By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
A healthy marriage is one in which both members of the couple feel safe. It is only when there is a foundation of safety that the individuals as well as the couple can grow and mature. With it comes the intimacy that is only possible when people feel secure enough to be vulnerable. Without it, any conflict threatens the entire relationship.
It’s true that the marriages of some of the couples I see in therapy should end. Some probably never should have taken place at all. These are the couples who have not been able to establish and maintain safety in their relationship. Some married for all the wrong reasons: to get out of a parent’s home, for financial gain, or just because everyone else expected them to. Some struggle with verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. In such cases, it’s important to first ensure individual safety.