Kola de Klerk
Certified Imago Therapist
Johannesburg, South Africa
Recently I was invited to present a marriage seminar in a town called Ghelmenidsk in Ukraine. Ukraine, being a former Russian controlled state only has less that 1% of people able to speak English.
At the day of the seminar, 60 people arrived with pens and paper ready to blot down all the wisdom and advice I have to share about a successful marriage.
I started by inviting them to put the papers away and open their souls to understanding new truths I want to share. Through an interpreter, I shared my own journey of discovering the holiness of the space between a couple. I shared how I managed to gain connection with my wife and what freedom I gain when we drowned the power struggle.
The decision to demonstrate the couples dialogue was very tough because I am not able to speak or understand more than 3 or 4 Russian words. When I asked for a volunteer couple, I was hoping a couple would volunteer who could speak English but the couple who volunteered unfortunately didn’t even understand one word of English plus they did not have a good relationship. So, with the interpreter, I guided them in a simple couple’s dialogue. I instructed the interpreter who in turn instructs the couple. When the couple spoke to each other the interpreter translated it to me.
The difficulty in this was that I could not pick up an emotion and feeling through the words they said, but had to watch their body language and faces.
It was quite a challenge to stop them and help them remove any stuff (inappropriate comments) that they drop into the space between them.
The advantage was that they were forced to stay and talk to each other because they could only address me through the interpreter.
The process of the couples dialogue surprised me, because within 30 minutes it creaed a safe space between the couple that could be sensed by the whole congregation.
The space became so clean and almost sacred that no one dared to say a word, but all 60 people in the room cried with the couple. Specially when the woman validated and gave feeling to what the husband said.
They seemed to forget about the people in the room and just stared in wonder at the new person they had just discovered.
This proved to me that every couple in the world is looking for connections and a safe place in which to connect with another person.
On that day, I demonstrated the process with another Russian couple on the stage with similar results.
I proceeded in the following two days by doing counseling with four couples using the couple’s dialogue through an interpreter.
The feedback from these people was tremendous to such an extent that one person described her experience as having the same value as her experience of being saved by God.