Bend Oregon marriage Counselor on being the gatekeeper of your relationship

October 14, 2013 by

About a month ago this Bend marriage counselor made another annual sojourn to the Sisters Folk Festival. Every year it seems I have three or four magical moments at the festival that give me pause and make me grateful. This year my wife and I saw a performance by Meg Hutchinson. She told a story about Kevin Briggs, a Marin County policeman whose motorcycle beat is the Golden Gate Bridge. Meg read an article about how he talks suicidal people off the bridge and was inspired to write a song about him called The Gatekeeper. She went on to say that she never sent it to him. Years later he emailed her to ask if she had written the song about him. They arranged a meeting and she asked him about how he talked to the people on the bridge. The first thing he said was “I mirror them”. When I heard the term “mirror” I about fell off my chair, because mirroring is central to the Imago Dialogue that I use with couples.

When Kevin encounters someone on the bridge in only a t-shirt on a cold Bay Area day, he goes a step further and actually mirrors them by taking off his jacket to feel the cold just like they are feeling it. If the person is crouching, he crouches. He then asks three questions:

• How are you are you feeling?
• what are your plans for tomorrow?
• will you let me help you make a plan?

Using this approach Kevin has literally convinced hundreds of people to live another day. In an interview with Meg by PRI’s Bob Edwards, he goes on to say that he approaches slowly, and if the person begins talking to him, he just listens.

The similarity to the Imago Dialogue is striking. Many times at Bend, Oregon Marriage Counseling couples come as a last resort, on the edge of divorce, with very little hope for recovery and a better relationship. Learning to “mirror” each other is a loving relationship skill that slows the interaction down and allows for a deeper listening and understanding. It allows partners to be present for each other. In essence partners become ‘gatekeepers’ for each other.  When partners feel heard and understood they become open to a new plan for their relationship. They become motivated and hopeful that they each have what it takes to create not only a better relationship, but the one they have dreamed of.

So whether you are on the verge of divorce or you have a good relationship you want to make better, consider learning the Imago Dialogue and become a ‘gatekeeper’ for your relationship. At Bend, Oregon Marriage Counseling you will find information about couples counseling and the tools to create lasting love that will give you the tools and information to create and sustain the relationship of your dreams.