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Introduction to Couples


We only have love when there is another with whom we can share it, and when we open our hearts to that possibility

When Judith Sherven, a clinical psychologist, met James Sniechowski, who had a doctorate in Human Behavior, she was forty-three and had never married, but was experienced in dating . . . and dating and dating and dating. He had been married twice and claimed that he never dated but went from one relationship to the next.

They married a year later and have kept their romance alive ever since. Now their work focuses on helping others have successful relationships.

They say that they write of "love and relationship because, in a very real way, they are synonymous. Love is meaningless if there is no other to which we direct our love and from which we feel love." Here is what they wrote about relationships in an article called "Love Needs a Relationship:"

We humans need one another well beyond our mere survival. We need one another in order to experience what it means to be alive on this planet. We need one another in order to experience what it means to be human. And love, which is one of the highest and most rewarding experiences of this life, is impossible without an other.

However, as a species, we have had to evolve to a point where we could not only recognize the possibility [of the wholeness of all beings] intellectually, but feel that connection in the very daily and mundane moments of our lives. Love, which is about connectedness, has been pushing to the surface, slowly transforming our capacity to see - so that we can see that the love we so dearly desire is, indeed, available.

So, the next time you feel love or feel someone's love for you, keep in mind the almost indescribable intimacy that is at the foundation of that feeling. And also keep in mind that the sense of self you feel in that moment is utterly dependent upon the presence of an other . . . that other with whom your sense of self is entwined. No love without self. No self without an other. That is what we mean to each other.

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© 2012 Arlene F Harder, MA, MFT

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