Excuse me for being a bit skeptical about relationship therapies. Given that I work with many couples of all shapes, sizes, and ages, that may be surprising, or even confusing….Aren’t there some basic, common sense, and proven truths about what creates relationship struggles and challenges and what can be done to help you to get back on track toward a more satisfying, rewarding, and fulfilling relationship? Thankfully, the answer is yes.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the “recipe” for loving relationships could be distilled into just a few words? The complexity of individual and interpersonal needs that intersect in our relationships prevents any simplistic, one-size-fits-all solution. But, there are several timeless skills that appear over and over as essential to cultivating strong, loving, and lasting relationships. In this post, I connect the brain’s functioning to relationship health. I hope you enjoy it!
In seeking love, we engage in a never-ending tug-of-war with ourselves that dramatically colors our connection to our partner. On one hand, we take actions that we hope will make permanent (as in, "lived happily ever after") our connection to the “other” (spouse, partner, lover, or friend). We act from the barely conscious belief that “if only” we make the right choices we will achieve our romantic/intimate ideal. On the other hand, we are haunted by the dim awareness that no matter what we do, our efforts will ultimately end in separation from that ideal partner. They'll disappoint us, leave us, or we'll end up leaving them. (In this blog, I’ll use partner to refer to our intimate other, regardless of the form of the connection.) Read on to learn to build better connections.