Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage Is . . .

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 28, 2014 3:27 pm

“No sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.”     ~ William Shakespeare

As a husband of 17 years, I can inform you that marriage is a lifelong education.  Marriage is the essence of life and it has an intrinsic way of wholly consuming every aspect of life.  While the consumption is likely, the type of consumption can be a profitable experience rather than a drudgery.

Furthermore, marriage is a lifelong commitment.  The commitment cannot solely be an individual endeavor, rather marriage is a joint effort.  As a clinician, I am always amazed that the assumption of marriage is viewed from a myopic perspective, rather than a hyperopic one.  Marriage is not a singular ideological framework, rather it devised of two perspectives uniting together to become one.  While you can rest assured that your ideological views surely will cross, it is always essential to come to a place to agree-to-disagree.  Moreover, while there are no perfect marriages, the highlight of every marriage is to strive for an unified best!


“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”  ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Marriage is an ultimate sacrifice of thyself and thy personhood.   It is through the sacrifice that we learn to serve and to be served.  Marriage is the best reminder of why it is important to love thyself.  While many utter words of love, few completely understand the roots of love.  Love is an intense feeling of deep affection, admiration, respect and warm approval.  Without love, there is likely no attachment or affection.  Nevertheless, you can be the best of friends and not be “in love.”  Moreover, love must begin within you before it can be expressed outwardly.

What does it mean to be in love?  Being in love is not a mystical experience, having hidden or esoteric meanings.  Rather, being “in love’ is within anyone’s reach and is a response to reactions in our brain, but connecting to the “right” person is often the challenge.  You cannot force a person to “be in love.”  If you partner is not “in love” with you, then the likelihood of making that connection is null.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Creating Life

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on August 30, 2013 3:05 pm

“Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”             ~ Maria Shriver

As a couple, there are many challenges that you will face simply being within a relationship.  Your relationship may tinker between the off-and-on again paradigm.  You may dislike your spouse’s personal habits, hygiene, mindsets, and/or belief systems. 

There are many variables that can cause a couple to have relationship strife.  If an individual within the relationship has an addiction or addictive personality; the nonaddictive partner may feel neglected or barricade from getting to “really” know their spouse. 

Unfortunately, we live in an era of global financial hardships and economic woes.  The lack of employment opportunities and corporation layoffs has become the norm within of our society.  Infuse the societal troubles with a lack of time and you will create the perfect storm for a newly formed or broken relationship. 

Not all are facing the hardships of financial woes or employment layoffs.  In some cases, the challenges for a relationship may center around a lack of intimacy or unrealistic expectations about sex.   Sexual expectations and intimacy are all too often intertwined.  While sexual expectations are often developed early on within a relationship, we seldom speak of our sexual desires early on.  Unfortunately, sexual conversations most commonly occur when the relationship is in an unhealthy state.  The couples discussions are often filled with anger, frustration, bitterness, rage, and confusion about the relationship and the sexuality within. When the sexuality of a relationship is discussed between a couple; there are commonly feelings of despair, resentment, and hopelessness until the matter is resolved in a healthy manner.  It is vitally important to avoid creating life if your sexual and/or your personal relationship is unhealthy.

If a couple is doing well, then-and-only-then, should they consider the possibility of having children.  Having a child can prove the greatest stressor of a relationship.  Even the very discussion of having a child, can spur heated debates and personal battles. 


“I’m sorry, it’s true.  Having children really changes your view on these things.  We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die.  It’s been happening for a long time.  Technology is not changing it much – if at all.”   
       ~ Steve Jobs

As a therapist, I have counselled a number of individual’s on the decision to have or not to have children.  “If you’re a couple, the decision to have a child or remain childless is a joint decision.” (Wade & Kovacs, 2005, p. 28) Having children will have a significant impact upon your relationship.  It is paramount that if-and-only-if, you, as a nucleus couple, decide to create life; then-and-only-then should you even consider undertaking the obligation of forming such life.   Regrettably, not every couple has been equal players in the creation of life, nor has every person within a relationship known about the lives that are being created.   Of course, if we wanted, we could open Pandora’s box to all the possible discussions about sex and sexuality, but the intent of this article is and has been solely designed to discuss creating life and the meaning therein. 

