It is real life. During my early workshops, I used to say that couples can resolve virtually any problem by holding a weekly Marriage Meeting. One wife present who been married for 50 years, blurted out: His good news, though, is that many problems can be managed.
Simply put, it is not the presence of conflict that stresses the relationship; it is the manner in which the couple responds. Positive, respectful communication about differences help keep a marriage thriving. Here is what I actually meant when I said couples can resolve virtually any problem by conducting Marriage Meetings: The process results in the ability to minimize or manage conflicts that may not be resolvable. Here are a few examples of non-resolvable conflicts that you can probably learn to live with, assuming the two of you get along well most of the time:. How can you accept quirks and habits of your partner that have been bothering you for some time despite your efforts to change unwanted behavior?
Look at the big picture. All in all, are you glad to be married to this person? If yes, do you want to keep carping and become a source of irritation to your spouse, or do you want a happy marriage? Certainly, you may address some of these concerns during Marriage Meetings. Even if neither partner is likely to change very much about what irks you, both of you will get to express yourselves constructively.
You can expect to feel heard and understood.
The con behind every wedding | Life and style | The Guardian
You may get small improvements. If you a situation is coming up soon in which you want your partner to behave in a certain way, this is a good time to ask for that. Lew has told Ellie he would like her to be on time for a specific event. You can do the same regarding something that is bothering you about your partner. Focus your comments on something fairly easy to change, especially during your first four to six Marriage Meetings.
Character traits are not likely to change, at least not without a great deal of effort. Lew did not ask Ellie to start being on time regularly. That would have been unrealistic. Her habitual lateness is too entrenched. He is learning to live with that. He appreciates Ellie for putting up with his forgetfulness and for finding ways to work around it. Lew is minimizing their conflict by managing it. He is encouraging his wife to be on time when it really matters to him. He does this when he has her full attention during their Marriage Meeting.
Is this a big enough deal to make a fuss about? If you can succeed, great. If not, ask yourself:.
DEBUNKING MARRIAGE MYTHS
You can find out whether a non-resolvable conflict is manageable by talking about it directly, like Alan and Cathy did about the saved oatmeal in the previous chapter. They managed a non-resolvable conflict by agreeing that she would leave his oatmeal alone as long as it looked fit to eat.
They resolved the immediate oatmeal problem, but a non-resolvable conflict remains. They will continue to have differences about how much clutter each thinks is okay to keep around. This conflict will not be a deal-breaker, as long as they continue to come up with respectful ways to handle their differences about clutter.
Maybe your partner will agree to change. Just understand that our basic nature and character traits are likely to remain the same. However, behaviors that have not become habits are fairly easy to change—if the person wants to. You may have heard the joke: Just one—but the light bulb needs to want to change. Longstanding habits take more effort and time to change. If your spouse agrees to change one, be glad. When your partner makes an effort, let the compliments flow anytime, and especially during the Appreciation part of your Marriage Meeting.
If you see no progress, and you think your partner will accept a gentle reminder, offer it during Problems and Challenges. What if the change still does not happen? As Rabbi Joseph Richards said, People are annoying. So find the person who annoys you least and marry that one! Still, it can be life-saving to recognize when a conflict is severe enough to cause a couple to end their marriage.
Here are some examples of conflicts that are deal-breakers for many couples:. If you and your partner are willing to hold Marriage Meetings, first conduct several low-key ones with plenty of appreciation. Keep the early meetings positive and light. If you are able to establish a pattern of successful meetings, after four to six of them, you can bring up a serious concern.
This may sound like a long time to wait, but if you are seeing a therapist, you have a place to talk about serious issues. Use the positive communication skills described in Chapter 8. Virginia and Cliff, an unmarried couple, illustrate an unresolvable conflict that is probably a deal-breaker. Virginia, an attractive business executive with a six-figure income, fell in love almost instantly with Cliff, a charming, talented artist.
Thinking he was kind, honest, and financially solvent, she let him move into her home soon after they met. Meanwhile, Virginia was paying all the bills because it turned out that Cliff had no money. During an early couple therapy session, Cliff proclaimed his love for Virginia and resolved to stop contacting the other woman.
Contrite, Cliff again told Virginia how much he loved her and promised once more to end the other relationship. A few weeks later, Virginia discovered an email in which Cliff had written to the woman: He has partially convinced her that her hurt and anger are unreasonable, that he is innocent and she is the one with the problem.
Giving credence to her feelings would make it too difficult for him to continue justifying the other relationship. Is Cliff the villain in this drama? It would be easy to think so. She quickly committed to an intimate a relationship with Cliff, before knowing some important things about him that were at odds with her fantasy. Now she is in the heartbreaking position of being emotionally bonded to him, yet furious because he refuses to fit the mold she has shaped.
Virginia still hopes her relationship with Cliff will improve. So far, she has not recognized that their different approaches to fidelity are a deal-breaker. He is splitting his emotions between two women and will never be likely to commit only to her. His behavior is not conducive to a monogamous relationship, which is what she needs to be happy.
