02/14/2012 03:02 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2012

Love and Sex

Today, on our national day of love, it seems a timely moment to take a look at two primary issues in therapy, as well as two of the leading causes of divorce.

I'm talking about love and sex.

Over the years, I've come to view them the same way I view much of performance anxiety in my work with singers and speakers: as leaves on the branches of a tree with some very deep roots.

Given their underground nature, these roots run through all of the themes of our lives and relationships, no matter where and how they appear to leave the ground and present themselves to the world.

And they all start from a single seed.

In a nutshell (pun intended), problems with love and sex -- along with much of the anxiety and fear in our lives -- are almost always about control.

Indeed, so many of us walk into the world -- into our relationships, our marriages, and the bedroom -- determined to maintain a level of autonomy and self-protection, certain that it is wise to do so. That only a fool would truly surrender.

But it never works. This type of control is an illusion. It is a form of stinginess that prevents the very things people are determined to obtain... closeness, love, intimacy, connectedness...

... as well as great sex.

This "if, then" game of the heart insists that I'll give you what you want if and when you give me what I want. The problem is that no one wins. Ever.

Thankfully, there is another option. This Valentine's Day, look into the eyes and heart of your partner. Look into their hopes and dreams, and see within them the desires and determination that you also hold dear. See too the very same hurts and fears that you have been dealing with. If you look closely, you'll see that you're really not that different. You're both -- like most of us -- truly passionate people who are just trying their best to not be disappointed again.

You have a choice: to hold on to control and the power struggles they always bring, or to discover an entirely different realm of relationship. One where power is defined as the result of vulnerable communication, deepening trust, and the joyful surrender of any and everything that stands in the way of both.