What is Love?

There is no single answer to that profound question. Nor should there be. When Barbara Graham sought deeper connection within her decades-long marriage, she discovered that love is not something we can find and make perfect: it's a mindset.

Photographs by Adam Gault

“So why are you here?” Twelve couples—many of us married, some living together or dating—are jammed into the living room of a house high up on a hill in northern California. It’s the first gathering of “A Path for Couples”—a workshop led by psychotherapist George Taylor that will meet monthly over the course of the next year. My heart pings anxiously in my chest as I listen to others answer the question posed by George, who goes by Geo.

“I need to learn to tolerate my partner’s negative emotions without freaking out,” offers a woman I judge to be in her mid-30s.

“I want to live in a state of connectedness, but we get stuck in endless power struggles,” says a man whose wife, sitting next to him, nods her head in agreement.

“There’s way too much conflict in our household,” a man in his 50s pipes up, “and it’s hell on the kids.”

I’m impressed by how open this collection of strangers is on Day One. Yet, listening to them I wonder if my husband, Hugh, and I have stumbled into the wrong group. Many of the other couples seem to be on a quest to manage conflict, while…


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About the author

Barbara Graham

Barbara Graham is an author, essayist, journalist and playwright. Barbara is the author/editor of the New York Times bestselling Eye of My Heart: 27 Women Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother, and author of Women Who Run with the Poodles: Myths and Tips for Honoring Your Mood Swings, and most recently Camp Paradox.

About the author

Tara Brach

Clinical psychologist Tara Brach is the author of True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. For guided meditations and talks, visit Tara Brach's website.