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Spotnitz, H. (1977). Problems of the Marriage Partnership. Mod. Psychoanal., 2(1):4-14.

(1977). Modern Psychoanalysis, 2(1):4-14

Problems of the Marriage Partnership

Hyman Spotnitz

The institution of marriage has a long history as a human relationship, a legal covenant, and the socially approved status for procreation, but many complain about it and it can't be said, as Mark Twain said about the weather, that nobody does anything about it. At the very least, they talk about marriage, point to its shortcomings, and advance all sorts of opinions on how to improve it. Voices commonly heard in the chorus of criticism are those of anthropologists and other social scientists, philosophers, lawyers, government and religious leaders, and adamant feminists. Those who are especially concerned with mental illness also are concerned about marriage. Hour after hour they hear impressive evidence that men and women possess a remarkable ability to be unhappy together and to achieve that unhappiness in countless ways.

The science of physiology is based in part on what the medical practitioner has learned from the treatment of physically sick people and what the pathologist observes in his study of diseased organs. The practitioner who is psychoanalytically trained to investigate psychopathology acquires his understanding of psychology in much the same way.

Many marital problems respond adequately to counseling in the limited sense that the couple use information and advice effectively. In that case they are dealt with primarily by counselors rather than psychoanalysts.

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