"Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though
they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping
for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together
for the pillars of the temple stand apart,
and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in
each other's shadow"
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran 1923
This wisdom says so much about the balance that is necessary for a couple to maintain a viable relationship. Each couple has their own unique balance depending on their personalities and personal needs. Not nearly as poetic as Gibran, but in psychological jargon, each couple seeks their own balance between emotional merging and disengaging. (How emotionally intimate do we want to be, how much time do we spend together?) Typically, one person wants more closeness and/or time together than the other person does, and there must be some way to negotiate that difference.
Good communication is how this happens.
Unlike the Hollywood myth that says it's simply a matter of finding the "right" person for a great relationship, it takes two people willing to make effort. Like anything in our lives, effort is necessary to do something well. But the energy of effort is best used with the proper skills. Any athlete who wants success chooses to have a coach.
That is normal and expected. Yet we do romantic relationships with no thought of having a coach. Is it any wonder that something as complicated as creating a harmonious and satisfying long term relationship often fails. I am a coach, a couples counselor who teaches communication skills, and provides guidance for successful relationships.
My office is in the Emeryville Oakland area, (94608) and I offer counseling to individuals and couples of all kinds. I welcome the diversity of east bay: lesbian, gay, and straight, any ethnicity/race, and the polyamorous.