Fresh understandings of marriage come from viewing the coupling phenomenon through the lenses of attachment, emotion, and development. The implications are profound, not only for partners in their dance together, but also for the interface of their partnership with their parenting. The course has significant implications for treating couples, as well.

We encourage all interested participants of this course to read "Reflections from Gordon on the Mystery of Coupling".

Course Description

After a lifetime of focusing on children, Dr. Neufeld turns the lenses of attachment, emotion, and development on marriage - teasing apart the dynamics of marriage and giving us a chance to make sense of ourselves in the process. He sheds a light on our frustrations and fulfillments, our wounds and our worries, the futilities and the joys, the attachment dance and the typical missteps. Dr. Neufeld also looks at how individual maturation affects a couple and vice versa. Special attention is given to the challenges involved in realizing the deepest of all human intimacies - that of being fully known. He reveals marriage – whether formalized or not - as possessing the potential to deliver the ideal scenario where individuals find a home for their hearts and where partners take care of each other instead of taking care of themselves, setting the stage for taking care of others including any children they are responsible for.

This approach to marriage is unique within the current world of theory and therapy regarding marriage and family, yet becomes self-evident when articulated, resonating with inner intuition of how marriage was meant to be.

The core video material for this ten-session course was professionally filmed in a two-day event in Kyiv in 2018, to an audience of couples with varying levels of previous exposure to Dr. Neufeld's articulation of the attachment-based developmental approach. As attested to by the standing ovations received, the material was much appreciated. The video presentations have been further enriched with resource material and support sessions by Neufeld Institute Faculty, resulting in a powerful primer for marital togetherness.

Suitability/Applicability

This course undoubtedly delivers the most when functioning as a marriage enrichment course and when taken together as a couple. It is not meant to function as couple therapy itself but can certainly serve as a supplement to therapy when arranged by a therapist. We would consider this course an absolute must for any therapist wanting to make sense of coupling through the lenses of attachment, emotion, and development. It was of utmost importance to Dr. Neufeld to create a course that could help partners realize the potential of what coupledom has to offer without destabilizing the relationships of those who have found a way of making things work despite the frustrations that may exist.

Course Outline

This ten-session course is divided into two parts. In Part One, the focus is on making sense of marriage as well as ourselves in the context of our couple relationships. In Part Two, the focus is on seven keys that can unlock the potential of a marriage relationship including some surprising solutions of how best to engage each other, hold on to each other, take care of each other, and ultimately preserve a sense of fulfillment in a world that no longer provides the support that most couples need.

Sessions 1 & 2 - Marriage and Attachment
Making sense of marriage begins with understanding the coupling phenomenon as a manifestation of attachment. This sheds light on how and why we are affected, the exclusivity we seek, the nature of the togetherness we pursue, the dynamics we trip over, how fulfillment can be realized, and the dance steps to be mastered.

Session 3 – Marriage and Emotion
Since emotion serves attachment first and foremost, we should not be surprised that marriage is highly evocative emotionally. Making sense of those emotions and making space for them without doing harm to the relationship is one of our greatest challenges in the couple dance.

Session 4 - Marriage and Maturation
Although marriage is primarily about togetherness that is exclusive in some way, the emotional maturation and individuated selfhood of each partner can greatly affect the couple interaction and vice versa.

Session 5 - Marriage and Parenthood
When coupling leads to offspring, it can be challenging to incorporate the parenting dance with the couple dance. Understanding what marriage is meant to be about can greatly prepare for adding children to the equation.

Session 6 – How to Engage and How to Hold On
There is nothing more important in couple relationships than being able to continually engage each other and hold on to each other despite whatever should come between. This session provides support for these challenges.

Session 7 - How Not to Wound
Our greatest wounds come from being hurt by those we are most attached to. Many bruises are unavoidable as they come from bumping up against each other. Other hurts result from a lack of mutuality regarding the caring or pursuit of each other. Many wounds however result from a clumsiness or blindness that can be addressed.

Session 8 – Sharing Feelings & Mastering the Alpha-Dependent Dance
Understanding and mastering the alpha-dependent dance can significantly reduce the tripping over each other as partners. It can also lead to fulfilling the natural purpose of coupling – taking turns taking care of each other. Making space to share feelings can lead to unparalleled experiences of closeness and connection.

Session 9 - How to Fully Realize the Potential for Intimacy
Although there is no greater intimacy to be experienced than that of sharing all that is within our heart with the one we have given our heart to, the fears of being known and the impediments to becoming known can loom large. Sometimes an understanding of the barriers to intimacy can help in overcoming them.

Session 10 – The Hidden Key to Fulfillment in Marriage
Since coupling is often triggered by an unexpected experience of feeling fulfilled by another, it follows that chasing fulfillment can result when that feeling fades. Dr. Neufeld reveals a deeper and more natural but also paradoxical way of preserving the fulfillment that may still be there for us, but which cannot be realized by direct pursuit.

Registration Details

This course is currently available to the public through Scheduled Online Classes only. If a class is currently scheduled, you can access the registration form through a button in the left-hand column. The regular tuition fee is $300 per person, however, partners who register at the same time are eligible for 50% reduction (contact our office for the 50% promo code). The tuition fee includes a virtual campus study pass of four months to access the study material.

A Self-Paced Study option is available to individuals who have already completed a campus course. Contact our office to request a registration form link. The tuition fee is $300.

Marriage therapists who have completed this course can make arrangements for clients to enroll in this course as an adjunct to therapy. Please contact the course coordinator directly to inquire about arrangements.

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator for Making Sense of Marriage is Michele Maurer.

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