Couples Come In Different Models: Here Are A Few

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The Early Contract of A Couple

Dave: Romance begins with excitement. Love probably begins with shared pain (I sense your need for me). Romance is a game-like shift into another sphere, a mini-psychosis. Romance embodies sex and sex’s more poetic, ritualized version, eroticism. Love, which includes sexuality and eroticism, is my soul’s transcendent search for the soul of the Other.

Marriage begins with implicit fantasies of health, growth and hope. These hopeful fantasies guide the marriage as it goes along, and are part of the explanation when the marriage crumbles. What were you hoping for when you decided to marry this particular woman?

Initial fantasies are likely to fit the following categories:

The fantasy of security and a relationship with someone who will care for me.

The fantasy that I will grow, I will become a somebody by caring for the other.

The fear of loss or inhibition of my Self.


Amateur Therapy Pattern. Each enters the marriage with the idea they are the therapist who can repair something about the other, and make them into a more adequate partner. In therapy with these couples, the therapist is like a supervisor to the bilateral therapy project. The problem with any therapeutic relationship is that when it is successful, it leads to termination. In the case of marriage, the intent is for the relationship to continue and the therapeutic component to be terminated.

Pseudo-adoption Model. He adopts a little girl and she is grateful. Or, she adopts a little boy who cuddles up or becomes defiant. These marriages may be stable as long as the infantile partner does not reach puberty.

Brother-Sister Model. This kind of relationship tends to be very stable and raise healthy children as long as neither partner becomes passionate about anything personal. Therapy which goes beyond psychoeducation or communication training may become disruptive.

Hot, Romantic, Desirable. Great marriage at the beginning until the ” I–We” war heats up. The heat of conflict later matches the heat of romance earlier. Examples might be a marriage blow-up between two larger than life celebrities Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. The model for this is an old movie the War of the Roses (1989)

New Age Business Merger. Business-like adult virgins set up a marriage that has the quality of a titillating merger between two businesses. But the merger inevitably evolves into a take-over. (Can an abundance of money restore virginity for either gender? What is the impact of large sums of money on memory?

Marriage is wondrous human and humanizing experience, one of the ways to get a PhD in being a person. But it can also be devastating and destructive. In this series of reflections we are trying to give you some ways to look more deeply into this complex relationship

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung provides an ultra-complex thought -provoking view of marriage:

When two people stand before the altar, Jung sees four people there; the Man (and the Woman in him) and the Woman (and the Man in her). A man in a Robertson Davies novel said he did not marry because he never met a woman he could trust to care for the Woman in him. In other words, the Man in the woman can be domineering and indifferent.

More to come…..

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