Imago is the Latin word for “image.” In Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT), imago refers specifically to an unconscious, idealized concept of familiar love that one develops during childhood, and stays throughout adulthood.
As we consciously seek love in adulthood, we unconsciously seek out people who are similar to our imago that have both the positive AND negative qualities. IRT helps a couple explore the root of the emotional hurt or need and determines what elements causes those issues to manifest as strenuous and negative comments, feelings, and behaviors.
If you're one of those people who love to skip to the end of a book to find out the ending, you're in luck! Instead of getting into the nitty gritty of how IRT addresses childhood wounds, I will give you 2 tips on how to enhance your relationship and save the former for a future post!
2 Ways Imago Relationship Therapy Can Get the Passion Back!
Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt, the founders of IRT stress the importance of having that spark lit up in the relationship.
Tip # 1 - FUN!
If you and your partner(s) have been together for quite some time now, you may notice that you can find each other predictable in many ways. While that brings much comfort to the relationship, passion and curiosity may wane.
According to the founders of IRT, fun is a high-energy or intense activity that produces deep pleasure and/or laughter. This involves a connection between feelings of pleasure and our sense of safety with our partner(s). As you can imagine, things may become more spontaneous when including fun in the picture.
Now I can already hear you talking back to this post. “But we already have enough fun” or “we don't have time for fun, the kids are our priority.” While you say that you love and have so much fun watching Law and Order SVU together or going out to your usual dinner spot, that is not considered exuberant fun. Please allow me to elaborate. Fun can be brought about in various ways. Some examples of fun may include joking with each other, tickling/wrestling/or chasing each other, doing a silly dance while no one is looking, or engaging in massage with or without sex. These are activities that create immense pleasure or deep belly laughter.
If you feel uneasy engaging in fun and “letting yourself go” due to your own constraints or even if its messages from childhood preventing fun, try to consciously go against those uncomfortable feelings so that you can inhibit change behavior. Remember to let your partner(s) know what you're going through so that you can prepare for these feelings and keep the line of communication open to stay connected in your relationship.
Tip #2 - SURPRISE!
I meet many partners that share a divide in absolutely loving surprises and absolutely dreading surprises. However, when well thought out, a surprise should be pleasing to your partner when received unexpectedly.
“How do I know what to surprise my partner with?" Check it out. If we pay attention to our partner's statements they make, they are the secret clue to their wishes and dreams! For instance, may mention in passing (or while you are near somewhere) “I used to have so much fun going to the park with my family when I was younger” or “my dad makes the most delicious pumpkin roll!” Now you've got the intel on your partner's wishes, you can use that to add to your surprise list!
Use the statements that your partner(s) make in passing and add them to your Surprise List. The surprise list should be targeted surprises that you know your partner would love. From the example above, you could make a pumpkin roll from scratch for your partner or whisk your partner away for a nice picnic in the park. Try choosing one item from your list to use every week on different days/times to keep out of the routine.
I hope you have found these tips useful to try in your own relationship. As always feel free to contact me by phone or email with questions or appointment requests.
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