Harville Hendrix has become perhaps the leading expert on relationship -- finding and keeping the love in your life. In this transcribed excerpt from his workshop on "Finding and Keeping the Love You Want", Hendrix talks about how he came upon what has become his life's work.
I think that my interest in the subject we’re going to have tonight arises out of that correlation between relationship and frustration. It certainly has been true in my own relationships. I’m in a second marriage now for twelve years, having a first marriage of seventeen years, and I will have to say that when I ended my first marriage, I didn’t know why I was divorcing. I do know that I was in a quandary because at the time I was a professor in a university and was teaching a course, a graduate course, on marriage therapy.
In fact, the morning that I had gotten my divorce, which took about a minute and a half since we had no property and nothing to contest, I went to a graduate seminar an hour and a half later to teach a graduate seminar on advanced marital therapy. And I had this terrible feeling that when I walked into the room I would… this was in Texas… and I had this terrible feeling that I would have tomatoes or other objects thrown at me. But I discovered that instead of them being disappointed in me, is that they were curious about what it was like to get a divorce, which was an interesting curiosity, and then secondly they were interested in this correlation between marriage and frustration. The question was why do you think men and women have such a hard time relating to each other? Why do people in committed partnerships of all kinds have difficulty relating to each other? I had to say, which was the first time I had ever said it as a professor, I haven’t the foggiest notion about why men and women get so frustrated, but I do have this commitment and I made the commitment that day that from that day on, I was going to figure that out.
So what I want to share with you tonight is a little bit of that. This is a three-hour meeting and what we usually do is run 22-hour workshops where we get really into the work with couples and also with singles who are interested in relationships. Because it is a very complicated on the one hand, and very simple thing to state on the other hand, situation about what is happening in relationships that produces so little of the joy and the excitement that most of us want in a relationship and so much of the pain and so much of the frustration. So if you came here to think about that tonight then you came to the right place because that’s what I’m going to talk about. If you were here thinking about some other subject, then this is the wrong room.