Dr Colm O’Connor, a clinical psychologist and couples therapist, has for over twenty years explored the emotional lives of couples and researched hundreds of cases of couples in distress. Looking beneath the surface of everyday complaints, The Courage to Love reveals those insights and shows how we seek solutions to life’s most essential questions in close relationships. It answers common questions that we often ask such as: ‘Why do we constantly argue about trivial things?’ ‘Why do we have to win an argument at all?’ ‘Why is it that we often forget what it is we end up fighting about?’ ‘How is it that love can deteriorate into abuse?’ In answering these kinds of questions, Dr O’Connor shows what is ultimately at stake for people in winning an argument, starting a fight, proving a point, triumphing in divorce, or abusing a lover, and presents a range of solutions that are not about how to control relationships but how to inhabit them. Painting a dramatic portrait of love as a heroic response to human vulnerability, The Courage to Love shines new light on how relationship breakdown happens and provides a guide for getting back on track.
I must acknowledge the seminal work of anthropologist Ernest Becker. Those familiar with his writings will see his influence throughout this book. Becker’s commentaries on life and death provide a compelling counterpoint to the
Love is a passionate reflex of death. We love precisely because of death. Things are beautiful because of their transience—because they come to pass. Romantic passion is the urge to live in the face of death.