LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XIV. PLATE ONE: BUILDING A NEST (ESTABLISHING A HOME TOGETHER)

LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XIV. PLATE ONE: BUILDING A NEST (ESTABLISHING A HOME TOGETHER)

In studying the life of an individual, one attends to all the events, historical forces and internal characteristics that impact on this person. While this is a major task, it seems small when compared to the task of describing and understanding the life of a couple. When studying couples, one must examine all of these factors as they impact on both of the individuals in the relationship, as well as the couple itself. It’s not easy to formulate a simple, descriptive model that will account for the dynamics and complex development of even one-couple let alone many couples.

The Plate Theory

Adult development theorists borrow the concepts of stage and phase from biology in their description of the systematic changes that occur in the individual lives of men and women. When speaking of the predictable stages through which adults move, they use, an analogy, the seasons of biological life. We will appropriate a model from another field, geology, when describing the complexities of couple development.

Geologists have discovered that the continents and other major land masses on Earth are actually mobile “tectonic plates” that move slowly toward or away from, one another to form. new continental configurations, new oceans, new mountain ranges (where the plates collide) and new valleys or rifts (where the plates separate. Similarly, the relationship between two members of a couple might be considered a single, unified entity (like our planet) on which floats a set of developmental plates that sometimes exist in isolation from one another and at other times in combination with one another. These moving plates yield a dynamic, changing configuration called the “couple”. Just as tectonic plates collide to form the majestic mountains of this world and in doing so produce earthquakes and other geological disturbances, so it might be said that developmental plates collide and produce the majestic elements of a couple’s relationship, while also producing disruptive (and at times destructive) interpersonal earthquake

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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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