Does love have any chance?
There can be hope even one minute before signing the divorce
By Hagit Rabbi
They came to me in a Personal Encounter. Ariel was in his forties, a handsome and very successful film director, and Ana in her thirties, also a beautiful, warm and very talented artist.
It was love at first sight. There was a very strong sexual attraction between them, which has not changed despite being married for more than fifteen years. They have a solid commitment to each other as a couple and to the family they made (there have been no affairs and no lovers on the scene) but the problem is they don’t stop fighting. Each conversation, about almost any subject, ends in a fight and it takes a long time to make peace before the next one starts. Ana doesn’t stop crying, Ariel’s blood pressure rises and right in the middle are the children who obviously suffer a lot with that atmosphere at home.
Normally, when two people go to couple therapy, each one gives their points of view to the therapist. So the power struggle continues, only now they both hope to convince a “third” party that each one is right and that their partner is the one who is wrong. In short, when there is a war, everyone wants to win.
However, I do not let the war even begin. If the couple in front of me is very tense, I choose to break the ice by telling them about the decision my husband and I made some time ago which is: not to fight on vacation.
“Isn’t it a waste of time and money to fight when you’re staying in a five-star hotel?" I ask them smiling. Continuing, I add:
"If you have to fight, do it at home and for free." Ariel and Ana laugh relieved and understand what I meant.
I look at them and intuitively perceive that both have very passionate characters: the two are artists. I also gather that their frequent fights must be related to the fact that the two react very emotionally and in extreme ways to situations, and therefore cannot achieve effective communication.
They came to me convinced that they have a problem or problems to solve. And I, first of all, wanted them to understand that they did not know how to talk to each other.
"Do you know Hebrew?" I asked.
"We don’t". The two responded.
"Excellent!" They looked at me in amazement.
"I'm going to start speaking in Hebrew and I want you to tell me what you understand."
I did it like that. I began to speak in Hebrew about love, reciting poems and songs, quoting phrases from the Song of Songs but all with a distressed look on my face, loudly and moving my hands and body very abruptly.
"I know that you didn’t understand a word. But what did you perceive of how I spoke?" I asked them.
"You're frustrated and angry." Ana said.
"You became imbalanced." Ariel said. (This is the typical masculine way of defining feminine anger and frustration).
“Well, I just talked about love." I told them. "But let’s get to the point. In fact, it is not important what we talk about but how we talk. If our energy is that of war, everything is going to be said, even if it is the truth and justice in its purest manifestation, our partner will not listen to it because he or she is naturally going to be busy defending themselves or counterattacking. And so it is in war. If, on the other hand, we count on a high level of communicative skills, then we can talk about any subject: from the education of the boys to sex and money, without a war breaking out. On the contrary, there will be connection, harmony and love. This is the first thing they will learn from me: to communicate."
I saw in their faces that they can mentally understand where I want to guide them but many years of fighting have made them both skeptical when it comes to thinking about whether they can really reach a life of connection, harmony and love.
Then I understood that in order to start working with them, I had to awaken the motivation in them first. Because without the motivation they were like two people sitting in a car without gas that can’t go anywhere.
I offered a pencil and paper to each of them.
"What I’d like you to do now is to write the three most daring dreams you have for your relationship. Imagine that there is a fairy godmother here with a magic wand capable of fulfilling these three dreams, even if you think they are the most impossible to achieve in the world.”
I played background music and said, "When you're ready, go ahead. Ah, this is very important! Dreams should be written using positive language. For example: 'I dream of having incredible sex' and not 'I dream that we will not have boring sex anymore' Is it clear? It's important because fairies do not understand the negative language."
They both laughed and I thanked Hedy Schleiffer internally from whom I learned that it is always better to start with dreams than with problems.
After a few minutes they handed me the papers, I read them and began to pray with all my heart: "God, give me the inspiration to unite these dreams into one: a dream capable of awakening these two beautiful souls to re-believe in the power of their love."
And so these dreams were linked in a poetic dream that I began to read while the background music continued to play:
"Our dream is to live a life of passion
In our missions as artists
In the sexual and spiritual connection of our life as a couple
To be a source of inspiration for our children, friends, students and anyone who crosses our paths
Learn to guide and contain the passion so that it flows and does not overflow
Our dream is to live a life of passion. From here to eternity"
When I looked up, I saw in their eyes tears of hope. And this hope is what I want to strengthen because it is the fuel that will allow them to get wherever they want.
"Do you have the strength to listen to something else?" I asked.
Already holding hands and with glazed eyes they said “Yes”.
Then I told them about the Triangle of Love, a model developed by the American psychologist Robert Sternberg, in the light of his research on the subject. This model distinguishes three components that exist in a couple’s love:
1- Intimacy: it is the emotional approach. It implies the desire to give, to receive, to share. The basis of intimacy is good communication.
2- Commitment: it is the decision to maintain that love in both good and bad times.
3 - Passion: a state of intense desire and union with the each other, great sexual or romantic desire.
So for example, a couple that has intimacy + commitment = companionate love. While a relationship that has intimacy + passion = romantic love. If there is only passion = blind love. Only commitment = empty love and only intimacy = affection. If there is none of the three = there is lack of love.
"And for you Hagit, what kind of love do you think we have?" Ariel asked.
"Crazy love, which contains passion and commitment." I answered immediately.
"That's just what I feel!" Ana could not contain her emotion. "We cannot live together but we cannot be apart and it's really crazy."
I really empathized with Ana and I told her I understood her completely. Some years ago I was in the same situation, in this same state of madness. And that's why I know with certainty that if they accept to work on their communication to achieve intimacy, they can reach complete love, which contains: intimacy + commitment + passion.
On the other hand, I also know, almost certainly, that fights and lack of communication wear passion out and in the end the same will happen to commitment which can even cause divorce.
"So what do we have to do to get achieve this intimacy?" They asked me both at the same time, full of motivation.
"It's like this: passion you already have it naturally, commitment you already chose and intimacy and communication you have learn and train. I teach you all this staff in Gym for Life."