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Creating a Great Marriage is Difficult, Possible, & Worth the Effort

Linda: The heavenly scene was a picture of cooperation and co-creativity. When we are out for ourselves, there is a big price to pay. When we learn to cooperate fully with others, we are all nourished. Our lives are enhanced. We do not feel alone, nor are we encumbered with meeting life’s challenges unsupported. We have people in our life that will work with us to create a truly exciting, and joyful life.

Co-creativity is a process involving collaboration and support, where we amplify and expand each other’s creative potential. Co-creativity is characterized by zest, gusto, excitement, interconnectedness, trust, closeness, a meeting of the hearts, and minds. Ray Bradbury calls it “tossing ideas like confetti.” There is a deep delight in the joining of two visions and two voices to create something new. It’s a lot like love-making, starting with slow gentle touches, becoming more passionate and heated as the ideas bounce back and forth, building on each other, holding a steady charge of excitement, then culminating in a clear vision of what we want to create out in the world together.

These conditions of trust and mutual respect can be hard-won. A couple can arrive in the magical zone where there is no distinction between work and play. With lots of laughter, pure enjoyment and deep mutual respect for the different contributions we each bring. We forget about time; hours going by without our noticing because we are so absorbed in the process.

An image of the intimacy stage is a couple standing across from each other, melting into each other’s eyes, experiencing the bliss of connection and merger. Perhaps there are tears in their eyes because they are so moved by their love. If you have ever laughed and cried at the same time, you know the experience of crying for joy. This couple is filled with love to overflowing. When they are completely filled, they turn to stand side by side, facing out into the world.

This turning to face the world is the transition from the intimacy to the co-creative stage. Whereas at first the intensity of the energy is contained in the relationship between the pair, it fills to overflowing and naturally seeks a wider area of distribution. The couple feels compelled to take the understanding that they experience and move with it out into the larger world, to touch others in some way with the depth of their transformative love.

Believe it or not, there can come a time when we get all the love we want. We’re stuffed to the gills like overeating on Thanksgiving. The love we experience for our partner is so vast that the channel is too narrow to funnel all that love. The love spills over into the world. In the presence of a divine energy force, we are flowing in the stream of life. Participating in something transpersonal, larger than the self, gives us a sense of personal power, centeredness, connection, and understanding.

Creativity is manifesting something that didn’t exist before; it is self-trust. Co-creativity is joining with another to form something out of nothing. Co-creativity is a manifestation of the trust that builds between two people in the process of doing the work of the relationship. There is no quick fix. There are no short cuts we can’t go straight to the co-creative stage. We must all move through the earlier stages of the relationship first, which involves a lot of work.

Co-creativity is a dynamic energy that motivates risk-taking. It is a connection to the deepest part of one partner reaching out to connect to the deepest part of the other, as confidence in self, confidence in others, and trust on an expanded level. The connection involves deep empathy and listening. We receive different levels of communication simultaneously, a practical, logical understanding accompanied by intuitive knowing. Out of this hearing comes full responsiveness.

Co-creativity is fun. Enthusiasm prevails. It’s stimulating, provocative, mind-stretching, absorbing, with the excitement of being on the edge of the precipice. This is a pleasurable enlivening edge, anticipating continual surprise. It’s here and now, in the moment, compelling us to pay attention. It’s laughter, celebration, and honoring what has been accomplished and building on each other’s ideas.

In the co-creative stage, we become the magician, the sorcerer, the one who can comprehend the grand scheme of things. We know then that the difficulty in the relationship is not a curse, but an opportunity for growth, a challenge to grow stronger, wiser, more mature, and more loving. By the time we reach the co-creative stage of the relationship, we have gone into the dark night of the soul as individuals many times, and have also visited there as a couple on numerous occasions. It is this hard acquaintance with the shadow material that has helped to dispel the prejudice against the dark and previously forbidding matter.

We have contacted unconscious material. A good example of such a meeting is when in response to great pain in our relationship we felt hatred and murderous rage. The depth of these feelings comes out of the depth of our caring. Learning how to be present with hatred and rage, leads us to a new depth of love.

Maintaining equanimity in the face of crisis, no curses, only challenges, the magician practices opening to what is. With the broader vision, the magician sees through the images we hid behind in fear, to the truth within. Having arrived at a place where we can stay open to what is, even a small percentage of the time, gives a sense of great power. We feel courageous and capable, proud of being able to handle life.

Discovering the hidden workings of the psyche is arduous work. We just don’t want to believe that some of these ugly pieces are really parts of us. We would much rather project them onto our partner. The magician knows that we all encompass it all, the killer, the rapist, the child molester, the weakling, the pervert, you name it, and it’s down there in the psyche. The magician isn’t upset by this knowledge, but finds it interesting, even humorous, how we spend our lives fleeing from ourselves. We need more magician energy in our world; the perspective, the value, the order that the magician brings to psychological, emotional, and spiritual transformation.

The magician knows that the fighting of the warrior is every bit as sacred as the caregiver and lover archetypes. For the fighting is the buried part of ourselves erupting from the depths, shaking us, breaking through us. A powerful force, the anger, the encrusted, hardened hurt, and fears needing release, we need to allow it to rise up from the depths and learn the skillful means to handle its intensity. Out of attending to the inner battles comes an end to the incessant power struggle between self and other. Trust and intimacy passes through so many ordeals, deepening to such a level that what flows out of the connection is co-creativity.

Part of the magic of the co-creative stage of the relationship is that healing takes place so easily. By this stage, when the relationship is stressed, there is a clear knowledge of what is required to heal it. A strong intuitive sense of what needs to take place is immediately available.

Perhaps some beings born onto this plane are fully realized at birth, but if that’s so, they are a rarity. The masses of us need to put in many hours of practice to reach the higher realms of what is possible. Because of our romantic myths of the couple living happily ever after, we harbor the idea that effort is not part of the equation of a conscious, fulfilling relationship. We expect that it should happen by itself, as if by magic.

We tend to view anyone who has a conscious relationship as having found their perfect other half. If we probe into these couples’ story, they have been practicing for years, opening to pain, learning how to stay present, embracing their own shadow as well as their partner’s. They certainly haven’t experienced instant enlightenment. The magician understands grace as the energy of interconnectedness. There is a conviction and trust in a power greater than the Self. The magician is in touch with his/her wisest self. This deep self-knowledge puts us in the flow of the stream of life where living life isn’t such an effort any longer. There is humility at the same time that there is an awareness of the unique gift to the world that is ours to give.


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Creating a Great Marriage is Difficult, Possible, & Worth the Effort


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2020). Creating a Great Marriage is Difficult, Possible, & Worth the Effort. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Jul 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.