By Sonali Sadequee, Certified Imago Facilitator
The practice of intentional love brings gifts that are deep and healing to lovers. Intentional love gives birth to mature relationships that are emotionally grounded and accountable and soulfully enriching. According to the teachings of Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D., the authors of New York Times bestsellers of Getting the Love You Want, romantic relationships can move through three basic phases. The first phase is the Romantic phase; the second is the Power Struggle phase, and the third is Real Love.
The first phase, the Romantic phase, is usually classified and driven by a cornucopia of biochemicals like dopamine,oxytocin, serotonin, and others. This is what feels so incredible and magical when we first begin to feel drawn to, connect emotionally with, and build a romantic bond with that special someone. This is the stage where lovers feel euphoric and “in love.” After the exhilaration of the Romantic phase dwindles, the lovers may slip into the treacherous territory of the Power Struggle phase.
Over time, misunderstandings, miscommunications, discord, fears, and disconnection can occur which can move the lovers into the second phase, the Power Struggle phase. Unfortunately, most people who are unaware of these natural phases and dynamics of romantic relationships often mistake the discord and fears as wrong and problematic instead of seeing it as an opportunity for growth, call for better relational skills, and deeper connection. Consequently, the lovers get caught up in the “struggle.” This second phase can last days to years. This stage can feel more challenging if they are not equipped with “intentional love” and relational skills such as the Imago Dialogue or Safe Conversations methods. In fact, if they are not aware of their unconscious patterns, what attracted the lovers into each other’s lives in the beginning will become exactly what they criticize each other about eventually in this second phase.
Nonetheless, there is hope. The lovers can restore the connectedness of the relationship by becoming dialogical through the Imago Dialogue and Safe Conversations practices which are basically quality and mindful communication skills. Continuously and skillfully engaging in these practices can usher the partners into the third phase, the Real Love phase. If the partners are to continue their relationship successfully, they will find that it takes intentionality to love each other with integrity. They will find that it also takes self-awareness and accountability towards their own unconscious behaviors and past programming.
In order for the relationship to mature, the partners must discover how to love their partner the way their partner wants to be loved. They learn how to align intention with impact.
The practice of loving requires that partners discern and communicate their various emotions with each other. This means they intentionally choose to share and hold space for each other’s fears, insecurities, pleasures, dreams, and a host of other vulnerable feelings. The purpose is to grow and deepen their relationship. This can feel challenging for partners since it requires fierce vulnerability. Intentional love is about choosing to be brave and vulnerable and yet communicative about boundaries simultaneosly. This is intimacy. Intentional love paves the way for the natural progression to Real Love.
Real Love phase:
The lovers who intentionally choose this courageous phase and trajectory will be rewarded by growing their souls together united in the infinite cosmic journey. Even if it feels scary and challenging, they will know that opening up to such a trajectory is ultimately deepening their bond and connection to each other as soulful lovers, as soul-mates. As a result, they will enjoy learning about each other with authenticity, humility, compassion, accountability, and a sense of adventure. They will communicate with curiosity before making judgments, projections, assumptions, or conclusions about their partners. They will appreciate and celebrate each other’s differences and existance.
Intentional lovers will turn criticism into curiosity and insecurities into requests and hopes. They will cleanse and cease judgements and conclusions about each other. They will invite each other to be supportive with their inner-struggles, as team-mates. Intentional lovers will know that messy and unpleasant emotions can be a powerful healing force for the relationship when held and transmuted intentionally and responsibly. They will support each other turn their wounds into wisdom. —These are just a few of the gifts of practicing love intentionally with each other.
Intentional lovers know that holding space for each other with love and tenderness is how they can create a lasting soulful relationship. When they make the intention to love people with all our heart, soul, mind, and body, it means they care enough to concern themselves with the way they impact others. The partners intend to learn, grow, and serve the relationship and their partners for as long as they agree to be in the relationship.
Intentional love requires that partners choose to communicate wisely. They have to say what they mean and be clear about their emotions, intentions, and motivations. In such relationships, they are deliberate every step of the way with their partners and take accountability for being co-pilots and stewards of this sacred and intimate connection called… love. Ultimately, intentional love allows you to get the love you and your partner want in your relationship.
Intentional love is mature love. It is conscious love. It is soulful love.
Intentional love is... sexy love.
To learn how to cultivate intentional love in your life, contact Sonali Sadequee, Certified Imago Facilitator.