Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

The vital Skill Every Couple Needs

What is The VITAL Skill Every Couple Needs?

What is the vital skill every couple needs? Here at the Marriage Recovery Center, one of the first things we teach all couples is the practice of holding space. This is an absolutely critical skill for healthy relating and it is impossible to communicate well or build connection with another person without this skill.

It’s one of the fundamental skills that we teach in our Men’s Core program, and a skill that every man, woman and couple needs to know in order to have a healthy relationship. Dr. Hawkins explains what it means to hold space, and walks you through the five steps of how to hold space so you can truly understand your partner and break free from the cycle of criticism, hurt, resentment and conflict.

What is The VITAL Skill Every Couple Needs?

In the world of relationships, there’s a jargon term that keeps cropping up – “holding space.” But what does it really mean, and why is it considered such a crucial skill in maintaining a healthy and vibrant partnership? Let’s delve into this concept and understand why creating and holding space is a fundamental skill that every couple needs.

Hello, I’m Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute. In my work, I often emphasize the importance of creating and holding space within relationships. It’s a concept that can transform how couples communicate and relate to each other. But what exactly is holding space, and why is it so vital?

Defining Holding Space

At its core, holding space means that you are fully available to your partner. It involves sitting with them, listening attentively, and genuinely caring about what they have to say. It goes beyond just hearing their words; it’s about finding meaning in their expressions and sharing your own perspectives. Holding space is the foundation of a deep and meaningful relationship.

The Five Key Components of Holding Space

To truly grasp the essence of holding space, it’s essential to understand its five key components:

1. Full Presence and Attention

When you’re holding space for your partner, you are offering your complete presence and attention. This means they feel seen, heard, and understood. It’s about making them the center of your focus, ensuring they know you are fully available.

2. Free from Judgment and Unmanaged Emotion

Holding space requires you to set aside judgment and emotional reactions. Your partner should feel safe expressing themselves without fear of criticism or condemnation. This emotional safety allows for open and honest communication.

3. Absence of Agenda

In holding space, there’s no hidden agenda or ulterior motive. You’re not trying to change your partner’s mind or manipulate the situation to your advantage. This absence of coercion fosters trust and authenticity.

4. Validating Your Partner’s Point of View

Your partner’s perspective is valid. Even if you don’t agree with it, you respect their right to have that viewpoint. Reflecting this validity shows that you honor their individuality and opinions.

5. Seeking Collaborative Solutions

Instead of pursuing your own agenda, you work together to find collaborative solutions. It’s a win-win approach where both partners contribute to decisions and outcomes. This mindset often leads to creative solutions that benefit everyone involved.

The Importance of Holding Space

Holding space is not just a nice-to-have skill; it’s a vital component of a healthy relationship. When any of these five components are missing or disrupted, trouble can arise within the relationship. Couples who master the art of holding space tend to experience more profound emotional connections, better communication, and a greater sense of partnership.


In conclusion, the skill of creating and holding space is a cornerstone of any successful and thriving relationship. It’s about being fully present, free from judgment, and focused on collaboration. By embracing these principles, couples can build a strong foundation of trust, empathy, and intimacy. So, remember these five key components as a roadmap for nurturing your relationship, and watch as your connection deepens and grows.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Stop Being Reactive and Calm Down

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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