Keeping the Love You Find. Part Two

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Lets start from the beginning, in chapter 2 Harville Hendrix points out that “the combination of love and marriage is a phenomenon of very recent history and it’s a volatile mix”.  No kidding! In times past “Marriages were arranged, wives were bought or traded”;  “Marriages were typically passionless, but stable; their primary agenda was the continuity of the family and community, the perpetuation of property rights”. If there happened to be romantic love involved connected with the marriage partner, it was purely accidental. “It wasn’t until the late 18th century with the emergence of Democracy in America and the destruction of the monarchy system in England and France that brought them the idea that the individual could decide for themselves”. “For the first time in history, the energy of attraction between men and women was directed into and contained within the structure of marriage.” No wonder we  are struggling, we haven’t mastered this yet!

“With the recognition of individual rights came a belief that  human beings were inherently rational, could make logical choices and were in total control of their destiny”, yeah right!  🙂 I think we have proven that this is not always the case. “Sigmund Freud discovered that underneath our apparent but illusionary rationality was a sea of chaotic instincts that influenced and undermined our choices”. “He realized that choices made on the basis of logic were in fact swayed by emotion and unconscious directives”. As I said, no wonder we are struggling. Thus we have the transition from stable passionless marriages  and affairs to passionate volatile marriages, affairs and divorce. GEEEZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!

Hartville states that “however careful our checklist, what is going on in mate selection is not LOVE, but NEED. Love, if it appears at all, appears in marriage as a result of our commitment to healing our partner”. So  apparently the heart of the matter is our “free” choice of a mate is in fact a product of our conscious trying to heal the wounds of our childhood.  We  all know that we are drawn to a partner with the  right “chemistry” and that is apparently our unconscious attraction to someone who will meet our particular emotional needs. We are trying to use them to fill our emotional needs left by our parents or childhood.   No wonder we are all messed up!

Harville refers to this “buried parental image The IMAGO and when we get an imago match that chemical reaction occurs and love ignites”.  We feel alive,whole and  confident that we have met the person who will make everything all right. Unfortunately since we have almost certainly have chosen someone with the same negative traits as well as positive traits as our parents, chances are we will have a similar outcome. In fact, “most people who have had serial relationships report that despite their best intentions they manage to find the same problems each time around”. What Imago Therapy does is help us learn how to fix the problems in the relationship, (heal the wounds) so that we can keep the partner, when this happens true love grows. (Sounds like a much better option to me.)

Sound like an interesting option instead of the relationship roller coaster, stay tuned while I continue to forage through this book or  better yet, pick up your own copy. “Keeping the Love you Find” by Harville  Hendrix Ph.D.

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