By Dr. Martin Rovers PhD., C. Psychologist
M. Scott Peck, in his famous and must-read book, The Road Less Travelled, writes that falling in love is life’s way to suck us into procreation. After that, love is all about the need to work on the relationship. It is hard for people to put the two words together – work and love – but I am sure that all who have found an enriching couple and family relationship have done the work of love.
Love is a lot of work! Remember, we meet in our younger and more foolish days, often in the moonlight or over candlelight, blinded by love itself. To put it into neurobiological language, dopamine and oxytocin do most of the work of love in the first few years, but these wear off and we are left to our own mindful devices and the work of recreating our couple and family relationships.
The reality of life is that we each have a wound or two! Wounds are unfinished childhood issues or poor esteem and the negative feelings that some parents have implanted in our emotions. The dance (clash) of wounds is when two people in a relationship are noticing more pain than love, and it is time for some relationship work.
As a couple and family therapist, it is the dance of wounds that brings partners and families to therapy, and I can help. The sooner people come to therapy, the easier it is to accomplish the work of love and heal. It is when people wait too long and do too much damage to the relationship that it becomes more difficult, if not too late. I see my doctor for a checkup once a year, I see my dentist twice a year, so why not see a therapist once a year for the couple checkup or a family enrichment?
What is this work of love? It starts with Communication. Talk nicely! Listen well! And don’t be afraid to discuss important issues. As well, emotional connection often needs a checkup – to transition from the lust of the first years to the touch of later years. It may also be beneficial to review your shared values with a professional, as well as other potential relationship hurdles such as parenting, financial goals and dealing with teenagers or in-laws. Spirituality and sobriety can also benefit from therapy, as you manage the mid-life transition or seek the meaning of life in later years. Reading a good book can also help. Healing the Wounds in Couple Relationships, a Kindle Book by Dr. Martin Rovers, covers many of these areas of growth.
It is a New Year, 2018, and love demands a new resolution – the work of love!
Dr. Martin Rovers, PhD., is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor for Serenity Renewal for Families, an Alta Vista Charity, which provides educational programs and counselling for people struggling with addiction, their children and families.
To learn more or to donate to families needing assistance, call (613) 523-5143