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Bridging Hearts: Nurturing Connection in Your Relationship Journey

Tonya Cox

February 22, 2024

Bridging Hearts- Nurturing Connection in Your Relationship Journey

Imagine with me being on a beautiful trail walking by the seashore or along a mountain path. Picture the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that envelop you in this sensory experience. As we immerse ourselves in this mental journey, it becomes apparent that our five senses play a crucial role in connecting us with the world around us.

Deep within our human essence lies an intricate design tailored for connection. Our five senses act as the conduits through which we engage with the world, collecting information that our brains interpret to shape our experiences.  Consider the intricate dance of light connecting with the photoreceptors in our eyes, allowing us to see the beauty that surrounds us. The vibrations of sound connecting with our auditory nerve, enabling us to hear the rhythmic symphony of nature. The taste of food connecting with the microvilli on our tongues, and scents connecting with our olfactory sensory neurons, creating a tapestry of flavors and aromas. Even the sensation of touch relies on mechanosensory neurons embedded in our skin.

In essence, it is through these intricate connections that we experience and navigate our world. However, our inherent ability for connection goes beyond the sensory—it is profoundly significant in shaping our perceptions, influencing our relationships, and defining our overall human experience.  Just as there are laws of nature that govern how our five senses work, there are also laws that govern and support our connections with others. Understanding and applying these principles become the keystone to nurturing and sustaining meaningful connections. 

The first law to understand is the law of safety.  This experience of safety includes physical safety as well as emotional and psychological well being.  If you or your companion are not feeling safe in your relationship, there arise automatic obstacles to connection.  Without that safety we come into any interaction with walls up and/or battle gear on.  As Harville Hendrix explains, “you go into the self protective mode you learned in childhood.” This does not lend to meaningful nor vulnerable connection.  

It is imperative that we each take 100% accountability for our thoughts and perceptions about our own safety. It is not another person’s responsibility to make us feel safe. Assigning the responsibility of our safety to someone other than ourselves  is just giving our power away. It sets us up to be the continual victim.  There may be limiting beliefs that cause us to see through lenses of “I am unsafe.”  A continual feeling of not being safe may reflect a need for some interpersonal work to heal an inner child that is continually feeling unsafe.  This is where technology like Rapid Eye can come into play.  

Nevertheless, within relationships we can learn how to create safety for our partners. One way to do this is by devoting time to actively listen, validate, and empathize with our significant other.  This becomes a powerful practice in establishing that sense of security.  Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt introduced Imago Dialogue as part of Imago Relationship Therapy, a communication technique centered on mirroring, validating, and empathizing. This method is designed to create a safe and open space, encouraging constructive conversations between partners and ultimately enhancing understanding and connection within relationships.

The Imago Dialog is a very structured way of communication.  Some couples shy away from it because it feels awkward and contrived.  I will freely admit that is true!   Anytime we are learning something new it can feel awkward.  But the more we do it the more comfortable it becomes.  Learning and implementing the process of an Imago Dialog, while seen as an artificially created or forced way of communicating, begins to teach couples the principles necessary for successful, safe, and connecting communication.  When the Imago Dialog becomes natural and known it can then easily flow into a greater harmony and rhythm in the communication in your relationship.

Learning the Imago Dialog was an incredible gift to my own marriage.  I had been married for over 30 years, and my husband and I had done a lot of communicating over the years, some much more successful than others!  We had learned a lot about our communication patterns and pitfalls and even some helpful guidelines through the years.  However, we often were still missing each other and misunderstanding each other. When there was conflict we were coming away from our communications more hurt than connected.  The Imago Dialog helped us slow things down and really connect on a deeper level.  I can attest to the safety it created between us.  After many “structured” conversations we are now comfortable applying those principles on a regular basis without so much structure.  Nevertheless, when we start to feel those walls or defenses go up we will stop, slow things down, and go back into a very structured Imago Dialog to support us in creating safety not only for successful communication but also deeper connection.This helps us truly feel safe to be vulnerable and let our hearts be seen and known.  It is through this heart connection that we thrive individually and as a couple.  

With this heart connection in place you will feel safe and can experience more freedom in your relationship.  Maybe even freedom to be more playful in your communications like sending loving texts to your partner! (link lead magnet here) Your partner will also hear and understand your motives with more clarity and truth as you do.  The intricate design of connection, innately within us and so freely experienced through our five senses, can flow into our relationships becoming more natural and known, creating a beautiful world to live in with the one you love.

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