Saturday, October 6, 2018

Marriage Illusions

Most of us get married to the great American marital dream. Marriage is going to be that happy state in which we get all the nurturance and care and love and empathy and even the good advice that we didn't receive in our families. Marriage is going to help us feel better about ourselves; it is going to make life easier and more secure. It does, for a while. We form a very tight, dependent unit, and we help each other in all sorts of ways: advice, sympathy, mothering, teaching, We have a lot to give each other.

But sooner or later this psychotherapy project fails.  The major reason is that the protagonists get very scared that they are each going to lose their individual identities in the dependency. So the couple begins to back away from each other, mistrusting. How can you safely depend on someone with whom you're struggling for dominance in the relationship?

If the partners could stick with the backing away and endure the aloneness for a while, the problem might be solved. They would get over being so dependent, and marriage wouldn't feel so threatening, But it rarely happens that way. Instead, they usually find a substitute for the dependency.

                                                                                   -Augustus Napier, The Family Crucible

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