Feb 13

Love Quotes: Five Experts on the Subject

The following love quotes are among the most well-liked by readers of Erich Fromm, Dr. Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Ty Tashiro, and John Gottman.

Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (Centennial Edition 2000)

Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.

Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’

The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.

Sue Johnson

In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (2008)

Learning to love and be loved is, in effect, about learning to tune in to our emotions so that we know what we need from a partner and expressing those desires openly, in a way that evokes sympathy and support from him or her. Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships (2013)

It is an ironic paradox: being dependent makes us more independent. The Love Secret: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships (2014)

Harville Hendrix,  Making Marriage Simple: Ten Truths for Changing the Relationship You Have Into the One You Want (2013)

Romantic Love is just the first stage of couplehood. It’s supposed to fade. Romantic Love is the powerful force that draws you to someone who has the positive and negative qualities of your parents or caregiver (this includes anyone responsible for your care as a child, for example: a parent, older sibling, grandparent, or babysitters).

“Do you want to be right, or do you want to be in relationship?” Because you can’t always have both. You can’t cuddle up and relax with “being right” after a long day.

About 90 percent of the frustrations your partner has with you are really about their issues from childhood. That means only 10 percent or so is about each of you right now. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Ty TashiroThe Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love (2014)

Although 90 percent of people will marry in their lifetime, only three in ten will find enduring love.

No partner is perfect, and part of a relationship is showing a consistent effort to manage your own weaknesses, while showing some consistent grace when it comes to your partner’s weaknesses.

When being in love is broken into its smaller parts, we see that it is three parts liking to one part lust.

John M. Gottman

Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial toward your spouse. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert (1999)

…one of the most surprising truths about marriage: Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind—but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage. The Seven Principles…

Converting a complaint into a positive need requires a mental transformation from what is wrong with one’s partner to what one’s partner can do that would work. It may be helpful here to review my belief that within every negative feeling there is a longing, a wish, and, because of that, there is a recipe for success. It is the speaker’s job to discover that recipe. The speaker is really saying “Here’s what I feel, and here’s what I need from you.” Or, in processing a negative event that has already happened, the speaker is saying, “Here’s what I felt, and here’s what I needed from you.” The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples (2011)

Nov 14

“HIMYM”: The Therapist’s One Helpful Contribution

So now that I’ve managed to get all caught up on HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother) I can weigh in again on what’s happening with Kevin, the therapist, played by Kal Penn.

  • Between him and his girlfriend Robin—very little chemistry. One can only hope it turns out to be an ill-fated romance because of his boundary-less choice to date a client.
  • As an individual character—nope, not much there either.

The most involvement he’s had, in my opinion, was in the HIMYM episode that aired on 10/24 entitled “Noretta” (a word blend of the names of “Nora,” Barney’s girlfriend, and “Loretta,” his mom).

Although the actual series title is How I Met Your Mother (the point of view of the single male character Ted who has yet to meet the mom of his future kids), this episode is sort of a “How I Married My Mother/Father—as in the translation “I married a woman/man who’s very much like my mom/dad” as opposed to incest. Then again, no one’s actually married except Lily and Marshall. So never mind. We’ll stick with “Noretta.”

Toward the beginning of this HIMYM episode, Kevin makes the general observation that people tend to pick romantic partners who are like their parents. We then witness the regulars proceeding to get grossed out by recognizing the similarities between their mates and their parents.

Regular character Robin, however, and her new beau Kevin are (wisely) excluded from this exercise. I mean, think about it—would the writers have had to make Robin’s father the perpetrator of incest? (Along the lines of Kevin crossing boundaries by dating Robin.)

Kevin’s insight is actually based on some solid ground, psychologically speaking. The work of Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., for example, is useful if you’re trying to figure out your patterns of choosing your mates and how you relate to them—and goes significantly deeper than just the idea of picking someone who subconsciously reminds you of a parent. Two relevant books of his are Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples (also in workbook format, co-authored by wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D.) and Keeping the Love You Find: A Personal Guide.

If you’ve been an avid Oprah fan, you may already know that she in turn is an avid Harville fan (as well as a You fan, in case you thought and/or hoped that’s where I was headed) and big believer in his Imago Theory. Her online Lifeclass “How Your Childhood Affects Your Adult Relationships” gives us a clip of a pertinent therapy session conducted by Harville. The set-up:

For Oprah, Harville Hendrix was the best teacher of validation. Harville developed the Imago Theory, which is that you end up imaging in your adult relationship what you most need to heal from, whether physical or emotional wounds, received in childhood at the hands of your parents or caregivers. In 2006, Harville facilitated an Imago therapy session for Louie, who was abused as a child and was verbally, emotionally and physically abusing his wife.