Marriage

My interest in working with marriages was naturally enough also driven by more personal needs. Naive though I was at this early stage, at least the personal experiences to which I have alluded gave me something to work with. I knew from the experience of falling in love, how intense and non cerebral this was. From failed relationships, the connections between sexual attraction, disgust, fear of loss of identity, anxiety and embarrassment had been introduced to me.

The starting points for a young probation officer in his early twenties and just beginning married life were then a curiosity driven by personal anxieties, and discovering about attachment and identity. Many discoveries may have been barely conscious or not conscious at all – some of that comes later. I do recall however that I was aware of my anxiety about both attachment and identity at this time of life.

As I look back at this still adolescent young man, it is also apparent that I had no other sense of marriage than as part of a personal journey. The 60’s had worked their passage and the old assumptions about marriage as a social event had gone. The adoption of the social role as a man, as head of a family, responsible for providing materially for wife and children, a role from which my social status and identity would have been defined, had given way to marriage as an aide to personal discovery, growth and personal happiness.

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