3 min


Marriage education is helping men learn to support their wives through difficult challenges, even when they can't fix it.


by Seth Eisenberg

Roughly 37 million mammograms are done every year in the U.S. Today, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are scheduled to reveal their mammogram results on ABC’s The View (11/10c).

While the far majority of routine mammograms are negative, when results call for further exploration, the support of loved ones is especially important.

One of the concepts routinely explored in relationship and marriage education classes that are becoming increasingly popular among couples nationwide has to do with the difficulty some husbands have being supportive of their wives in situations that are beyond their control.  A positive result to an initial mammogram screening is a situation many couples face each year.

Faced with a positive mammogram screening result, a spouse might need to first consider if a “Love Knot” is preventing them from providing the friendship and comfort vital to supporting a loved one through the often anxious, difficult process. “Love Knots” refer to hidden expectations and assumptions that can sabotage love relationships.

Love Knot

“If you are in pain, I believe I should be able to fix it. I don’t know how to fix it, so I feel inadequate. I get angry with you for making me feel inadequate. I withdraw from you and blame you for being in pain.”


“When you are in pain, I can be supportive without believing I have to provide a solution. I can listen, empathize, and acknowledge what you say. I will respect and honor your feelings as well as your ability to ask for what you want.”

Relationship and marriage education classes are a valuable opportunity for couples to deepen communication, empathy, compassion, emotional understanding, and constructive problem-solving. Especially during periods of crisis and challenge, the practical skills regularly provide the foundation for ensuring the greatest opportunities for health and happiness.

Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.

Additional Resources

PAIRS Foundation

California Healthy Marriage Coalition

National Healthy Marriage Resource Center

National Cancer Institute