How do you guard against unhappiness in a marriage? How can you make a marriage work? What to do when you have difference with your partner or spouse?
Marriage tends to consume a great deal of time. It is an active procees requiring a lot of work from both the partners.
Getting caught up in the frenzy of life can distract partners from actively connecting with each other and lead to marital conflicts. If your concentration is to make every day activities perfect, it can lead you away from a healthy relationship. Exhausting yourself in your day to day work can take its toll on intimacy. Planning the day should always come second to enjoying time with your partner.
It's best to avoid absorbing yourself with making everything work perfectly, and to instead think about what would bring you closest to your partner throughout the day. What would keep you in the moment? What experiences could you and your loved one share that would be the most uniquely meaningful to the two of you?
It is imprtant to pay Attention to family dynamics. One of the greatest things about marriage is that it brings people together to celebrate love itself. However, it's not necessarily all joy and celebration throughout the process.
Parents or certain relatives can stir up old family dynamics that aren't always pleasant and may actually have been harmful to you while you were growing up. Jealous mothers, overprotective fathers, or critical step-parents can cause the partners distress on a day to day basis.
These dynamics can actually leave a person in a more childish state, perhaps overreacting emotionally to minor issues. Or you may start to put up your guard and relate to your partner in defensive ways or by an acting out pattern from your childhood. If you notice yourself changing the way you relate to your partner for the worse, this should be a red flag that something else might be stirring you up.
You must constantly be aware of stirred-up fears and emotions that can interfere with your relationship. Marriage is perhaps one of the most discomforting acts of adulthood. No matter how old they are, marriage often makes people feel like they are losing control. Not only is there the fear of saying goodbye to one's relationship with parents and other childhood support but there is also a fear of losing one's self through this act of commitment.
So, you must guard against stress taking over. The natural fears that arise, coupled with more superficial pressures to make everything perfect, can leave you in a high state of stress. There are practical concerns to consider on behalf of yourself and your spouse plus financial strains that can cause tension in your day-to-day life. Even as schedules fill up and task lists expand, it's essential to take time to simply enjoy being with your partner. Remember that being with him or her should be the most enjoyable part of the process of marriage.
Affective affirmation is the key to marriage happiness. Affective is letting your partner know that they’re special, and valued and that you don’t take them for granted.
Affective affirmation can be shown through words and actions. It is as simple as saying “I love you” or “You’re my best friend.” Affirmative behaviors can be anything from making tea in the morning for your partner to sending them a sexy email to taking them out for a romantic dinner.
Contrary to popular belief, men need more affective affirmation than women because women can get it from other people in their lives.
When I ask most couples whether they communicate they say that they do. But this communication is commonly what is known as “maintainence communication" which is mostly about how to carry out the daily chores, how to bring up the children, or how to deal with the in-laws. What is required is "meaningful communication" which means getting to know your partner’s inner world, and to understand what makes your partner tick and what you can do to make them happy.
The top marriage breakers are: constant bickering or quarelling, miscommunication, too much focus on household chores, jealousy, keeping secrets and not getting along with a partner’s family. It is important to “audit” your relationship regularly and consider the “costs and benefits.”
You must constantly be aware of insecurities that arise in a marriage.
The attention you get in a marriage can feel good. However, it can also cause you to feel critical of yourself or insecure. The pressure to look perfect and make everyone around you happy can weigh on you, leaving many self-critical thoughts to flood your mind.
You may have a tendency to experience "critical inner voices" that cast doubt on your self-esteem or cause you to feel uncertain about your partner. Marital jitters often result from critical picking apart of your partner.
You can combat this anxiety by paying attention to these thoughts, acknowledging when they arise, and disregarding them as an internal enemy undermining your real feelings of love and joy. Respond to these thoughts with a more realistic and compassionate point of view toward yourself or your partner. For example, remind yourself, "I do not need to be perfect. I just need to be myself. I am happy in my relationship and love my partner for real qualities that I deeply value."
Gaurd against the myths of marriage. Very often, a marriage is treated like a fairy tale -- "and they lived happily EVER AFTER!". Getting swept up in the fun of being married is one thing, but getting lost in fantasy is another. Couples should be careful not to place too much emphasis on what their maeeiage or their relationship looks like from the outside.
Throughout a relationship, it's important to pay attention to ways you may be forming a fantasy instead of experiencing your real feelings of love. The fantasy of a "Bond Forever" may alleviate anxiety that arises from losing the initial spark they had when they first fell in love or got married. But such a fantasy can prevent from from actively relating to your spouse, from being passionate, or spontaneous, and from having mutual respect for each other. It can make you take marriage for granted and from connecting with your partner on a dau to day bais.
The idea often associated with marriage, that two people can unify, is a faulty illusion. You can never truly merge identities with someone else, and attempting to do so is dangerous to both the people and the relationship. Instead, you should aim to respect, appreciate, and admire each other as autonomous individuals. In doing so, you will help ensure your marriage will last well beyond any ceremony or honeymoon period, and it offers you the best chance at a real-life version of "happily ever after."
It is a myth is that healthy couples don’t have conflict. Conflict is inevitable. In fact, if you aren’t having conflict, you aren’t talking about the important issues in your relationship.”
Another myth is that once you are married nothing can come in the way of your relationship. Every relationship gets into a rut, at some time or the other. This could be because it has become boring, routine, and tiring with nothing new to excite you about your partner or the marriage.
Website purpose: To promote public awareness about mental health
The contents of this site (docgautham.com) are for informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this site is or should be considered or used as a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard medical advice from your doctor or delay seeking it because of something you have read on the Internet.
Copyright 2010-2017 Dr. Gautham's Neuro Centre. All rights reserved. Site updated 15th March 2017.