A Couples Line of Development Thomas A. Habib

A couples line of development is proposed from an integral perspective. The couples line specifies developmental stages, tasks for each stage and describes cultural messages that impede development. It reveals the nature and effects of an integral concept called a pre/trans fallacy, unique to early intimate relationships, and how this often results in arrested development at the second and third stages. It locates the efforts of therapists who provide conjoint therapy, identifies developmentally targeted skill training, while providing both couples and therapist much needed direction for future growth. It also locates lower right (LR) quadrant structures that provide “rules for the road”, thus increasing stability and promoting couple progression. The couples line of development recognizes the need to deconstruct lower left (LL) quadrant cultural messages that are misleading and inhibitory to greater intimacy. Finally, preliminary empirical verification of the pre/trans fallacy was attempted.

The Story

Imagine you are sick and you have this wonderful neighbor who went to the drug store to get medicine for you. They also cooked your lunch, did a few loads of laundry, fed your children and vacuumed your house. Wouldn’t most of us feel what a great neighbor! Our level of appreciation and resolve to reciprocate, once we were feeling better, would be enduring and enormous.

Now think of your intimate partner and note the similarities in effort made day-after-day to build a life with you. Is the appreciation and gratitude felt toward your partner anywhere near the level it would be for the hypothetical “great neighbor”?

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A Couples Line of Development, 2016 Thomas A. Habib, Ph.D.  First published in Integral Leadership Review, Integral European Conference, August-November.
This is the reviewed version