The challenges are unlimited when considering the creation of life.   If I decide to have a child, then I must consider whether or not I want to be eternally connected to my partner.  Even the legendary Dr. Albert Ellis was once quoted as saying, “I would have liked having children to some degree, but frankly I haven’t got the time to take the kids to the (swear word) ballgame.”

Sadly, the possibility of a relationship ceasing does exist.  Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that to consider whether or not we would like to be forever connected or linked to our partner.   We seldom consider the implications of a relationship ceasing, but if so, the ramifications of creating life can have a dire effect upon the life of the child.   For some the creation of life is a good idea at the time; for others, there are religious implications behind the creation of children; while for others, there remains little explanation or consideration.  


Children are not the answer to a bad relationship.  Unfortunately, I have encountered more than one couple or partner who has decided to have a baby to mend or repair their unhealthy relationship.  Having a child should never be the remedy for a broken relationship, no more than having sex should be about forgiveness.

It is not uncommon for someone to think that a baby will rekindle the flame.  For many, it is thought that a baby will reunite or repair a broken relationship.   First of all, if a baby is born healthy, then it might serve as a positive measure within the relationship.  However, if the baby is born unhealthy, then the couple’s level of stress and anxiety will reach peak heights.  A child’s life should never be considered as a healing aide within a relationship.  “If a baby is brought into a relationship in which one partner is opposed to having a baby, the relationship will usually suffer, and as a result so does the child.” (Wade & Kovacs, 2005, p. 28)

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for those in bad relationships to manipulate their partner by the discussing the possibility of having a child.   I have encountered both men and women who have used “a baby” as a source of manipulation within their relationship.  Baby manipulation is one of the most common themes of bad relationships.  

  • “I will have a baby with you, if you…”
  • “I should have a baby with my partner, because this will heal our relationship.”
  • “I really can’t stand the guilt of denying him or her the right to a child.”
  • “While I really do not care for children, I will have a child so that we remain a couple.”
  • “My faith insists that we have children, so I think I will have a child to appease my faith.”

As a potential parent, your priorities should shift.  You are no longer alone in this world.  You are now forever bonded to another person on this planet.  As a potential parent, you are creating a life that will forever need your unwavering guidance. 


“Restaurants are like having children:  it’s fun to make them, maybe, but then you have them for good and bad.  You are going to have to raise them and if something goes wrong when they are 30 years old, they will still be your little boy.”                   ~ Wolfgang Puck

Children are the greatest teachers you will ever encounter.  I have personally attended more than 13 1/2 years of university, but you can rest assured; that my greatest teachers have yet to set a foot in a university classroom.  Children can serve as your most profound teacher, guide, and inspiration.  It is amazing how a child who has been egregiously harmed in this life, can serve as an awe-inspiring motivator of life.  The life of a child is typically filled with an abundance of resiliency.

Children should never be considered as a remedy for a bad relationship.  If you are struggling within your relationship, it is prudent that you consider seeking the counsell of a therapist.   Furthermore, be certain that you and your partner can be intricate players within the counselling environment.   If not, your problems may continue to exist.  

A child is a mirage, often appearing to be less complex than they really are.  No child has ever been born with an owner’s manual.   No child has ever sat down at their birth and discussed the meaning of life or the purpose of their own life.   Yet, many who have a fantasy of sharing their life with another, rarely give great debate or heated discussion before bringing forth life. 

Children are magical creatures who seem to bring forth our maternal and paternal instincts. “Yes, a baby is so powerfully appealing that people are even entertained watching it sleep.  Just notice how grown people tiptoe to a crib and look down at a baby.” (Cosby, 1987, p. 22)   Baby’s are undoubtedly alluring.  It is often this mystical side to babyhood that we mistake their incredible powers as being capable of healing or bringing aide to our relationship.  Be more than certain that if you decide to have a child, that it is a decision made with a clear consciousness and a sound mind.   

Children are forever.   

Authors:  Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.



Brown, A. D. (2010) Waiting to live, Bloomington, IN:  IUniverse

Cosby, B. (1987) Fatherhood. New York, NY:  Berkley Books

Forward, S. (2001) Emotional blackmail, When the people in your life use fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate you.  New York, NY:  HarperCollins Publishers

McCoy, D. (2006) The manipulative man, Identify his behavior, counter the abuse, regain control. Avon, MA:  Adams Media

Wade, D. & Kovacs, L. (2005) I want a baby, He doesn’t, How both partners can make the right decision at the right time. Avon, MA:  Adams Media

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA