up the temple of our togetherness.”

Toward mastering the one-two step,

Soulful Couples Coach Jim Sharon

Jim SharonJim Sharon, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice, has served as a counselor for over 40 years. He attained his life coach certification in 2001 and has received additional training in spiritual direction. Since 2014, he and his wife, Ruth, have specialized in coaching committed, devoted couples to significantly enhance their relationship. Jim and Ruth were voted best relationship coaches in Colorado in 2015 and 2016. Jim has previously served as a business and agency consultant, presented at state and national psychological conferences and has appeared on many radio and TV shows. He is the author of two books and many professional articles.

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Jim and Ruth Sharon

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