I think the goal of most people is to eventually end up one half of a couple. Rather that’s an acknowledged goal or just an expectation a person has in the back of their mind, as some point, most of us end up coupled in some way. This can take many forms, but whatever it looks like, the complicated issues of coupling create the opportunity for lots of joy and contentment and also the opportunity for much pain and despair. How we do it makes all the difference in the outcome. Being part of a couple is tricky, there are so many facets to this issue. I am part of a couple, having been a wife for over 15 years and with my husband for over 20 years. We, like most couples, have had our ups and downs. There’s no way to journey through life without a few bumps in the road. I feel very lucky that I am a marriage therapist, because I think it helps me to stay focused on what’s important. I see every day what can go wrong in relationships. I have the education to know how relationships need to function to be strong and healthy. However, as I will discuss in future articles, love is not something that happens in the cognitive part of our brain. So having information is not enough. I can know what to do to resolve an issue with my husband, I can be in the middle of an argument with him and know exactly the cycle we are in, but in that moment, I am still caught in my own emotion and at times still do exactly what I should NOT do.
People come to be all the time who were once madly in love. Many decided years ago to commit their lives to each other through marriage, having realized they like and love each other so much that they want to spend every day together. And yet, somehow, that has all gone away. Now they see more negative than positive in their partners. They find themselves in pain, feeling discouraged, often times hopeless, and not sure if they even want to be married. The reasons for this are complex. It involves multiple layers and individual reasons. However, there are some parts of it that are universal, believe it or not. Having an understanding of the neurology of love, learning one’s own cycle when it comes to their relationship, and learning how to interact in a way that meets needs are all important aspects to healing the pain and finding the connection that was once there.
I intend to post many articles on coupling. Most will be about long term relationships, as this is where people typically run into problems. However, I’d like to do a segment on finding the right partner as well. After all, if you don’t start with a person who is good for you, the rest becomes irrelevant. I hope to explain why I, like anyone else, get caught in my cycle without the ability to change it at that moment. I want to help everyone understand attachment and all that it means to our species and how it impacts us in so many areas of our life. I hope this section is helpful in assisting couples to improve the overall quality of their relationships, learn how to meet each other’s needs more effectively, improve communication, and maybe even put a little dent in that 40-50% divorce rate, at least for whoever is reading.