We’d like to redeem the phrase “co-dependent” from its notorious reputation. “Co-dependence”, referring to the couple’s emotional connection, suggests what we already intuitively know. Our well-being, our ill-being, our growth, and our life experience are determined at least in part by our relationship to our intimate partners. It is only when co-dependence is distorted that it becomes a problem.
Check out this funny and wise story by writer Amy Sutherland. She captures what we couples therapists might call “co-creation”. See what happened when she applied what she learned about exotic animal training to her own personal exotic animal, her husband. She says that. after two years, “my marriage is far smoother, my husband much easier to love”.
When this couple first came to therapy the husband was certain that he was being victimized by his wife and her anger. As it turns out, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s part of the human condition that we may be unhappy, unfulfilled, or overly stressed without even realizing it. That kind of unconscious distress can spill over to the marriage. Without realizing it, we may look to a relationship to fix what’s wrong with our life. That’s a recipe for disaster. Here’s the case of a couple where the wife was so unhappy she had begun contemplating divorce. Then she made an unexpected discovery.
Amy: One of the most profound transformations for a couple occurs with the birth of the first child, that magic transition from a
Over the years, I’ve seen many couples whose presenting complaint revolves around sex. Usually it’s because the sex is too infrequent, too lackluster, or at the male parter has some kind of sexual dysfunction. (I’ve only seen one case where the complaint was too much sex!) As usual, unless there’s a biological problem, the sexual relationship is embedded in the larger emotional/psychological dance of the couple. Learning about this dance, and how to do some new steps, can change everything.
Comedian/actor Paul Scheer tells the story of how he and his wife, wanting to be “cool parents”, stepped into a
All marriages have divorce built into them. Often, though, we end up re-marrying the same person. This is a powerful–and painful –process necessary for growth, both as a couple and as individuals. In this post, Dave talks about some of the dynamics in marriage that help us understand this universal phase in the life of a couple.
Tensions in marriage are normal, and unavoidable. They’re part of the price of intimacy. Problems only occur when these underlying tensions are ongoing, and not acknowledged. They are semi-buried. Children are geniuses at feeling these latent tensions; they often help magnify what hasn’t been addressed. In fact, in their own way, they may be trying to help.
Therapist Avi Klein wrote about the shame many men feel about their emotions, particularly feelings that expose a sense of vulnerability. We see men like that often in therapy with couples. Here’s a case of how one man allowed himself to be un-masked, and how it transformed the couple’s relationship.