Couples Therapy, Marriage and Family Therapy, Uncategorized

Fighting the Metaphorical Dragons Together

cropped-cropped-img_11551.jpgFor 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.”


3 thoughts on “Fighting the Metaphorical Dragons Together”

  1. I am excited to read more of your upcoming posts. I love the picture and what it symbolizes in our marriages and families. Thanks so much!


  2. Your article reminded me of this excerpt I recently read:

    In the opening paragraph of chapter 9 of his Pulitzer Prize winning work, Jared Diamond referred to the “Anna Karenina Principle.” He quotes the first sentence of Tolstoy’s novel: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Diamond then explains, “Tolstoy meant that, in order to be happy, a marriage must succeed in many different respects…. Failure in any one of those essential respects can doom a marriage even if it has all the other ingredients needed for happiness.”


    1. I’m familiar with the Tolstoy quote. I’m interested to look up your Diamond reference. John Gottman pointed out that when you choose a marriage partner, you choose a unique set of problems, and a different partner would only present a different set of problems. Everything I have seen leads me to believe this is true, although I acknowledge that some situations seem more challenging than others.


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