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Samouilidis, L. (1975). Marital Relationships: Frustration and Fulfillment. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(4):365-375.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(4):365-375

Marital Relationships: Frustration and Fulfillment

Leonidas Samouilidis, M.D.

The title I chose for this paper is “Marital Relationships: Frustration and Fulfillment,” instead of, as one might expect, “Marital Relationships: Frustration or Fulfillment.” This puts us right from the beginning into Karen Horney's dialectic and holistic approach, which conceives of two opposites — in this case the frustration and the fulfillment — merging harmoniously, rather than being in conflict.

The breaking down of a life situation, such as marriage, into different components and the harmonious merging of these components, will result in a truly meaningful whole. It also means in practical terms that people who are married or who are anticipating marriage should expect it to be partly a frustrating and partly a fulfilling experience. What would describe the total nature of the marital relationship would be the degree to which each marital partner experiences frustration or fulfillment. It is generally easy to say that the more neurotic the person is, the more frustration he or she will experience, and that the healthier the person is, the more fulfillment he or she will feel. However, this is a rather narrow generalization; it is important for us to be aware that marriage is a process and not a static end. By “process” I mean something that has a beginning, that is dynamic in nature, that requires developments and fluctuations, and that finally matures. When people experience marriage as a process they do not feel so easily discouraged, rebellious, or defiant when they first encounter difficulties.

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