‘I don’t think we’ll ever have sex again’: our happy, cuddly, celibate marriage
Most partners would refuse to tolerate his continuing infidelity. How do you know when you are closing your eyes to a sensitive issue because you want to keep your relationship pleasant? If you are not conscious of what is wrong, how can you do anything about it? You can become aware that something may be amiss in your relationship by noticing changes that occur in your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and bodily sensations. You may feel unappreciated and unloved.
Try to understand what these changes mean. If you realize that a conflict exists, think about how to deal with it constructively. As described earlier in this chapter, Lilly unconsciously blamed her husband Jonathan both for feeling trapped at home with her child and for being unreasonably critical about her spending. She noticed that her chest tightened when he expressed disapproval of her for buying something he considered unnecessary and when he would move toward her in bed.
She had lost interest in having sex. Lilly might have saved her marriage by asking herself these questions: What am I unhappy about in our relationship? What am I unhappy about in my life?
The affair that saved our marriage
After coming up with answers to these questions, Lilly could have decided to have an honest, constructive conversation with her husband about her real feelings, wants and needs. The couple then would have had the opportunity to do the kind of creative problem solving that can lead to a solution that satisfies both partners. Singles who want to get married are often advised to make a list of ten characteristics they are looking for in a mate. If you are married to someone who meets your basic requirements for a life partner, be grateful.
But that is just the beginning. Love can grow or fade. If you want to maintain that loving feeling, it is mainly up to you. A simple way to keep your relationship on track and the love flowing is to commit to maintaining it with weekly Marriage Meetings that cover all the basics. It would be nice to be able to say that with the right tools and help, every committed relationship can become a lasting, successful one. But this is not true. Some relationships are doomed to fail because the couple got together for the wrong reasons.
They did not recognize an unresolvable conflict that would become a deal-breaker, like when Virginia let Cliff move in to her place before knowing that his definition of fidelity was different from hers.
- The con behind every wedding;
- DEBUNKING MARRIAGE MYTHS — Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW.
When disagreement exists about a strongly held value, no amount of Marriage Meetings or couples therapy will assure a successful relationship. Given all the challenges marriages face, how do I have the chutzpah to use the word, Guarantee , in the title of this book? First, I begin with the assumption that marriage partners take their vows seriously.
They sincerely want to create and keep a fulfilling relationship for themselves and their partner. Marriage partners who take their vows seriously know that marriage is a journey, not a destination. Guarantees come with stipulations. Typically, a guarantee applies when the product is used as directed. By reading this book, you will know how to invest a small amount of time each week to continually create a reality-based fulfilling relationship that supports the growth and vitality of both your partner and yourself.
Because most of us are human, not saints, we are naturally selfish. Our challenge is to set a higher priority on the success of our relationship than on replaying less-than-healthy, entrenched patterns that provide a familiar sense of comfort. Rather than entering into a win-lose power struggle with your partner, strive to respect both of your rights to have different perspectives on an issue.
Successful weekly Marriage Meetings can reduce or eliminate the need for therapy and counseling. However, the meetings alone are not a cure-all for every relationship. Some situations call out for assistance from a compassionate skilled, professional who can help you identify and resolve or manage issues that continue to fester. My guarantee is evidence based. About half of the couples who attend my Marriage Meeting workshops continued to hold the meetings afterwards. A follow-up survey showed that every one of these couples reported a happier, more loving relationship.
When you find yourself stewing about something that is at odds with your view of a good marriage, dig inside to discover whether you are tuning into fact or fiction. You may be listening to a marriage myth channel. Once you clear up your thinking, you are on your way to the kind of marriage you really want— a happy, fulfilling one that lets each of you be who you really are, and with room to grow. I so agree with you. I especially relate to numbers 3 and 7. I remind myself all the time that my husband is not a mind-reader. Communication is SO dang hard!!
Even after maybe especially after 17 years of marriage. And as for number 7, we love each other but need our outside interests too. Sometimes time with my girlfriends is as desirable as a date night! Good luck with the book — looks great so far! Learn how to meet your potential partner, date successfully, overcome obstacles, and create a lasting, fulfilling relationship. Meet the Author Video Available Now!
Destructive Marriage Myths A good marriage has no problems. My spouse should know how I feel and what I want: In a good marriage, all problems get resolved. Other misconceptions may be born closer to home — inside our own families. If your parents constantly clashed with your grandparents and made comments condemning all in-laws, you might expect to quarrel with yours. The problem with myths is that when we mistake them for facts, they can potentially hamper our partnerships.
Your true love will automatically know what to say and do to make you happy. Communication also is key when couples experience conflict or disconnection. Again, couples must learn to express their feelings and be honest. She suggested couples establish their own sense of marital culture before getting married. In other words, talk about what marriage looks like for you. When couples are trying to make big lifestyle decisions, such as whether to have kids, going along with the common or traditional path — without considering their needs and beliefs — only leads to problems.
Some of these fault lines produce catastrophic marital earthquakes that no one seemed to see coming. For instance, according to Miller, partners may disagree on their style of parenting. One spouse may become jealous if their child always turns to the other spouse for support.
Can you help me understand? Can you take me where you are? These kinds of conversations give couples the opportunity to connect and get to know each other, he said. According to Moral, each of us enters into marriage with different expectations, needs, fears and experiences from our families or past relationships. This also erodes trust and triggers feelings of contempt, she said.
Related Myth Behind Every Marriage
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