For the cover photo for my blog, I chose a picture I took when my husband and I visited the Outer Banks in North Carolina a few years ago. The word, “unconquerable,” was one engraved among others on a monument to Wilbur and Orville Wright, at Kitty Hawk, where the first flight took place. When I saw it, I told my husband, “I need a close-up shot of that word,” because I wanted to blow it up and hang it in my house where my children could see it. The word feels powerful, like a call to action. I am hoping it will inspire people to work at uniting in their marriages in order to be “unconquerable,” together.
There are all kinds of metaphorical dragons that can threaten couple relationships. Couples face financial worries, physical, mental and emotional limitations, parenting struggles, betrayals, and a seemingly limitless array of potential uncertainty. The difference between couples who are destroyed by these challenges and those who overcome them seems to be largely in their abilities to recognize the “dragons,” as they appear and unite together to defeat the enemy. The capability to unite has everything to do with the ability to gain reassurance from one’s spouse that he or she matters more than anyone or anything else. In couple relationships, people want to feel special. When they have access to that kind of reassurance, they gain the safety to join with partners in committed relationships to defeat common foes.
I have counseled with and supervised therapy for thousands of couples representing various educational and socioeconomic levels. I have met with Ivy League graduates and couples without high school diplomas; I have met with physicians, attorneys, entrepreneurs, professional athletes, engineers, professors, plumbers, bus drivers, and people involved in just about any career imaginable. I can even predict some of the unique marital challenges certain careers bring to the table. Regardless of our differences, at a fundamental level, we all have one thing in common. Unless a relationship is over, EVERYONE wants to know that they matter to their committed partners.
When couples identify their dragons, and learn ways of shifting out of repetitive damaging cycles of interaction, they can learn to unite and fight the dragons together. They assimilate more flexible and adaptable ways of solving common and even uncommon problems. Most importantly, they can garner courage from having a secure marital base from which to face the world.
This blog is dedicated to providing information for couples to learn how to unite in their marriages, and therefore provide strong foundations for their children. Children garner a lot of intrinsic mental, emotional and physical protection when their partners provide not just stable marriages, but high quality marriages. I believe in a “trickle-down theory of marriage,” in which fixing the marriage peripherally fixes child and family problems much of the time. In other words, a united marriage can make a family “unconquerable.”