Psychological Self-Help

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behind silent withdrawal, the couple is well on the way to a "secure
attachment" and a good marriage. 
There are lots of detachments in life. In a mobile society, we often
leave our families of origin at 18, never to return. With marriage, we
often lose contact with our college and casual friends. We never get
over our need for intimacy, however, and in today's culture, we seem
to be looking more than ever for continuing intimacy with our spouse.
Ordinarily lots of disclosing occurs early in a relationship, but within a
few years it fades away. In the past, there were many barriers to
intimacy in marriage: gender inequality (e.g. men more educated),
false or unreasonable expectations of the opposite sex, dependent ties
with families of origin, "unfinished business" from family or previous
relationships, women involved with children, men obsessed with work,
few examples of intimate parents, etc. Several of these barriers are
declining and, as that happens, the emphasis on obtaining true
intimacy in marriage is increasing (Gordon & Frandsen, 1993; Young-
Eisendrath, 1993; Barbach & Geisinger, 1992; Campbell, 1980, 1984;
Emmons & Alberti, 1991). 
Young-Eisendrath (1993) sees old gender stereotypes as
engendering false expectations of the opposite sex. She feels a spouse
can find out what the other is really like by talking. Research by
Bradbury and Fincham (1990) supports this notion, except they say
that it is the way we have learned to explain our spouse's behavior
that must be changed first. As discussed above, unhappy spouses see
their spouse as having bad intentions, selfishness, and permanent
negative traits that cause problems. With this attitude, it is hard to
give any praise or to be nice. In fact, faking it by "talking" and feigning
being "understanding" or pretending to make efforts at reconciliation
usually make things worse, until in your own mind your views of the
spouse's motivations become more positive. This cognitive aspect--
viewing the partner positively--is part of all these efforts to increase
intimacy. Barbach and Geisinger (1992) concentrate on understanding
how our previous relationships, such as an absent father or a critical
former wife, influence our current love. They emphasize friendship,
respect, trust, and sexual satisfaction. 
Firestone and Catlett (1999) operate on a very different theory,
namely, that the fear of intimacy stems from early childhood when we
develop a primative "fantasy bond" with Mom as a defense against
separation anxiety. The parent's negative qualities or anything seen as
rejection are responded to with anger, fear, and maybe guilt. Later on,
with the idea of death, the child strengthens the fantasy bond (for
safety), the idealization of one or both parents, the withdrawal of
feelings from the world, and the depreciation of his/her own self. In
the ongoing attempt to defend ourselves from hurts, we develop an
internal "voice" that talks to us mostly about grave dangers and
painful feelings. It is our earliest self-concept; it tells us what we
should do and controls us with criticism, commands, and warnings.
The result is a lot of fear and guilt. Later in life, after we fall in love,
the voice is still very alive--telling us we are unlovable, inadequate,
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