“The space between two lovers is holy, you have to honour it,” says relationship builder Hedy Schleifer. You can see it as a light, clean oasis, that you want to protect from the annoyances of everyday life. But the big question is: How do you keep this space pure?
Sometimes it seems as if love is withdrawing from a couple’s life. Intense infatuation has changed into a common, sustainable form of loving. It’s as if love has gone, or has dozed off, but that’s a facade.
We tend to have an unrealistic idea of love. We think of the dream couples on screen, and trust that everything will be alright in the end – as long as you hold each other tight. But real life is different.
According to Israeli – American psychologist Hedy Schleifer, it’s important to draw from the love between two people. She says you have to treat each other carefully – which is something entirely different than holding each other tight and suffocating one another. And she says that love is costly, and –even though it’s powerful – that it’s easily covered up by the daily pursuit.
‘The space between two lovers is holy, you have to “honour it”, she says. You can keep it clean by protecting it from “relational pollution”: An irritated look or remark, silence, a sigh.
Even small collisions set the tone: In the space of our relation, you can make a mess. And just as people are more likely to throw their garbage on the floor in a filthy environment, we’re more likely to pollute our relational space if we don’t treat it as a holy, important place.
You can put this to the test, by reducing your polluting behaviour. This means no useless discussions just to prove someone wrong in unimportant matters, no mumbling last words, no irritating remarks about things your lover does or doesn’t do. If something’s really bothering you, pick a quiet moment to talk about it, in a respectful, loving manner.
You’ll see that the effect of this “experiment” is impressive. You hardly change anything, and still, you’ll notice big changes that bring cheer and relax both of you. Even if there is tension, it’ll disappear if you respond to it in a positive way.
In the beginning, it might feel a bit artificial, but it’ll become more and more natural to treat each other this way. You’ll find that your new attitude is contagious: after a while, your partner will stop reacting in a polluting way, too.
Oftentimes, this attitude is more powerful than “working on your relationship”, because this can lead to focusing on the problems – and forgetting about love.
Text: Marte Kaan – Photo: Tom the Photographer
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