A partner’s highest obligation is to protect the other from being hurt or negatively impacted by him or herself.

BOOKS WHICH MAY HELP

⚫︎ Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman

⚫︎ The Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch

⚫︎ How to be an Adult in Relationship by David Richo

⚫︎ After the Affair by Janis Abram-Springs

Loving another can be hard.  The very act of loving produces adversity that is resistant to repair.  For many couples, getting help from the “outside” is essential for relationship longevity.

Marriage counseling and relationship therapy are the same.  They differ in name only, but marriage counseling suggests the couple is married instead simply of a long-term relationship.

However, the commitment made by spouses as expressed to each other in wedding vows does make the connection between spouses qualitatively different than those who are in a long-term but uncommitted relationship. Not unusual is the couple seeking help who have been together more than a decade, but married only a year prior and describe a dramatic shift in their relationship since their wedding.

Partners have different expectations once married, but the level of emotional security of a married couple is much deeper since a commitment is in place. Generally more security is considered better, but deep security activates  emotions from very early in our life.  The old emotions, usually painful emotions of incompleteness, surface so that they may be healed. The pain destabilizes the loving connection.  I refer to this as the “work phase” of a marriage.

However, the commitment made by spouses is expressed to each other in wedding vows does make the connection between spouses qualitatively different than those who are in a long-term but uncommitted relationship. Not unusual is the couple seeking help who have been together more than a decade, but married only a year prior and describe a dramatic shift in their relationship since their wedding.

Partners have different expectations once married, but the level of emotional security of a married couple is much deeper since a commitment is in place. Generally more security is considered better, but deep security activates  emotions from very early in our life.  The old emotions, usually painful emotions of incompleteness, surface so that they may be healed. The pain destabilizes the loving connection.  I refer to this as the “work phase” of a marriage.

Much work is required of spouses to heal the old pain while keeping a firm grip on love. A couple that does this well will experience tremendous growth and deepening love. Andrew Aaron, LICSW has guided many couples on the treacherous journey towards love.

See article Questions to Ask Before Marriage

See article on Why Do We Marry?

It is easy to fall in love but difficult to stay in love. Closeness and connection are highly valued. But the cost of emotional intimacy is high.  The amount of closeness partners maintain is directly proportional to the amount of vulnerability present in the relationship, because love requires openness.  Romantic partners who have been hurt or those who are ashamed of parts of themselves have difficulty tolerating the threat of vulnerability.

Andrew Aaron, LICSW has helped many couples and individuals to grow both in love for their individual selves but also between partners so that greater closeness and deeper connection is both possible and achieved.

See the article about “The King and the Queen”

See the article about “Emotional Safety”

Effective communication is vital between romantic partners on several levels: as teammates, friends and lovers. For it be effective communication much be generous, specific enough and expressed with an attitude that the recipient can take in.  If this occurs, partners will be able to function as a good team managing the logistics of daily life.

To maintain a positive friendship communication, which is strongly influenced by emotion, must be expressed non-hurtfully.  Positive language helps to nourish a loving bond. It strengthens the friendship.

But as l0vers, for a deep and intimate bond to be maintained, communication must share that which comes from deep openness. Like a pipeline, which is less important than the water it carries, communication carries the emotion so that connection is built and maintained. Andrew Aaron, LICSW teaches couples to communicate effectively and positively.

See the article, “Communication, More Than Just Talk

For a majority of couples, conflict is an unavoidable part of loving and sharing life with another. Some couples are proud of the absence of conflict in their relationship, but it’s absence represents a lack of expressing real feelings, so their peace comes at the cost of their growth. Romantic partners are different. The difference is the cause of conflict. If partners are true to themselves, each will speak up at times and conflict will be caused.

When partners are able to enter conflict with an attitude of growth and learning, conflict need not be escalated or hurtful. Each conflict is an opportunity to learn something new about the partner and about the two of you as a couple.

Andrew Aaron, LICSW teaches couples strategies to engage in conflict in a constructive manner so that problem resolution is possible without hurtfulness.

See article entitled “Fair Fighting”

See article entitled “Conflict Need Not Damage Love”

Few events threaten the bond of a relationship more than an infidelity.  The damage caused by a partner stepping outside the boundaries of a committed relationship can be excruciating to the injured partner.  It is not unusual for the hurt partner, after learning about the infidelity to lose his or her appetite, to have trouble sleeping, to have a busy mind which obsesses about the details of the infidelity, and to be unable to concentrate.  The resulting distrust caused by an infidelity, can be particularly difficult to heal and may take years if at all.  The unfaithful partner will have his or her own set of intense emotions, such as guilt, embarrassment and shame, which may get overlooked in the rush to soothe the injured partner’s pain. 

The good news is that most couples do maintain their relationship despite the profound challenge to the relationship.  Some couples are able to heal their relationships, with the re-earning of trust and the potential of forgiveness. Some couples, by healing, make their relationship even better than it was before.  Getting help can speed the healing.

Andrew Aaron, LICSW has treated hundreds of couples suffering from the fallout caused by this intensely difficult crisis. He is well versed in the lengthy and complex journey couples go through while healing.

See the article “The Cheating Heart”

Many couples experience tension, conflict and the inability to work as a financial team.  Money is interwoven into every aspect of our lives. It reflects our families of origin, our sense of personal security and our most deeply held values.  When partners do not agree on how to spend, save and invest, the negative fallout will ripple negatively throughout the relationship or marriage. The stress of debt is harmful to romantic connection.

Andrew Aaron, LICSW guides couples to transform the issue of money and financial planning to a positive, source of connection and teamwork. Couples can be free of debt and build wealth. With guidance a couple can develop financial discipline. Good financial habits quickly lead in the direction of financial freedom. Couples find it easier to have a healthy relationship when the issue of money is a positive factor in their relationship.

A discussion about love and marriage is incomplete without also considering spirituality and faith. Historically marriage and commitment of love have taken place in places of faith and worship. The connection between two people so that two individuals become one couple is an expression of spirit, the great unifying force.

In relationship therapy a non-denominational foundation of spirit guides the work to grow and repair broken love. Each partner must uncover his or her true nature, an essential process for pure love to be shared. Love and strength, expressions of spirit, are referred to repeatedly to keep the paths of healing straight while seeking to escape from quagmires of conflict and pain.

Andrew Aaron, LICSW uses both love and strength to guide couples to become clear on their values and uncover what is most dear.