The ways in which you didn’t get what you needed as a kid, and the age at which that happened, don’t just predict your future relationship dynamics, they also determine who you’ll end up marrying!
Childhood wounds result in relationship patterns which predetermine who we’ll choose as a mate. According to Imago Therapy, your partner will have the same childhood wound as you but the opposite defence or adaptation.
To understand who you’ll gravitate to as a husband or wife, it’s first useful to a get a quick overview of childhood development. Wade Luquet describes the 5 stages of child development as defined by Imago Theory (which borrows here from Mahler and Erikson’s developmental theories).
THE 5 STAGES OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT
1. ATTACHMENT (birth-2 years old)
Children need to attach to a caretaker; parents need to be available and warm.
2. EXPLORATION (2-3 years old)
Children need to be able to explore (usually just as far as the next room or a few steps ahead at the supermarket) and need to be able to come back to tell their parents about their adventures. The parents need to allow exploration, and they need to be there to mirror the child’s excitement about exploring when he or she returns to them.
3. IDENTITY (3-4 years old)
Children are beginning to explore different parts of their personality. For example, they will pretend to be dogs, cats, or cartoon characters, or try on mother’s makeup or dad’s shoes. Parents need to mirror (“You’re a puppy dog!”) so the child gets a sense that others see them as they are pretending to be.
4. POWER & COMPETENCE (4-6 years old)
Children at this age are beginning to do things outside of the house, such as in preschool, and have an intense need (and usually frustrating lack of skill) to be helpful around the house. They are developing a sense of competence. Parents need to offer praise, affirmation and mirroring.
5. CONCERN (6-9 years old)
Children are now outside of the house and with friends. Their developmental needs are to make friends, find a best friend, and learn the intricacies and jealousies of having and maintaining friendships. Parents need to promote friendships and serve as good role models in terms of their own friendships.
WHO YOU’LL MARRY
The wounding we get during these 5 stages creates a particular personality style. You’ll marry your “opposite”. The Clinger falls in love with the Avoidant person. The Isolator falls for the Fuser. The Rigid personality falls for the Diffuse, the Competitive person falls for the Passive/Manipulator and the Loner always finds the Caretaker.
To understand more about which childhood wounds lead to which relationship dynamics and which partner, watch this 8 minute video: