What happens when you start wondering if you still trust a person with your work challenges or questions? Did you ever have the sneaking feeling that your best friend at work has their own agenda which doesn’t necessarily include your success as a priority? You’re not alone and there’s a very good reason for it.
When there are problems in a marriage it can often be difficult for couples to speak plainly to one another. Maybe one partner doesn’t want to hurt the other’s feelings. Or maybe they need to work out their thoughts before bringing up specific points. However, there is a particular audience for which spouses will not hold back: therapists. Marriage and couples therapists regularly hear uncensored accounts of what’s happening in relationships because, well, it’s their job.
In her wedding vows for her second (or maybe third) marriage, my sister said, “…as long as this lasts” instead of “’til death do us part.” Was it wry and dark humor, or a pretty accurate reflection of how modern relationships play out? The American Psychological Associates notes that, in Western cultures, 90% of people marry by age 50, and 40-50% of those couples divorce. Divorce rates are even higher for subsequent marriages. Perhaps my sister’s vow reflected her own personal experience as well as an understanding of the landscape of our times.
Love, by its nature, requires two ingredients: knowing your beloved well and accepting your beloved deeply. By “knowing,” I mean a knowledge of the other’s being as it is. That knowledge may not be completely accurate, or even very accurate, but it must be “good enough” for the other person to trust the image reflected back, to feel accepted and at ease.
Why Love in the 21st Century Is So Difficult. The nature of love in the 21st century has beckoned us to a new cultural and social horizon from which we may be able to learn how to manage our conflicts between love and hate, between dominance and submission, between surrender and self-protection, without creating an enemy.
Most couples revel in closeness. Most of us see knowing everything about the other person, sharing everything together, and creating a true unison of souls as hallmarks of a strong relationship. But in this excerpt from her recently released book Love Between Equals: Relationships as a Spiritual Path, psychotherapist Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath shows couples the power of honoring the space in between.
Vermont psychologist Polly Young-Eisendrath remembers all the questions she aimed at her husband: Why had he racked up some $70,000 in unexplained credit card bills; written another $57,000 in checks to himself from their joint account; and, most disturbingly, anxiously defied her repeated call for answers?