During a Couples Therapy class at the beginning of my graduate program, a professor introduced the idea of “The Core”. She referred to this as the organic bond between a couple; the primary reasons that pulled them together to create a partnership. The Core is the foundation and should be protected and nurtured in order for a couple to have a strong and lasting relationship.
When you protect the core, you prevent three things from occurring in your relationship:
- Giving Up
Disconnecting: This is a natural process that happens in a relationship. As humans we disconnect all the time. We disconnect from people, from situations, and from ourselves. We use this as a way to cope with the daily stressors of life. It can be healthy to disconnect every once in a while because it prevents us from losing control. However, if we become disconnected from your partners, it can be detrimental to the relationship. Evaluating your connection as a couple can indicate if you are connecting healthily. If you feel you have disconnected, it takes work between both parties to actively try to reconnect on a level that is comfortable and conducive to happiness.
Interference: Allowing others to penetrate the core is hazardous to any relationship. The more you are able to keep the focus on the needs of each other, the better. What many fail to realize is that we all have different standards for what’s “normal”. You and your partner have established norms for your relationship. When you invite others into your relationship, whether it be through asking for advice or during an emotional purge, you open the door for others to criticize the “norms” of your relationship and identify something as a problem, that may not necessarily be a true problem for you. Be aware of the level of interference you allow in your relationship!
Giving Up: This may be the ultimate reason for taking the necessary steps to protect the core. You want to create a lasting relationship, so giving up should never be an option. Giving up on your partner, on your situation and your relationship are non-negotiables and should be considered only as a last resort. As a couple, you must exhaust all options, explore your connections, eliminate interference’s and bring your focus to resolving the issues in your relationship (to nauseum) before you decide to split.
In the Protect the Core series, we will cover topics that have to do with reconnecting with your partner, avoiding those interferences and exploring options that stray away from walking away from a relationship that could be rectified.
*Disclaimer*: Although we speak of relationship “norms” and the idea of not giving up, there are special circumstances that are standard and true for all relationships. We would never encourage staying in a relationship that is verbally, emotionally or physically abusive. Nor do we encourage people to stay in a relationship that is toxic or dangerous!