Love between Equals (Paperback)

Relationship as a Spiritual Path

By Polly Young-Eisendrath

Shambhala, 9781611804782, 240pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Learn how to successfully negotiate conflicts and deepen our most intimate relationships in this practical and thoughtful guide by an experienced Buddhist teacher, psychotherapist, and couples counselor. 
A committed relationship, as most people see it today, is a partnership of equals who share values and goals, a team united by love and dedicated to each other’s growth on every level. This contemporary model for coupledom requires real intention and work, and, more often than not, the traditional archetypes of relationships experienced by our parents and grandparents fail us or seem irrelevant. Utilizing the wisdom of her years of personal and professional practice, Young-Eisendrath dismantles our idealized projections about love, while revealing how mindfulness and communication can help us identify and honor the differences with our partners and strengthen our bonds. These practical and time-tested guidelines are rooted in sound understanding of modern psychology and offer concrete ideas and the necessary tools to reinforce and reinvigorate our deepest relationships.

About the Author

POLLY YOUNG-EISENDRATH, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and psychotherapist in private practice. She is the clinical associate professor of psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, and the founder and director of the Institute for Dialogue Therapy. She is past president of the Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies and a founding member of the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies. She is the chairperson of the Enlightening Conversations conferences, which bring together participants from the front lines of the interface between Buddhism and psychotherapy. She has published many chapters and articles, as well as sixteen books that have been translated into twenty languages, including The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance (Little, Brown, 2008).

Praise For Love between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path

“Imagine the wisdom of a long-term contemplative practitioner woven together with the insights and compassion of a psychoanalytically trained and deeply experienced couples therapist, tie these together with the broad knowledge of a caring and curious educator, and you’ll get a sense of the tapestry that is the colorful collage of Love between Equals.”—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, founder of the Mindsight Institute

“Intimate relationships are the householder’s monastery: a place to learn about oneness and connectivity with a special other. In the most successful relationships, that oneness and connectivity extends out to encompass all of creation. But for a relationship to be successful at that level, one must be willing to be affirmed and negated, expanded and contracted, allowed and limited over and over again. Young-Eisendrath is both a seasoned psychotherapist and a veteran contemplative adept. As such, she is ideally qualified to provide the information and inspiration you’ll need in order to achieve that noble goal.”—Shinzen Young, author of The Science of Enlightenment
“With razor-sharp clarity, depth, and compassion, Young-Eisendrath takes the reader on an illuminating journey into romantic love. Weaving together the insights of depth psychology, psychoanalysis, and Buddhist spirituality, she outlines a truly clarifying reflection on the nuts and bolts of sustainable partnership. Read this alone or with your partner. It is a gift to anyone who wants to live into the experience of mature love.”—Pilar Jennings, PhD, author of To Heal a Wounded Heart

Love between Equals brilliantly illuminates our most important adult developmental task—how to love and be loved. While the topic is ancient and ageless, our contemporary practice of choosing an equal partner commands a different approach to love—one that requires both spiritual and psychological development. Synthesizing the wisdom from psychoanalysis and Buddhist practice, Young-Eisendrath shows us how to skillfully work with our demanding self so that we may truly love our partner and our relationship.”—Roshi Grace Schireson, PhD

“Have you ever wondered why falling in love so rarely leads to lasting intimacy? Or why love between parents and children has grown ever more confusing in the age of psychotherapy? Answers to these troubling questions, and more, fill the pages of this masterful book by the analyst and relationship expert Polly Young-Eisendrath. Combining decades of clinical practice with her lifelong devotion to Buddhist dharma, Young-Eisendrath offers readers a brilliant roadmap to loving wisely and sustainably in the twenty-first century. Full of insight, humor, and practical advice, this is a must-read for anyone puzzled by love and intricacies of the human heart. I couldn’t put it down.”—Mark Matousek, author of Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery