5 things that don’t work in marriage
THE Relationship Blog
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Recently, we saw this list of things you can do to stay married. The list was cluttered with low expectations, compromised dreams and a shitload of sad complacency. Let’s give you a hint: THAT DOESN’T WORK! Sitting around thinking that Mr. O.K. is more realistic than Mr. Right is the first step to a blah life. We don’t know of anybody who sets out to have a mediocre life. So here are the real things you can do to have a happy life with an amazing relationship.
1. Don’t compromise.
When we say this most people freak. This is what we have always learned, ‘Marriage is compromise’. Somewhere along the line we were told that this is a good thing since that makes everybody happy. Give up what you want and I give up what I want and then we do something neither of us wanted to start out. That is compromise. We say, don’t position yourself. Do it all. This black and white thinking is where compromise emerged and this way of being is extremely destructive. Since marriage is seen as a battlefield where you need to fight for what you want and be prepared to give up your dreams for something else, people are willing to give up on what they desire. CoupleDumb says that with some open communication, vulnerability and, most importantly, not taking things personally, you can learn to embrace all of your dreams. Let’s face it, if one of you wants to be an advocate against violence and the other secretly dreams of being a UFC fighter, it will not work.
2. The bed should not be the battlefield
So he/she was a jerk. It happens. Withholding affection, sex and love is tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot. Why would you choose to play out this game of punishment in the one place where the two of you are known to connect? ‘I’ll show him’ is childish and overdone in TV dramas. It isn’t healthy. Furthermore, you need to explore your need to punish. Do you feel like you are your spouse’s parent? Is this like a sex time out? Either way, this is a dysfunctional way of dealing with your problems akin to taking your ball and going home.
3. Keeping secrets
Many sites are saying it’s OK to keep secrets. They go on to explain that over sharing about your life or holding back from saying what is on your mind is OK. The problem is that these things are not secrets as much as impulsive utterances that should be filtered. Sure, we can say the nasty, mean and evil stuff that comes into our minds to remain honest and not withhold any communication; however, there are also the spouse’s feelings to take into consideration. Being a nicer person is not the same as keeping a secret. Keeping a secret is not healthy and can build a wall around you. You need to ask yourself two things when considering keeping a secret: Are you keeping the secret because you feel shame? Are you keeping the secret to save your spouse from feeling hurt? If you answered yes to the latter, we would encourage you to really look at rescuing and other victim triangle behaviors. Trust us, your spouse can handle a lot more than you think.
4. Taking separate vacations
Ain’t nothing wrong with hanging out with your boys/girls. Ain’t nothing wrong with doing your own thing. Where we see issues is when someone feels left out or the vacation is to get away from the spouse. Separate vacations should be a time to enjoy yourself. That should be the focus. If you are doing this to avoid your spouse or ‘take a breather’, that should be discussed.
5. Don’t try to change them
This topic is touchy because, as Americans , we hate the idea of someone telling us what to do. However, if we look at this clinically and not like an adolescent, we see that everyone evolves. We make changes naturally as a part of growing up and becoming the person we want to be. If you feel that you were evolved at the age of 20 something when you first married then mazel tov! However, if you believe that human beings grow and change throughout their lives you will see the absurdity of the statement ‘don’t try to change them’. They will change naturally. We also make changes to ourselves when we find that certain behaviors or ways of being stop us from being happy. For example: It was ultra cool to be the punk, disaffected chick in college but as a 45 year old wife and mother of 3 it’s kind of mean and sad. Evolving, shedding layers of attitude and trauma and stank and misconceptions and erroneous beliefs and dysfunctional behavior patterns is part of growing up and working towards self –actualization. Assisting your spouse with their journey and them with yours is part of marriage.
Sure, there are more stupid marriage advice items we could attack but for now, chew on those things. Mull them over and when you have figured stuff out, read them again. You’ll be happy you did.