It is a hotly debated topic: monogamy. Are men—and women—wired to be faithful, or are we expecting too much in our culture for unions to be true to one another’til death do us part?
Since I have been asked that question countless times as a veteran relationship therapist, I am delighted to read Marianne Brandons book, Monogamy: The Untold Story. Having taught about intimacy for years in my course at Columbia University Teachers College, and presented material about the dynamics of love and commitment in my classes and in many workshops around the world, I was exceptionally impressed with Brandons thorough and intelligent review of the factors that influence fidelity.
With academic accuracy, yet in a readable style, she reviews relevant theories about the impact of childhood experiences inherent in Freud s psychoanalytic view, reinforcements according to cognitive and behavioral approaches, role models that underlie social learning, family systems, and (one of my personal favorites) attachment theory, which describes how we are drawn to others.
This book presents one of the most comprehensive and valuable reviews of these theoretical bases for not only monogamy, but for attraction in general. Every professional and every couple in a relationship should read these chapters for an understanding of why they pick—and commit to—a partner.
Rarely is there such a depth of psychological theory in a book that also addresses what to do about keeping a relationship going. Indeed, it is this mixture that makes this book unique. In many subsequent chapters, Brandon addresses her readers directly as “gentlemen” and “ladies” as she describes many valuable activities that couples can do to keep monogamy passionate.
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