Creating a Safe Sanctuary for Your Relationship to Flourish ll By Dorothy Wallis

We enter into relationship.  There is something about this person that attracts us and thus begins the journey into love.  Magnetized by this spell, we innocently and naively and often blissfully, sometimes cautiously, “fall in love.”  Have you wondered why it is called “falling in love?”  Love pulls us into a chasm, the magnitude of which we cannot comprehend.  It is a falling into depths unknown.  This is a journey that starts with a promise and that promise is that all of our needs will be met and we will be happy.  We soon discover that the “fall” into love is not what fairy tales have depicted.  

Relationship is fraught with high hopes and expectations.  Most of these we are unaware of in ourselves until we discover that our partner is not meeting them.  “If you loved me, then you would know what I need,” we silently believe.  Unbeknown to even ourselves, we are looking for security.  The world is a dangerous place and having a companion that offers a safe haven is a foundational need that love offers.

Love is not a destination.  It is not a rest stop.  It is a long and winding path of challenges and hidden treasures.  Love is an act of creation and movement.  It requires active participation to keep it alive and growing.  Participating in relationship, you begin to find out what you need through the friction of differences as well as the comfort of what is similar.  Love is a journey of discovery about oneself as much as it is about learning about your partner. 

Since a sense of security is a basic need to thrive, how do you go about creating a safe haven in which both of you can feel secure, grow, and flourish?  You start with love as the container of your sacred sanctuary.  It is a place where you protect each other and stand together against the onslaughts and challenges of the world.  You take an active role in learning about each other’s needs and desires and quickly repair hurts that occur between you.  This is the undertaking necessary for a secure functioning relationship.  When two people have a secure functioning relationship, it provides a solid and strong supportive structure that is resilient and adaptable.  These are the relationships that allow each one to grow and these are the relationships with longevity and love that matures into a beautiful fruit of trust.

Trust allows you to enter into life and express your highest self.  When you can count on a companion to be there for you, have your back, and protect the safety of your union, there is a sense of relief and freedom to engage with life.  Trust is not a quality that is automatically bestowed between two people.  It must be cultivated.  There are actions and behaviors involved that build trust.  

Get to Know What Helps Your Partner Feel Safe and Secure 

This is a process that happens with intention and attention over time.  Most people do not come out of childhood or adolescence with complete secure attachment.  This means that we all have wounds and sensitivities, which form feelings of vulnerability in intimate relationships.  These vulnerabilities will be unique to each person depending on his or her prior experiences of relationship.  

Finding out includes asking your partner what helps them feel safe or what they need to feel secure, but they may not know.  Be a detective.  There are behavioral clues when your partner is not feeling safe.  Some people withdraw; others get angry, moody, or melancholic.  Some people want to fight and others disengage or dissociate.  Notice your partner’s emotions and behaviors.  Instead of reacting to their behavior realize that something is amiss.  This is the time for you to give compassionate understanding.  Validate their feelings.  Let them know you are there for them and allow them space.  Patience is priceless.

Get to Know What Helps You Feel Safe and Secure

Being aware of your behaviors and emotions will tell you when you are not feeling safe or secure.  What triggers a sense that you are not safe and how do you respond?  Exploring this facet of yourself will tell you what you need.  You are then able to share with your partner what helps you feel safe and to work with these areas so that you develop inner security. 

Emotional Honesty Empowers Transparency

When you pay attention to your partner’s emotional state and to your own, you are in touch with the tender vulnerable parts of yourself.  It can be difficult to honestly reveal your true feelings for fear that it will disrupt your relationship.  When you are angry, sad or afraid it may seem risky to open up and yet hiding your authentic feelings or keeping secrets distances you from your partner.  Letting go of your inhibitions and defensive stance and revealing your fears, desires and opinions honors you and your relationship.  As you open up there is greater freedom for your partner to be honest as well especially if you create a safe haven by being open and receptive to their thoughts, feelings and opinions.  Compassion expands from letting go of judgment and mutually sharing your inner world.  Differences are welcomed and become curiosities. 

Your Partner Comes First

At the start of your relationship, you spent much of your time together or thinking about one another.  The delicious interest in your partner never seemed like enough.  Over time life and responsibilities take over. Work, children or other pursuits require attention and these can swallow up time that used to be given to your partner.  When things get busy your relationship gets put on the back burner.  Without proper attention the two of you drift off into other interests and people.  This trajectory can find you confiding your daily experiences or sharing important ideas with someone other than your partner.  It may seem innocuous but it will corrode the sense of mutual trust and safety you have built with your loved one.   

Your partner needs to be “your go-to person.”  They need to be the one who hears good or bad news first.  They need to be the one you confide in and who hears your inner thoughts and feelings.  They come first over any person, place, thing or what other people want.  Intimacy is created when you share the significant aspects of your life.  Make sure your partner’s thoughts, feelings and needs take priority.  Make space for emotional connection.  Be there for them when they are stressed or in distress.  When you “have your partner’s back” you resolve differences with them rather than going to someone else.  You don’t gossip, talk bad about them or “throw them under the bus.”  You protect your partner in public and stand by them.  When you disagree with their behavior or opinion, you discuss it when you are alone.  Have an agreement that your relationship takes precedence over either of your need to be right.  This builds safety and trust.

Protect Your “Couple Bubble” from Harm

The term “Couple Bubble” has become ubiquitous.  It is a conscious decision to mutually create a protected safe sanctuary where you can truly relax, find respite from the outside world, and enjoy the comfort of a kind, loving atmosphere.  In order to keep your bubble safe, you are willing to protect it not just from outside forces but from your own demons as well.  No slings and arrows allowed.  Maintaining this environment takes energy and attention.  

Each person contributes by:

  • Equally giving and receiving
  • Respecting dreams and desires  
  • Supporting mental, spiritual, and emotional growth
  • Listening to and communicating needs  
  • Mutually making important decisions
  • Actively engaging in resolution of conflicts
  • Allowing time for closeness as well as independence 
  • Being thoughtful and showing daily kindness
  • Having high regard for the well-being and care of each other

The romantic image of “Happily Ever After” can only happen when two people greet Love and relationship with conscious appreciation and understanding of the path ahead.  I invite you to build a safe and sacred sanctuary filled with love, truth, beauty, trust, harmony and peace where you can authentically be yourself and mutually flourish. 

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is a Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist and an International Spiritual Teacher at the forefront of the consciousness movement for over thirty years grounded in practices of meditation, family systems, relationships, and emotional growth.  Her work reflects efficacious modalities of alternative approaches to healing for individuals and couples based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality. 

As a leader in the field of emotional consciousness and the connection to mind, body and spirit, her compassionate approach safely teaches you how to connect to your body, intuition and knowing to clear emotional wounds and trauma at the core.  The powerful Heartfulness protocol empowers your ability to join with your body’s innate capacity to heal through holistic Somatic, Sensory and Emotional awareness. and