Creating a relationship that thrives, not survives | By Sarah Tolmie

Creating a relationship that thrives, not survives | By Sarah Tolmie
May 16, 2019 Sandra Henri

Images by Ona Janzen of Whspr


Life is all about love and relationships.

In fact, a longitudinal study from Harvard determined that the single most dominant and reliable predictor for a happy, well and long life is determined by the quality of our relationships, and particularly our intimate relationship.

From our very first moment of arrival, we are in deep, intimate and life sustaining relationship. Our very biology, let alone our familial and social systems, depend on being in co-regulation with others.

We simply cannot survive alone. Our very survival is dependent on creating, defining and sustaining relationships with others. Even the most hermit, independent and self-sustaining of us need to be, and cannot avoid, being in relationship, even if that is with the SELF.




In fact, our sense of self is learned, experienced and defined by the mirror that others reflect back to us and by our own projections onto others.

Even quantum physics, which looks to explain life at the sub-atomic level, tells us that the creation of reality only happens in observance, in relationship with the self and another.

Scientist and spiritualist, Greg Bradden describes a Divine Matrix, where everything in the world is connected to everything. Not only that, we live in a ‘participatory universe’ in which we are co-creators using our ‘consciousness’ to create reality.

“In a participatory universe, the act of focusing our consciousness – of us looking somewhere and examining the world – is an act of creation in and of itself. Consciousness creates! Everything that happens to us or is done by us – is the product of our consciousness and absolutely nothing else. Our ability to apply this understanding through the power of imagination is all that stands between us and the miracles of our lives. If there is in fact a single field of energy that connects everything in our world, and if the Divine Matrix works the way the evidence suggests, then there can be no them and us, only we. We all have the power we need to create all the changes we choose.”(Bradden, The Divine Matrix)

So why, you say, are theories on consciousness and creation important to marriage and relationships?

Well, you create them and you choose the experience you have in them.



You can choose consciously – or if you are not paying attention – you will choose unconsciously.

Bringing conscious creation to your relationships is key to the Miracle Marriage mindset our relationships need.

So let’s just assume, if you don’t already believe, that we create our world and our life.

And let’s also assume that our survival is dependent on being in relationship with the world, and we therefore create our life through our relationships.

Why then have we created such a mess of them?

Creating and achieving an emotional marriage is the aspiration of all my couples that I see in both my celebrancy and coaching work, however, the working reality is that it is still a rare and elusive species.

My explanation is that our evolutionary progress in the realm of relationships has been lagging behind some of our other evolutionary developments.



We are only just now learning how to move out of relationship‘survival patterns’ and transition into ‘thrival’ ways of being but one of the conditions that keep us in‘survival-mode’ behaviour is STRESS.

Biologically, when we are under stress our body shuts down our growth, healing, synergy and repair functions and operates under the essential power of survival mode.

Rather than the sabre tooth tiger impelling us to run, today our stresses might a deadline, an inbox full of emails, mortgages and credit card bills, or the constant ping of social media.

It doesn’t matter whether the threat to our life is perceived or real, our biology hasn’t evolved to distinguish the difference and it will respond to stress as stress and it will switch us into a survival response.

This is also true, unfortunately, for our ‘relationship biology’ – it hasn’t evolved either – so when we are under chronic stress, our relationship function will also regress into survival mode behaviours, switching on the UNCONSCIOUS SURVIVAL HABITS we learned early about relationships.



For most of us our core blueprint for relationship is ill equipped to traverse the vast complexity of love and marriage today because it comes from an historical and outmoded archetype of marriage.

There is a lot of implicit learning that goes on, but what is required now is explicit instruction in the skills of healthy relationship, empathy, emotional regulation and relationship resilience.

Radical advances have occurred in technology, education, medicine, design, so why not now in relationship and marriage too.

So what is the solution? What is the radical advance we need?

The solution is to consciously evolve relationships from Survival into “Thrival”.




I believe the desires, needs and wants contained in the dream of a conscious, evolved and emotional marriage – a Miracle Marriage – can come to reality.

Just like other modern evolutions, these advances in relationship will need to be explicitly created, made intentional and worked on. It must involve the acquisition of new skills, technologies and practices.

A Marriage Miracle asks of us to break free from behaving in unconscious and unawakened ways – old ways based on old thinking and old learning and old definitions – and make the decision to choose to consciously co-create the environment of your marriage.

A Miracle Marriage invites a shift into a state of forgiveness, gratitude and love and to focus right action in the direction of meeting each other’s needs, wants and desires.

A Miracle Marriage asks:

“What are you feeling?”

“What do you need?”

“What do you want?”

“How can I support you to achieve that?”

In a Miracle Marriage, couples need to learn how to purposefully, deliberately, consciously, and habitually practice the skills and behaviours of good loving and communication.

A Miracle Marriage is where you co-create a space of love, connection and intimacy.


The above is an excerpt from Sarah Tolmie’s free MIRACLE MARRIAGE e-book, which you can grab HERE.

Learn the skills for a Miracle Marriage, with Sarah Tolmie’s Creating A Miracle Marriage Online Course.


Sarah Tolmie – Life & Love is a highly skilled and fully trained Marriage Therapist and Marriage Celebrant. Her Miracle Marriage principles and teachings offer a contemporary, real and sustainable approach for couples to repair conflict and expand and enrich their experience of life, love and intimacy in committed relationships and marriage.

With clinical training in the Gottman Couple Therapy Method – a scientific and evidenced based framework with more than 40years of proven research and success – Sarah’s approach offers a solid, tangible and proven pathway for couples to create, sustain and evolve a lifetime of love.



A big thanks to Ona Janzen on Whspr for sharing her stunning images. Ona Janzen is an award winning photographer based just west of Sydney. Providing commissioned portraits and wedding photography Australia wide.


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