Resolution, Not Conflict

The guide to problem-solving.

Can I Trust My Gut to Know I've Found My True Love

Are gut intuitions enough to decide the big question, Is this The One, my real true love? Here's five short tests to help you assess if a person who feels like a marriage candidate would be a good choice for sealing the deal as husband and wife. Read More

In all sincerity, this is a

In all sincerity, this is a really intriguing perspective as it seems to imply that by and large people have an actual desire to have a marriage partner - not necessarily their great love - but more just someone they are compatible with to share the task of getting through life. It may be naive - but why? If you are independent (financially), have a sense of purpose and have a life filled with love and support - what purpose does marriage serve? It seems like such an unnecessary loss to separate from someone you love because you were raised in different faiths - it is all the same at the end of the day. Admittedly, social norms of such life expectations weren't systematically drilled into me (despite being raised in a family which included two married parents who loved each other more than seems possilbe) - but relationships you attract through life, I feel, help you grow as a person during that time of life. This mutual growth, stimulation and attraction may continue to the end of one's life - or you may grow apart or find yourself limited in your potential within the relationship at a later point. But just hanging out despite the fact that you aren't getting what you need in the bind of marriage seems like a huge sacrifice for a benefit I fail to see.

Is marriage a bind or a bond?

I found your comment totally intriguing, which is funny because I'm looking back now at your comment and just saw that you used the same word for my posting.

What struck me most of the several interesting points that you raised in your comment is that my posting may not have conveyed my true belief that a marriage works best when it's based on both love and lifetime commitment to be partners in living. One without the other would be problematic.

That image of "hanging out despite the fact that you aren't getting what you need in the bind of marriage" sounds quite dreadful. That's why picking very carefully, rather than relying on blind love or mere gut, is so vital when choosing a marriage partner.

Once two people have married, partnership seems to work best when both spouses are lovingly responsive to each other and at the same time feel free to be themselves. With good skills at discussing their inevitable differences, partners keep doing better and better at the role of spouse, and a marriage, like a good wine, gets better and better over time.

The term "need" is a treacherous one in this regard. Infants have needs. I'm acutely aware of how demanding needs can be (for food, dry clothes, warmth, etc) having had my infant grandson with me this afternoon. Adults by contrast hopefully are not needy. They have concerns and preferences, and at the same time they stand on their own feet.

I am fascinated as well by the words bind and bonds. Bind sounds like external ropes that keep people stuck with each other. Bonds, by contrast, are internal feelings of caring for each other and of desire to share their lives as a team.

Warmest thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

The article is interesting,

The article is interesting, but the example of the Catholic and the Jew seemed a little odd, if only because it seems difficult to reconcile Jewish and Catholic beliefs about sex outside/before marriage and the two exemplars sexual activity and the alleged importance of their own religious creeds.

Can spiritual and sexual cohabitate?

I agree that it is odd in some ways that two young people who both treasured their religious traditions also were untraditional in their willingness to go by more secular sexual standards.

My impression at the same time is that many twenty-somethings who are strongly religious do have premarital relationships. They may be more likely though to limit sexuality to monogamous coupling, and be less or not at all interested in "sleeping around" casually.

I love your post. For all you

I love your post. For all you nay Sayers, 40 years of what sounds like a productive and loving relationship can't be wrong. With all the negativity and selfishness in our society, it's a wonder anyone gets together at all.

"It's a wonder anyone gets together..."

I do have concerns about how long young people these days wait to marry. I appreciate their caution, and at the same time sure would love to see more singles accomplish the blessing of finding their match, learn the skills for marriage success, and then go for it!


Not to make a long story longer, but I am in a co-habitation relationship. We've been together about a year and a half and moved in together after about 6 months due to my place being wrecked by Hurricane Sandy. Im 44 years old and she is 38. I was in a bad relationship before we met , also another quick move in, and it ended terribly. I finally got my own place again, own car, and started the gym again when I went out on a few dates here and there until i met her. I wasnt quite into moving in together so soon based on my past...very recent past and i believe she took this as a slight. Also, she pushes the marriage/kid thing alot. We both do not have children. She is a nice person, great girl, non materialistic, not selfish as well as an all around decent person who is very family oriented. Im confused. I have day dreams about my old apt., and really do think i'd be happier if i still had my place and we saw each other as per the "dating" phase for awhile. It just seems so rushed right now. And I feel trapped. Not that Im looking to date anyone else really, but I miss my own sanctuary....can anyone help?

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Susan Heitler, Ph.D., is the author of many books, including From Conflict to Resolution and The Power of Two. She is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University.


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