Relationships, Part 1: Marriage is for Adults Only


Marriage, or any committed relationship, is not meant for children or those that act like children, except when they are just having fun. On the other hand, we are all just children until we enter a committed relationship and make it work. Relationships add the finishing touches to adulthood.

Think of the process by which people grow. An egg is fertilized by a sperm and grows into a fetus. At this stage it is scarcely indistinguishable from the mother. The fetus grows into a baby bump, but it is still the mother’s baby bump. The child is born and the cord is cut, but the baby is utterly dependent on its caretakers. Little by little, over years, the child becomes less dependent.

This process is called differentiation. You see it? The child grows increasingly differentiated from the mother until they are fully independent people.

Then the supposedly independent person gets into a committed relationship and, guess what? They expect their partner to be their mother. They are still not yet fully differentiated.

They may find a partner quite willing to be their mother, for a while. Sooner or later, the partner resents having to take care of an adult or wants some mothering, too, and unhappiness results.

People who work through this conflict with their partner grow up the rest of the way. They become adults and ready for marriage, even though they may have been married twenty years.

In the next posting, Four signs that a person is an adult.

Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

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Published by Keith R Wilson

I'm a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience. My newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist. If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Twitter account @theshrinkslinks. MyFacebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author.

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