This weekly column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and …
This weekly column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. List a first name that grants permission for printing.
Dear Dr. Ted:
Lately I had a relationship end and I decided to look into patterns within relationships and what causes them to work or not work with a goal to have future relationships be more successful and conscious. Something I came across was the idea of personal and couple archetypes and how relationships fall into certain categories. Can you say more on this topic of archetypes and relationships?
I commend you for being willing to explore, research and try to understand this complex and confusing dance called relationships.
So many people would rather avoid talking about relationships and especially the relationship they are presently experiencing. You bring up the topic of archetypes within relationships.
Archetypes are collectively inherited, often unconscious patterns, that are identified as certain characters. Archetypes can be identified in individuals, couples and groups. With a couple, becoming conscious of archetypes can help transform a relationship, as the couple recognizes patterns that support or sabotage the intimacy and partnering towards health and a conscious relationship.
David Steele from the Relationship Coaching Institute identifies 12 relationship archetypes: The Power Couple: Task oriented with the purpose of achieving a certain status such as finances, business or material goals. The New Age Couple: Purpose toward personal and spiritual growth. The Family-Oriented Couple: Purpose is to raise children and care for extended family. The Religious Couple: Purpose is to serve God and religious community. The Service Couple: Purpose to make a positive difference in the world through their service and passion. The Adventurous Couple: Purpose is to pursue stimulating experiences through different activities. The Unhappy Couple: Purpose is to deflect personal responsibility by blaming partner and situations for dissatisfaction and unhappiness with no action to change the situation. The Intellectual Couple: Purpose is to pursue knowledge. The Co-Dependent Couple: Purpose to take care of one another (the helper needs to help and the helpee needs help). The Hedonistic Couple: Purpose is to seek pleasure and feel good in any form. The Survival Couple: Purpose is meeting everyday needs in order to survive. The Soul Mate Couple: Purpose is to leverage one another's strengths to fulfill individual and combined potential (this relationship combines all the archetypes and brings out the best of each archetype).
The last is the archetype most couples would like to be and yet, due to the path of least resistance, couples get caught in the status-quo trap and slowly fall into a certain pattern that decreases communication while building wedges between the two people rather than bridges.
Taking the bravery to explore your own strengths, weaknesses, wants and needs, and communicating these with a partner open to hearing and sharing can lead to a relationship in which both individuals benefit. This type of relationship takes discipline and humility but in the long run can allow for a partnership that recognizes and honors the needs of both participants allowing the strengths to rise and grow.
A couple willing to look at their relationship and change and grow to support each other will be able to have their archetypal personalities become assets to evolving their relationship, rather than saboteurs of the dream toward health and safety.
Until next week, take care.
Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, founder of Golden Willow Retreat, at GWR@newmex.com.
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