Passionate Marriage

David Schnarch

Passionate Marriage



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Passionate Marriage, which is widely considered a pioneer in the exploration of marital relationships, analyses the ways in which we can maintain not only love, but also passion, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction in a long-term relationship. This book is aimed at helping both partners understand the concept of differentiation, whereby each person in the couple is deeply connected to the other, while still remaining an individual in their own right and with a clear sense of self. Psychologist and sex therapist David Schnarch shares the tips, secrets, and ‘connection tools’ to make a marriage work, where both partners choose the other every day, but without becoming too dependent on each other.

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Analysis and key concepts


Excessive ‘emotional fusion’ is at the root of many problems in a couple


The key to a successful relationship is differentiation, in other words, the meeting point between ‘alone’ and ‘together’


If we ‘stick together’, we will never forget who we are


Differentiation in intimacy: we have to validate ourselves before seeking validation from our partner


Sensual and emotional stimulation allow a couple to reach their highest sexual potential


Hugging relaxes us, and looking into each other’s eyes connects us physically and emotionally


Making choices is often painful, but inevitable if we want to grow as people and allow our relationship to evolve




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn more about marriage and marital sex.
  • Explore the concept of differentiation, which has nothing to do with selfishness.
  • Discover how to stay connected to ourselves and our partner, and how to choose each other every day.

David Schnarch (1946-2020) was a respected American psychologist and sex therapist. He was a former professor of urology at Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans, and later moved with his wife and daughter to Evergreen, Colorado, where he ran the Marriage and Family Health Center for many years. His widely recognised work on intimate and sexual satisfaction in married couples focuses on the concept of self-differentiation. His best-known books on the subject are Passionate Marriage, Constructing the Sexual Crucible, and Resurrecting Sex.

Publishing house:

W.W. Norton & Company