Portland Oregon Marriage Counselor asks, Do you Undermine Love?

September 28, 2010 by


I am a long term Portland Oregon marriage counselor and came across an article I believe pertains to many or most of the couples I work with. Relationship experts Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt who wrote Getting the Love you Want and pioneered Imago Relationship Therapy were recently interviewed by CNN on their views of what contributes to unhappiness in romantic relationships. The interviewer was surprised when they responded that, “Keeping your guard up in a relationship is guaranteed to keep the love out.”

At one point in their marriage Harville realized that he could not trust or receive Helen’s love. Although they had been married many years, showed devotion, and are renown marriage counselors and authors, Harville could not open up and let Helen’s love in. He was unable to take his own relationship advice to receive love.

Harville understood that his feelings were irrational, he says, but alienation was stubbornly entrenched. No matter what Helen gave him emotionally, it had little impact because he suspected there were strings attached.

"Only with time and reflection did I realize that I was not able to recognize genuine love when it was offered," he says. . . .

Portland Oregon Marriage Counselor asks, are You Open to Love?

Harville and Helen found, “… that many people need to do a better job of receiving the gifts their partners are already offering. It's surprising how often the compliments, appreciation and encouragement of a well-intentioned partner make no dent in the armor of an unhappy partner."

I have often noticed the same resistance to receiving love. Harville specifies some of the ways you may deflect the love you secretly crave: by devaluing praise; by assuming the other person is insincere; by criticizing the sender of a positive message for not getting it right, not doing it on time, or not doing it often enough; by not listening; or by feeling embarrassed. All of these are behaviors this seasoned Portland Oregon marriage counselor sees every week in sessions with couples.  My relationship advice for you is to ask yourself if you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself (not your partner!). If you do, then consider seeking relationship help.

This Portland Oregon marriage counselor recommends you read the the CNN article and take us up on a free consultation if you think you need to improve your ability to love and to be loved.