Romantic Love: Is it a Realistic Goal for Marriage Therapy?
Jennifer H. Chalmers, Ph.D.
I recently attended a training conference for psychotherapists
that showcased several experts in the field of marital therapy.
The purpose of the conference was to educate therapists.
Yet when it came to determining the goal of marital therapy, NO
ONE suggested that restoring the feeling of love should be the
goal. In fact a prominent scholar and expert on "sex, love, and
relationships" boldly said, "Anyone who says that romantic love
can last is giving you B*** S***." He probably lost the feeling
of love in his own marriage and didn't know how to restore it.
But then he had the audacity to claim that no one knew how to do
This "expert" was not alone with his viewpoint. The topic of
creating and sustaining the feeling of love was never discussed
in any of the marriage-related workshops that I attended. They
talked about conflict resolution, improving communication and
listening skills, understanding each other's themes and beliefs,
understanding our choices in how we behave, and changing our
irrational beliefs about the other. But these issues were not
intended to help couples create the feeling of love. According
to these scholars, that goal was impossible to achieve.
Several times I felt like shouting out to the thousands of fellow
therapists, "The feeling of love is not only something that can
be created, but it's essential to every marriage. I help couples
restore their love for each other every week. And so do
countless others who use Dr. Harley's 'Basic Concepts' when counseling."
I ended the five-day conference feeling energized. Although
these educators and experts did not know how to create feelings
of love in marriage, I use a plan that has taken couples from
feelings of hate, discontentment, unhappiness, and
incompatibility to feelings of love, contentment, happiness, and
Do you know how to create the feeling of love in your marriage?
If you don't, I urge you to read all of Dr. Harley's Basic
Don't let anyone tell you that the feeling of love is
unobtainable or unsustainable. It can be created even after years
of neglect. It is an achievable goal. And I speak for