When we get married, according to Imago therapy (the couples work that we practice exclusively), we are driven automatically to recreate our childhoods. What? How do we do this and why is this such an amazing opportunity for relationship help? Help for when “My childhood is affecting my relationship!”

More inspiration on Imago therapy and what to do if “My childhood is affecting my relationship”:

1) Pick- We end up picking someone who is going to hurt us the most unless we become conscious of this phenomenon. We seem to recreate traumatic experiences, interactions, to heal them, so that the issues we have with our spouses will be issues that particularly trigger us. This is an amazing opportunity to work together with your spouse because the same person that can hurt you the most has the ability to heal you more than anyone else in the world!

If we still see no resemblance or we did not “fall in love” with our spouse, we project or provoke.

2) Project- When we think our spouse is not doing x, y ,z or is purposely doing it even when they are not! Even if our partner does not have the negative traits of our caregivers, he or she may exhibit a behavior that triggers the way we felt growing up. We may be projecting those traits onto our partner even if they don’t even have them in order to re-create the childhood experience. Thus, if we didn’t feel heard growing up, we may project on our spouse that he/she is not a good listener, even if he/she actually is.

3) Provoke- We may provoke our partner until they exhibit the negative behaviors of our caretakers. Even if he/she is a good listener, if we complain about it enough, we may provoke him/her not to listen.

Thus whether we pick, project, or provoke, we are trying to re-create our childhood so we can change it. So in short, even if we didn’t choose our spouse- as in an arranged marriage, we will see or create in them what we need to relive our childhood. This is an amazing opportunity to become more self-aware and achieve wholeness. Instead of getting stuck in the conflict, it is imperative to see the big picture and understand what is being triggered and how this conflict is really a call to greater connection.

It’s almost impossible for your childhood NOT to impact your relationship. If you truly want to be able to heal your past childhood experience so that it doesn’t continue to affect you in your present relationship, talk with us about our private 2 Day Marriage Restoration Retreat. So much of the work that we do over the 2 intensive days together of the retreat is precisely that. Making sure your childhood no longer impacts your relationship in negative ways. Talk with us today about the 2 Day Private Marriage Restoration Retreat!


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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact info@themarriagerestorationproject.com or