A second marriage comes with unique challenges. We met after coming out of conflict-filled first marriages. The initial “eros” stage for us was like a “sigh of relief.” We shared interests in music, yoga, spirituality, and natural foods. In the area of work, Neal was beginning what would turn into ten years of public service, plus a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy along with Judy. Building on her training in massage therapy, Judy completed the five year training program in Core Energetics, a body-centered therapeutic method of personal growth and joined the faculty of the NY Institute of Core Energetics.
It was natural to “dampen down” our energy to minimize conflict in the early years of our second marriage. In retrospect, we were over-involved with our respective children’s lives – learning and therapeutic issues, after school activities, emerging sexuality, and preparation for college. We avoided facing some of the less appealing feelings we had in relation to each other, resulting in small hurts piling up. We resisted opening up and being vulnerable with each other.
As we were both committed to personal growth, we attended programs based on a variety of paradigms over the years including workshops on: Harville Hendrix’ highly nurturing and supportive Imago Therapy lead by Charlotte Bale Wolovsky, LCSW, and Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank, Partner Yoga with Ann Greene at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, couples work led by Reverend Bahira Sugarman, DCSW, and Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, PhD at the Elat Chayyim Retreat Center, and Deepening your Love with Kate & Joel Feldman at Kripalu. We also had the unique opportunity to have couples sessions with the Director of Education for the NY Institute of Core Energetics for teaching purposes in front of Judy’s post-graduate class and a year later in front of the entire Five Year Professional Training Program community.
Finally, we were invited along with two other couples (each of the wives were Core Energetics Practitioners) to attend the first year-long training in Exceptional Marriage Mentoring (EMM) led by co-founders
LCSW and Brian Gleason LCSW For us, EMM training was about recovering the balance from our focus on day-to-day living, and re-awakening to a sense of adventure in the way we relate emotionally, intellectually, and sexually. It was also about allowing for what the Gleasons call “full self-expression” within our marriage that expands on what we communicate to and with each other on a daily basis. We see this as an increasingly rich flowering of possibility in our relationship and we feel it simply as having a lot more fun. Today we are part of a growing community of Exceptional Marriage Mentors who are being trained by the Gleasons to work with and help other couples. We continue to do the work ourselves and look forward to working with couples interested in deepening their journey in a clearer direction of what may be shared in an “exceptional” marriage.