Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

Karen remarks that this was the first and only time that she had become friends with a man before initiating a romantic relationship. Ben found a new safety in his friendship with Karen that he had not found before with other women. The basis of their relationship in parties and mutual friends is indicative of the age when they first met and the era in which they were living. This highly artificial, social context, however, made it hard later for them to adjust to the real world and to each other in isolation from other people.

While Karen and Ben represent a different era than Fred and Alice, Mick and Sheila represent the interplay between two entirely different cultures and societies. Their founding story illustrates yet another central dimension of most founding stories. This dimension concerns the ways in which the two partners discover differences as well as similarities in the Nay in which they live and think. There must be a delicate balance for most couples between similarities and differences if they are to remain attractive to one another yet compatible enough to be able to live comfortably together.

The founding story of Mick and Shelia in many ways reads like Romeo and Juliet’s highly romantic struggle with traditional societal barriers and prejudices. Mick and Sheila met at a social gathering organized by the House of Poland in the city where they both live. Sheila was supposed to sing at that event, but she didn’t have an accompanist for the piano. Mick was at the time in the United States on a travel visa and was asked to accompany Sheila while she sang at the ball. In Poland, Mick was a musician playing drums in a band. When his band was on tour in Finland, Mick defected with another member of the band. They went to Sweden and asked for political asylum. Sheila, by contrast, is an American citizen with parents of Polish descent.

As Mick tells the story, it took a very short period for the two of them to fall in love and marry. Sheila adds to the story. When she heard that Mick was from Poland, she was very pleased, given that her own parents came from this same culture. Though she was born in the United States, Sheila was always attracted to Polish culture, hence participated with her parents in the House of Poland. She also shared a deep appreciation for music with Mick. During rehearsals, according to Sheila, she and Mick spent many hours talking about Poland. She found herself deeply attracted to him and immediately said “yes” when he asked her to marry him.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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