Strengthening Couples: Learning about the “Us” identity

We got to lead our, first-ever, couples workshop the other weekend! (If I haven’t yet shared with you, my husband and I are both marriage and family therapists. 🙂 ). And, we kicked off a marriage series called, Strengthening Us.

One of the concepts we talked about was this idea that a new identity is created when we get married or commit to being coupled, the “us” identity. This identity is neither 100% me nor 100% my parter; and, it is 100% “us.” Our individuality is not lessened with the creation of this third, “us” identity. Rather, more is created with the union of two people.

This “us” identity has it’s own likes and dislikes, it’s own preferences – including, it’s own personality. For example, “us” might like to get up early and go hiking. “Us” might like ballet. “Us” might not like to stay at social gatherings late at night. “Us” could decide to tolerate a certain level of cleanliness in the house, choose to manage money in a particular way, or choose a particular work rhythm. One of the partners could individually not like doing things in this particular way, but somehow when it’s connected with the other person as “us,” it becomes enjoyable, workable, and/ or what will serve the couple best.

In healthy “us” partnerships, each partner might sacrifice individual preferences for the betterment of “us.”

This “us-ness” also can be generalized to any dyadic relationships– such as friends!

Dr. Terry Hargrave, founder of the Restoration Therapy model, has written extensively about this “us” identity. When he shared about this concept, he provided an anecdote to help solidify this point: He shared how when his colleagues’s wife died, his colleague shared how he missed his wife dearly, and he also missed what had been created when the two of them were together.

If you’re up for a little experiment, how about be curious about what “us” likes– whether that “us” is a couple relationship or a friendship! How you can honor and respect “us” today?



Just like there are rhythms and seasons of the year, there are also rhythms of our nervous system! At the end of March in parts of the world, there are brilliant cherry blossoms. What are normal rhythms for you at the end of March where you live? Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s