After writing Divide & Conquer, my husband and i had a really important talk about the space between us. He shared his fears of becoming that couple that forgets about their love and connection and falls into the rut of post-baby sexless doldrums. He presenced the very important teaching about “the space between.” A distinction taught by Harville Hendrix, cocreator of Imago Therapy and “conscious partnerships”, “the space between” is a teaching about the fact that children grow up in the “space” – energy, connection, communication level, love, etc. – between two parents/partners.
Given his very busy schedule, our commitment to be available for Veda pretty much always, and my unreadiness to allow another person to care for her even for just a short time until i felt she was ready, the space between us had become fairly under-nurtured. As it turned out, i was finally feeling ready (almost 8 months postpartum) to allow someone trusted and beloved in our life to step in and look after Veda for an hour or two so that Mark and i can go see a movie or have a luxurious, romantic lunch just the two of us. Night times are still reserved for Veda because her sleep is unpredictable and she doesn’t take a bottle. So rather then actual date nights, our romantic and private excursions will have to take place before 6pm when the bedtime routine begins. I am happy to remain consistent for V during the night and my husband and i are THRILLED to be funneling some of our energy back into the space between us, knowing that while we may both be hyper focused on raising Veda and working hard for the money, none of that matters if the “space between” us isn’t juicy and thriving.
The reminder is short and sweet, obvious even, but keeping the space between our relationships (even our platonic relationships or those with our children) is so important. And what better way to teach our children about relationships, love, commitment, and conflict resolution then to BE those things embodied and in action. It used to really upset me if my husband and i got into an upset while Veda, being that she was (and mostly still is) always by our side, would have a ringside seat to a heated scuffle. But then i realized that she was also fully present for the clearing, deep listening, communication, validation, empathy and healing that would follow. I realized that though i don’t necessarily think its appropriate for children to intentionally witness everything that goes on between partners, there is merit to seeing the process of consciously communicating even if it begins with a bout of unconscious shutting down and anger.
So consider this a friendly reminder to keep the space where your family grows clean and clear. If you need support, get it! There is no shame in that game. Relationships can get messy and if we don’t have the tools or proper support to keep things flowing harmoniously then we should seek it out. My man and i call upon a trusted therapist when needed. When wounds get flared and listening gets hard it’s very helpful to have a neutral space holder to help us get beyond ourselves and to build the loving bridge back to one another. Our partners are designed to frustrate and annoy us as much as they are the keys to our heart and soul! Our job is to use all that “stuff” to expand within ourselves and deepen the space between us so that we can build a life greater then we ever dreamed and raise babies healthier and wiser then we ever dreamed.