There’s a reason men and women are creating better marriages than ever before. We’re living in the era of what some have termed self-expressive marriages. Many married people are now more interested than ever in personal growth and self-fulfillment, and they see marriage as a means, through mutual exploration and supportive partnership, to achieve those ends.
I‘ve acquired some personal know-how on this subject. My first marriage ended in divorce in the 1970s because I was too neurotic to make it work. My second marriage was a mutual adventure in personal growth. It lasted 21 years, until my dear Sandra, an author and psychotherapist like me, died of breast cancer in 1999. Now I’m happily married to Teresa Garland, an occupational therapist who gives training seminars around the country on autism, ADHD, and sensory disorders. She’s my editor and I’m hers. Her first book, Self-Regulation Interventions and Strategies, has just been published. We’re devoted to each other, and we actively support each other’s pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment. (Quick plug for Teresa’s book: Available here at her publisher’s website and here at Amazon).
The desire for intimacy is a prerequisite of good marriages. Intimacy depends on mutual trust, respect, and affection. It’s also a measure of the openness and sincerity of each partner. Intimacy also hinges on a couple’s ability to refrain from acting out, with each other, each one’s own unresolved personal issues. (In an earlier post on intimacy, I approach the subject from another perspective.)
Of course, many individuals resist doing the inner work of self-development. That means they’re likely to have more difficulty dismantling the personal issues that block intimacy. [Read more…]