When it comes to intimate relationships and parenting, it is considered that understanding between people is much more important than love itself.

Jeffrey Bernstein, a psychologist, has been counseling children, adolescents, couples and families for more than 30 years. According to him, love is not the most important thing in a relationship. Dr. Bernstein thinks that love in not enough. Even though many partners love each other, they got divorced, because they have never understood each other.


Namely, according to Dr. J. Bernstein, understanding between two people is more important for relationship viability than love. He supports his theory with an unhappy child / parent scenario:

”Some parents do never understand their children… and some children do never understand their parents, too. We tend to avoid people that we do not understand”.

Bernstein explains that a healthy love cannot rely only on love. In the given scenario, both the child and the parent(s) do not understand each other. In this case, the fact that the child loves his / her parents does not matter. This love is based on the deep biological imprint, not on the emotional response. This represents an unusual emotional relationship between a child and parent.

The theory that Dr. Bernstein tries to explain applies to intimate relationships, too.

From understanding to empathy

As time goes by, couples learn and work to understand each other’s needs. According to Dr. Bernstein, couples, who divorce, have experienced a breakdown in their understanding, also known as empathy. In other words, empathy is a strong form of understanding, which is crucial for an intimate relationship. When couples look back at failed intimate relationships or marriages, they explain that they just drifted apart.

However, Dr. Bernstein explains that these couples rely on their love rather than on their understanding in order to deal up with the challenges and difficult situations they come across. Therefore, the presence of love, but the lack of understanding may be the main reason why most couples divorce.
Checking the ego

Our ego is our need to feel superior, to feel right. It is obvious that ego hinders communication, blocks understanding and brings relationships to an end. Ego has not got a place in intimate relationships. Intimate relationships require vulnerability and trust in partners, something that Ego does not need. Ego hinders understanding between people who love and take care of each other.

In addition, Dr. Bernstein adds that empathy is a true emotion that holds intimate relationships together. It lets us slow down and think about our loved ones. All intimate relationships that are meant to thrive must emphasize understanding as much as love.

According to Dr. Bernstein, empathy and understanding are considered to be more important than love in parenting and intimate relationships. Even though many people do not agree with Dr. Bernstein, it is clear that the ability to understand may have potential implications on parenting and intimate relationships. By practicing empathy, people would be smarter – and relationships healthier. If you want to be understood, you first have to learn to understand others.