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In Part 1 of Choosing Each Other Again: The Imago Way to a Conscious Marriage we explored the crucial role of choosing your partner every day to maintain a strong and healthy relationship. 

We introduced how Imago Relationship Therapy helps couples understand the reasons behind their initial attraction and provides them with practical strategies to keep choosing each other, reinforcing commitment and love. 

Now, we’re moving forward to focus on specific Imago tools and techniques designed to deepen your connection, tackle common relationship hurdles, and help you decide if and when it might be beneficial to seek professional support.

You can read part 1 here.


VI. Tools and Techniques for a Conscious Marriage

Introduction to Imago Dialogue

The Imago Dialogue is a core component of Imago Relationship Therapy, designed to enhance communication and foster a deeper connection between partners. This process is structured around three key steps: mirroring, validation, and empathy, which together facilitate a safe and understanding environment for both partners.

  • 1. Mirroring involves repeating back what your partner has said, ensuring that you’ve accurately understood their message. It’s about listening deeply and reflecting their words without adding your interpretation or reaction.
  • 2. Validation comes after mirroring, where you acknowledge your partner’s perspective as valid, regardless of whether you agree with it. This step is crucial for showing respect for their experiences and feelings.
  • 3. Empathy is the final step, where you express understanding and share in the emotions your partner has communicated. This builds emotional closeness and shows you truly care about their feelings.

While mastering the Imago dialogue takes practice, this way of communicating becomes natural and comfortable for couples over time. 

Let’s have a look what this might look like in real life:

Partner A: “I’ve been feeling a bit overlooked lately when it comes to our weekend plans. It seems like we always end up doing what you want, and my ideas don’t get much attention.”

Partner B (Mirroring): “So, if I’m hearing you right, you’re feeling overlooked because our weekend plans tend to favor what I want to do, and you feel like your suggestions aren’t considered as much. Is that correct?”

Partner A: “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.”

Partner B (Validation): “I can see how that would make you feel overlooked. It’s important that both of our ideas are considered equally when we’re making plans.”

Partner A: “Thank you for understanding. It just makes me feel like we’re not on the same page sometimes.”

Partner B (Empathy): “I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling this way. It must be frustrating to feel like your ideas aren’t being valued. I definitely don’t want you to feel overlooked. Let’s make sure we both have an equal say in our plans going forward.

I realize now that I’ve been a bit set in my ways about how we spend our weekends. How about this weekend we do something that you choose? And let’s make it a point to alternate who chooses, or even better, find something we both enjoy doing together.”

Behavior Change Requests

This technique allows partners to request specific changes in each other’s behavior in a positive and constructive manner. It’s about expressing needs and desires in a way that promotes mutual understanding and cooperation.

Let’s look at a couple of real life examples:

  • Quality Time Request:
      • Partner A: “I feel really close to you when we spend focused time together. How about we set aside an hour each evening to chat or do something fun, just the two of us, no phones or other distractions?”
  • Appreciation Request:
    • Partner B: “It means a lot to me when you acknowledge the things I do. Would you mind sharing something you appreciated about me or something I did, every day? It really lifts my spirits.”

Applying these Imago techniques in daily life significantly improves mutual understanding, minimizes conflict, and enriches emotional intimacy. These tools empower couples to navigate their differences with compassion and empathy, transforming potential conflicts into opportunities for growth and connection.

VII. Overcoming Obstacles Together

In the journey towards a conscious marriage, encountering obstacles is inevitable. These challenges, ranging from daily disagreements to external pressures, can test the strength and commitment of a relationship. 

However, it’s not the presence of obstacles but how couples navigate them that defines the resilience of their bond. 

This section explores common hurdles couples face and offers strategies for overcoming them together, reinforcing the choice to choose each other daily.

Addressing Common Obstacles in Practicing Daily Choice and Reaffirmation

Couples might find themselves struggling with various obstacles, including:

  • Communication breakdowns: Misunderstandings and unmet expectations can lead to frustration and resentment.
  • External pressures: Stress from work, family obligations, or social expectations can strain the relationship.
  • Stagnation: Feeling stuck in a routine, lacking growth or excitement in the relationship.

Overcoming these obstacles requires intentionality and the willingness to engage in open, honest dialogue. It’s crucial for partners to recognize when these challenges arise and address them head-on, rather than allowing them to fester and potentially erode the relationship.

Strategies for Dealing with Disagreements and External Pressures

Implementing the following strategies can help couples navigate through tough times:

  • Maintain open communication: Regularly check in with each other to discuss any issues or concerns. Use the tools provided by Imago therapy, like the Imago Dialogue, to ensure both partners feel heard and understood.
  • Set boundaries: Establish boundaries to protect your relationship from external pressures. This might involve setting aside quality time for each other, free from work or family interruptions.
  • Seek novelty: To combat stagnation, try new activities together. Exploring new interests can inject excitement into the relationship and provide opportunities for growth.
  • Focus on solutions: When disagreements arise, focus on finding solutions together rather than assigning blame. This approach fosters teamwork and strengthens your bond.
  • Practice forgiveness: Holding onto grudges can poison a relationship. Practice forgiveness, understanding that both partners are human and make mistakes.

Navigating obstacles together strengthens the relationship, reinforcing the commitment to choose each other every day. It’s through these challenges that couples learn more about each other, deepen their connection, and build a stronger, more resilient bond.

VIII. The Role of Professional Guidance

Seeking Imago Therapy

There comes a point in many relationships where the challenges you face might feel too complex or entrenched to navigate on your own. When just being aware of the tools doesn’t mean you’re able to implement them on your own.

This is where seeking help from an Imago therapist can be invaluable. Professional guidance is not just about fixing what’s broken; it’s about deepening your understanding of each other, uncovering the root causes of your issues, and learning new ways to connect and communicate. 

You should consider seeking an Imago therapist when you notice persistent patterns of conflict, feel stuck in your interactions, or when you simply want to enhance the intimacy and understanding in their relationship.

Our tropical Imago couples therapy retreats in Costa Rica offer a serene and beautiful backdrop for couples to reconnect and rejuvenate their relationship. These retreats combine the therapeutic benefits of Imago with the restorative power of nature, creating an ideal setting for couples to explore and grow their bond. 

Similarly, the 2-day marriage intensives provided by The Marriage Restoration Project statewide offer focused, in-depth sessions that help couples address and work through their issues comprehensively over a weekend.

Making the Decision for Therapy

Choosing to engage in therapy is a proactive step toward strengthening your marriage. It’s an investment in the health and happiness of your relationship, offering a pathway to renewed connection and joy. 

Imago therapy, with its focus on empathetic communication and understanding, provides the tools and insights needed for couples to navigate their challenges more effectively. It encourages a shift from viewing problems as obstacles to seeing them as opportunities for growth and deeper connection.

The decision to seek professional guidance should be seen as a courageous and positive step towards building a conscious, thriving marriage. Whether through the immersive experience of a retreat in Costa Rica or the focused approach of a marriage intensive, Imago therapy offers a journey towards a more connected, joyful relationship.

There’s nothing like gaining clarity about a confusing situation. Book a free relationship clarity session with Rabbi Slatkin below.