Marriage appears wonderfully endearing to the single particular person who has never married, and possibly to the divorced individual who hankers for one thing to arrest their longing for companionship or sexual release, but marriage for nearly all of us is fairly a hard perform at occasions. (And I can say this even as a representative of my wife!). We carry so a lot of ourselves into our marriages – which is both a great and a bad point.
We deliver in expectations of becoming ‘met’ by our partners: that they will satisfy us sexually, not commit too much income, not seek out to manage us, that they will want to spend time with us. We also bring in expectations of what our partners must deliver to us: their virtues of diligence and moderation and sanctity and kindness – to identify just 4. We are disappointed when they don’t measure up to our previously unconscious expectations – that have now turn out to be conscious due to our encroaching annoyance.
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Finally, the Old Brain knows how to submit. Submitting, interestingly, can be a protective strategy. When a wolf challenges the head of the wolf pack for leadership, there is a terrific fight. Eventually, the losing wolf will roll over on his back an expose his neck to the conquering wolf. The conquering wolf will place his jaws around the submitting wolf’s neck, but won’t kill it.
They can’t figure out what to do differently. Most of the time people don’t know how to successfully communicate and productively solve problems together. This is one reason why 75% of all new marriages end up either in separation or divorce, or unhappily staying wed.
All of those are great questions, but ones that can’t be answered easily. However, if you wait to marry until you know each other better you can avoid a divorce. Marriage conflicts that are experienced when you are only a couple who is engaged can be taken on differently. You won’t need to worry about the stigma of divorce hanging over your head.
Marriage conflicts can be very stressful and tend to cloud someone’s thinking. A “neutral observer” has the opportunity to see things without the confusion of the emotional turmoil that is so common in a troubled marriage.
The shock shouldn’t be that you experience any conflict, but rather that you actually get along!. Why Couples Argue?, The primary reason couples have disagreements and/or arguments is that living together forces people to face their differences – differences that can become sources of irritation – if not outright contention – over time.
One thing almost no one knows about saving a marriage, is that conflict is good for your relationship. The one lesson I wish I had learned years ago is that conflict is an opportunity. It is one of the few ways to resolve differences, change people’s hearts rather than their circumstances, and bring two people closer together than they were before.
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Well of course you’ll have conflicts. You are two people coming from two families with two different backgrounds, personalities, interests, life aspirations, expectations, cultures, biases, prejudices (oh yes you do!), political perspectives, religious experiences, spending patterns, and soooo much more.
What keeps people in conflict? Too often the conflict has escalated to the point that conflict is the conflict. The trigger point of the disagreement has long been forgotten and suddenly the arguments bring unhealthy elements from the past or projections of future events, neither of which have any bearing on the original underlying issue.
Or “How can I turn this conflict into a success?”, you’ll find that your mind always feeds you with an answer. Remember, if you ask a dis-empowering question like this: “How I am supposed to adopt an attitude of hope in the middle of this chaos?” you’re mind will most likely tell you.
Even in the field of psychotherapy where the goal is often to understand and gain some control in regards to emotion, this is outside our choiceful or volitional control. We can learn to manage and understand and learn from our emotions; we cannot control them directly. Our Mid-Brain (the mammalian brain) is in charge of that.
One of the main areas a therapist can help a couple is in developing healthy and effective communication skills. It’s no secret that many problems in a relationship can be traced to communication issues. Teaching a couple to communicate effectively is one of the ways a marriage counselor can help.
I needed that 30 years ago not now” (The Old Brain does not distinguish between then and now). The Old Brain also does not say, “Sorry, wrong person. I needed that from my parents, not my partner” (The Old Brain constantly confuses parent and partner). When you get now what you needed then, the Old Brain says, “Yes, thank you.
Ideally, when a marriage faces a challenge, both husband and wife learn, grow, and if necessary admit faults & makes corrections. As a result the marriage bond tightens. The couple is more confident in their relationship. Since their marital conflict didn’t destroy them, they are more assured that when future challenges come, they can work through those too.
Not to leave you blinded or confused in any way by this powerful suggestion… the realistic challenge you are most likely to face is that YOU ALONE may be the fortunate follower of such smartly soothing companionship advice.
The problem comes when couples approach conflict as a win-lose situation, which makes it very difficult to reach a compromise. It’s simply human nature to want to be right, and so we approach resolving conflict from a right or wrong perspective.
Allow each other the opportunity to talk freely and listen genuinely without preconceived notions or becoming defensive. Do not anticipate what your partner would say and start thinking of a reply. Hear your partner out completely. Cultivate an environment where expressing feelings to one another is a positive experience.
Do you want some free advice to save your marriage? Take it from me. I have counseled countless couples whose marriages were on the rocks. The big picture is that to save your marriage YOU must change first before expecting your spouse to change.
It is also of great help to see what others have done to save their marriages, because, as surprising as it may seem, human beings are predictable, and it is not unusual for couples around the globe, from past and present, to have done the same mistakes over and over.
Look carefully at your role in the conflict. So often we will convince ourselves that it is the other person’s fault. We console and justify to ourselves that the conflict is 90 percent “their” fault. Begin by taking responsibility for the 10 percent of fault that is yours.