Couples often wonder whether they are “ready” for such a commitment. I look for situations when each person’s “sore spot” is activated. When a couple is able to hold the tension of the activated inferior function and find a way to make their relationship a vehicle for the development of personality, then they are “ready” for marriage in one of the most crucial ways.
Relationships & Partnerships
Being married is easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Marriage is an all-consuming project that requires energy, commitment, and sustained effort. Unlike my other projects, I can’t just ignore my marriage until inspiration strikes. Mostly, there’s no faking it. As an introvert in an extraverted world, faking it is a lot of how I survive.
My sister’s life illustrates the impact of a lack of positive parental guidance on the development of personality and what happens if the inner parent fails to develop. Family tragedy deprived Christin of a compass with which to navigate psychic turbulence during midlife. While few people succumb to such crises, many lack the tenacity to face them.
The dynamics of creative process and psychological wellbeing are such that creative artists are often overcome by the demonic. From Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to Curt Cobain’s Nirvana, there is an artistic star swallowed by the unconscious every week. But the arts can also be a type of savior—a place for us to process our darkness and not become it.
Individuation calls us to fight the dragon head-on. The struggles of relationship—whether with another person or within a culture—are opportunities. We can flee and seek a quick-fix, taking what my husband calls “tequila shot” flights to numb the discomfort until the next situation arises. Or we can remain within the oyster shell and endure the uncomfortable rubbing.
Igniting the spark of opposites produced during conflict can provide an opportunity for holding the tensions between the one-sided attitudes. The process requires confronting and embracing the forces of unconscious qualities, along with holding the tension and uniting of opposing forces, in order for the full expression of an individual’s potential to be revealed.
A marriage is not only a dynamic story of two but also a mirror of the innermost soul workings of one, a journey of the disparate parts of one’s self seeking integration, finding their way home. If I have learned anything about marriage it is this: the greatest legacy I can offer my outer marriage is soulful, abiding attention to my inner union.
Kowalsky’s self-sacrifice can be seen as the Animus acting as “the door through which all the figures of the unconscious come into consciousness.” His extraverted feeling is giving Stone a much-needed lesson: She must stop holding on to a situation that is no longer life-giving. It is time to let go of her debilitating prison of pain—and of her former self—so she can move forward.
In our home ‘to J’ is a commonly used verb. “Who J’d the gaffer tape?” means, “Who put the gaffer tape away somewhere where I can’t find it?” My J-preferenced housemates need predictable order; I need a multitude of choices always visibly at hand. They like surfaces clear and relatively tidy. I need everything out where I can see it.
Husbands and wives frequently feel like their marriages broke down because their spouses didn’t hear what they were saying. Therefore, the mediator’s ability to see and hear what each party is saying, and to reframe it so that the other party can see and hear it, can make or break their ability to reach a settlement.