I love doing couples’ work, and consider it a specialty. In an uncertain world, few things are as reliable as an intimate relationship – reliable that is, for bringing into awareness the remaining emotional patterns that obscure each partner’s more essential nature. In this way, couples’ work can be rather economical – sort of God’s way of hitting two birds with one stone.

Like snowflakes, no two couples are exactly the same. Yet 30 years of working with couples leads me to note an interesting phenomenon that commonly presents itself in the consulting room. This is the presence of what I term “the Shadow Couple.” For at the point at which couples initially seek help, the Shadow Couple has often begun to crowd “the Lovers” off-stage. Here the particular form of defensive reactivity experienced by one member of the couple has had the uncanny ability to activate the reactivity of their partner. These two forms of reactivity tend then to abduct a relationship and deliver it into a recrimination-filled Wasteland that not only crowds the Lovers off-stage, but also obscures the deeper nature of each member of the couple. 

Once couples have become more savvy in identifying the Shadow couple in their relationship, they may recognize this as a systemic issue, rather than blaming the partner for one’s own contraction and reactivity. Here the couple can band together against a common opponent – while given specific tools for uncovering an already content, non-dual, and loving Presence – a birthright that had become obscured…