The Magic in Your Differences


This article originally appeared on the Support4Change website, and is reposted here.

The following is the first chapter of The New Intimacy by Judith Sherven, Ph.D. and James Sniechowski, Ph.D., and reprinted with permission. You will find other articles by this husband-and-wife therapist team here, on the Support4Change Blog.

rough diamond

The Promise of Differences

Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.      — Polly Berrien Berends

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As we learn to truly respect one another’s differences, the much sought after ideal — loving partnership that fosters emotional and spiritual growth — is becoming a reality.      — Art Klein

Did your relationship start out with great promise, filled with excitement, throbbing with life? Were you certain the two of you would create a vital and passionate future together? Did you see in your lover all the qualities you wanted, so that just the thought of being together was enough to fire your desire and make your skin tingle? Did you imagine your family with beautiful, loving children and two caring and protective parents all together in a warm and comfortable home? And as you imagined growing old together, did you see yourself sitting back, content and confident, knowing, “We lived and loved and we did well!” Read More

Can We Feel Love All the Time?

This is the fifth post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.

When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility.

   — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Lots of people imagine that when they love someone they will feel that rich, warm passion every minute of the day. They believe that they will never feel angry or bored or doubtful. But that’s simply not true.

Loving someone is a journey that spans the gamut of human emotions and life experiences. If we were bedazzled every waking minute, we’d never be able to attend to a sick child or conduct a business meeting. We’d never sleep or gaze at the stars. Lasting love is ultimately a commitment, a CHOICE to continue loving someone “through good times and bad, sickness and health.” Read More

Creating Your Love Together

This is the fourth post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.

It takes two people working together to make a marriage work.

— Dear Abby

Right from the first moment you met, when you both began teaching each other how you expected the relationship to be, you were co-creating your relationship. Like a work of art, you jointly shaped what you now have. You are responsible for your choices and therein awaits your power.

If you don’t like how your marriage works, it will take both of you to change and re-create it. If one of you won’t do that, you don’t really have a relationship—because real love requires both of you to be involved. Read More

No Training Required for Marriage?

Compassion for others —and ourselves —is key

This is the third post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.

The ability to disagree with somebody but still respect them . . . that’s not something we’re taught anymore.

— James Finn Garner

You took math and reading when you were in school. But you didn’t have to take Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, Respect for Personal Differences or Positive Parenting. And yet, you’re allowed to get a marriage license and have children—with no preparation for the two most challenging and difficult experiences in life. Read More

Practical Spirituality in Relationships

Live your life as an act of spiritual love.

This is the second post of advice from Opening To Love 365 Days A Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD. Reprinted with permission.

We must stop to observe ourselves before we make decisions or take action, in order to determine whether we were acting from a position of fear and our need to be in control, or from a place of love where we did what was right for everyone involved.

— Jim Britt


More and more people want the experience of spirituality in their lives. But what does that mean? The simplest definition makes it something you can experience every day. When you are conscious of other people’s lives having just as much value as yours, when you realize that everyone of us was created by the same Source, then you are in the expansive awareness called spiritual. Read More