Marriage appears wonderfully endearing to the single person who has never married, and probably to the divorced person who hankers for one thing to arrest their longing for companionship or sexual release, but marriage for virtually all of us is quite a tough function at occasions. (And I can say this even as a representative of my wife!). We carry so much of ourselves into our marriages – which is the two a good and a undesirable issue.
We deliver in expectations of becoming ‘met’ by our partners: that they will satisfy us sexually, not devote also considerably funds, not seek to manage us, that they will want to devote time with us. We also bring in expectations of what our partners must bring to us: their virtues of diligence and moderation and sanctity and kindness – to title just four. We are disappointed when they don’t measure up to our previously unconscious expectations – that have now become conscious due to our encroaching annoyance.
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Balthasar Gracian wrote in his 17th century manual on success, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, as follows: “You are as much a real person as you are deep. As with the depths of a diamond, the interior is twice as important as the surface. There are people who are all facade, like a house left unfinished when the funds run out. They have the entrance of a palace but the inner rooms of a cottage.”
A good therapist can identify specific steps you can take for your individual situation to improve the areas that are weak in your marriage and to further strengthen those that are already working.
Another step you can take is to always find a way to resolve your conflicts. If you and your spouse allow yourselves to get affected by your fights and don’t talk it out to settle the issues, there’s a possibility that you will end up avoiding each other leading to estrangement. You don’t want that to happen, would you? So make a commitment together with your partner to solve your problems as soon as possible.
It probably appears that you two aren’t even compatible, so why stay married?. I want to challenge you with this idea: Your happiness in marriage is not based on weather or not you are compatible with your spouse. Therefore, it should not be a deciding factor as to weather your marriage will last or not.
So don’t buy into the lie; compatibility is not all that counts in making a happy marriage. A better thing to focus on, and develop are skills for conflict-resolving and communication. This will not only help you in your relationship with your spouse, but in all other relationships as well. And the development and refining of these skills will help to save your marriage from divorce.
Armed with this information, prepare yourself to do what needs to be done, with independent willpower and motivational courage. You are sure to become the better person for it as having higher level interpersonal communication and development skills for your relationship can seldom be a waste.
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Sex, You knew it had to be in the list. The lack of sex can result in a lot of contention for married couples. The fact is that sexual preferences are a very personal thing, and many people find that they are simply not as sexually interested as they perhaps assumed prior to marriage. Others unfortunately use the withholding of sex as a weapon against their mate – and this is ugly.
Marriage is not an easy undertaking, that’s why marriage conflict arises at times. But if you have truly found the right mate for you, it will make your time together more desirable and less marriage conflict will arise. So many people will wonder how do you know it’s the right person.
Instead, you should understand that happiness in your relationship comes from how you deal with incompatibility. This one essential skill is missing in so many marriages today and thus we are seeing marriages dissolve at an alarming rate. I know this idea is contrary to everything we hear and see around us. So much of the focus in our culture is about people finding compatibility with others.
And they lived happily ever after, Yeah right. Perhaps I’m a little bit jaded, since I work all day with couples in conflict. On the other hand, conflict comes to even the healthiest of marriages. It’s just that we seem so unprepared for how to handle conflict. We know in our heads that “happily ever after” is true only in stories and fairly tales, yet in our hearts we long for it to be true.
The difference is often that in good marriages the couples have found ways to successfully work through their conflicts, while for one reason or another the bad marriages haven’t. It’s sad to me to see a couple enter into a conflict, be unable to resolve it and then decide to bail on the marriage. It’s sad because if the couple were able to work through the issue, I know that they could be stronger than before the conflict.
The Big Six are the areas of communication, money, sex, children, in-laws and religion. Perhaps we should call it the Big Seven, and add the all important issue of who gets to hold the TV remote control. No kidding, I’ve actually had couples fighting over this issue. I’ve even had them fighting over the age old issue of how to hang the toilet paper roll, over or under.
For example, if I’m upset with my husband and I emotionally withdraw, he doesn’t have a clue why, but he will recognize my distance and his thoughts will begin to ponder “what’s wrong here?” If he is a peacemaker.
Love is an action, as in something you do. It is not a feeling. Feelings come and go, but your actions need to remain steady. Therefore, no matter what, even if you are angry, work on being kind and loving.
You would not consciously think and choose to do these things; they would all immediately and automatically happen because the hindbrain kicked into activity and went to work to make sure you survive.
There are lots of solutions to save a marriage, but you first have to realize what your particular problems are. Spend some time looking objectively at your marriage and try to come up with a solution to what you see as the real problems. Talk to your spouse about it, too. He or she may have unique ideas for solutions that you may not have considered.
What are the root causes of conflicts, tensions, arguments, misunderstandings, fights and the like between couples? Whatever causes you can think of, they all boil down to only one thing – Unfulfilled Expectations. Why do I say that? Let me explain.
Commitment in a marriage is a choice by one or both partners. Hopefully both will agree on this and always maintain that spirit. If communication has broken down and negative behaviors have crept in to the relationship then some work will need to be done in order to revive the marriage.
Here’s an example. Suppose I asked my husband to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work to pick up a few groceries. He forgets! I greet him at the door and discover him empty-handed. If fighting were my typical response, I would nag him about forgetting and accuse him of not caring about me. This would be a verbal attack, which is just one way of fighting. This is PEACE BREAKING.
If the problem in their relationship has gone on so long that one or both partners has totally given up and has their minds set on divorce, there’s a pretty good chance that no therapist will be able to help that relationship.
And, very importantly, must do it in a respectful way. In premarital counseling, I often say to couples, if something is bothering you in your marriage, you need to say something about it to your mate. Go ahead and complain. When you do, you’re being honest with your mate.
Conflicts often make couples feel bad particularly when they can’t meet halfway. Some can dwell on it for a long time to the point of giving them stress and depression although others can recover from their fight soon after they’ve expressed their views and emotions.