Re-igniting the "Us" Bond

Do you ever feel as if the "us" bond in your relationship is shaky? Psychotherapist and couples therapist, Charlotte Kasl ( ), author of the hugely popular If the Buddha Dated and If the Buddha Married, suggests some things you can do to strengthen your intimate relationship when you and your partner feel less than close. This week, I have adapted a 7-step process to clarify and then help you strengthen the "us" bond in your relationship, based on Dr. Kasl's in If the Buddha Married:

1. Think of what you have to gain by creating an "us" place.
You need to imagine (or re-imagine) what it feels like to feel safe and at ease with your partner.

2. Learn the language and mind-set of "us."

"US" is the alchemy of two people feeling committed and joined together. It's the bridge between two separate selves. First, think of times when you felt that "us" place. Next, on a day to day basis, consider how your partner spent his or her day. Imagine or ask how your partner is feeling? The more you think of your partner as both separate and connected to you, the more able you are to clear the way to coming together as friends and being interested in each other's point of view and situations.

3. Repeatedly ask the question, "Am I creating closeness or separation?"
Do you criticize your partner? Does your partner criticize you? If so, you need to stop and ask yourself, what re you really feeling/needing or longing for? This helps shift from criticism and attacks to revealing your tender side: "I miss you when you stay so long at work." Then picture your partner on his or her special journey. Next, remind yourself that you love this person and want him or her to be happy; then go toward that person in love, not judgment, blame, or criticism.

Later this week, you will find three more practical ways to help you connect with your partner in a more positive, life-enhancing way.