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9 most overlooked threats to a marriage

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by capslocked, Sep 7, 2015.

    • 1. We marry people because we like who they are
      People change. Plan on it. Don't marry someone because of who they are, or whoyou want them to become. Please or Register to view links. And then spend a lifetime joining them in their becoming, as they join you in yours.
    • 2. Marriage doesn't take away our loneliness
      To be alive is to be lonely. It's the human condition. Marriage doesn't change the human condition. It can't make us completely unlonely. And when it doesn't, we blame our partner for doing something wrong, or we go searching for companionship elsewhere. Please or Register to view links and, in the sharing, create moments in which the loneliness dissipates. For a little while.
    • 3. Shame baggage. Yes, we all carry it
      We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn't exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, Please or Register to view links. And then we demand they fix it. But the truth is, they didn't create it and they can't fix it. Please or Register to view links, in which we work to heal our own shame. So we can stop transferring it to the ones we love.
    • 4. Ego wins
      We've all got one. We came by it honestly. Probably sometime around the fourth grade when kids started to be jerks to us. Maybe earlier if our family members were jerks first. The ego was a good thing. It kept us safe from the emotional slings and arrows. Please or Register to view links. It's time for it to come down. By practicing openness instead of defensiveness, forgiveness instead of vengeance, apology instead of blame, Please or Register to view links, and grace instead of power.
    • 5. Life is messy and marriage is life
      So marriage is messy, too. But when things stop working perfectly, we start blaming our partner for the snags. We add unnecessary mess to the already inescapable mess of life and love. Please or Register to view links. And then we can walk into, and through, the mess of life together. Blameless and shameless.
    • 6. Empathy is hard
      By its very nature, empathy cannot happen simultaneously between two people. One partner must always go first, and there's no guarantee of reciprocation. It takes risk. It's a sacrifice. So most of us wait for our partner to go first. Please or Register to view links. And when one partner actually does take the empathy plunge, it's almost always a belly flop. The truth is, the people we love are fallible human beings and they will never be the perfect mirror we desire. Can we love them anyway, by taking the empathy plunge ourselves?
    • 7. We care more about our children than about the one who helped us make them
      Our kids should never be more important than our marriage, and they should never be less important. If they're more important, the little rascals will sense it and use it and drive wedges. If they're less important, they'll act out until they are given priority. Family is about the constant, on-going work of finding the balance.
    • 8. The hidden power struggle
      Most conflict in marriage is at least in part a negotiation around the level of interconnectedness between lovers. Men usually want less. Women usually want more. Sometimes, those roles are reversed. Regardless, when you read between the lines of most fights, this is the question you find: Please or Register to view links If we don't ask that question explicitly, we'll fight about it implicitly. Forever.
    • 9. We don't know how to maintain interest in one thing or one person anymore
      We live in a world pulling our attention in a million different directions. The practice of meditation — attending to one thing and then returning our attention to it when we become distracted, over and over and over again — is an essential art. When we are constantly encouraged to attend to the shiny surface of things and to move on when we get a little bored, Please or Register to view links. And it is absolutely essential if any marriage is to survive and thrive.

      As a therapist, I can teach a couple how to communicate in an hour. It's not complicated. But dealing with the troublemakers who started the fight? Well, that takes a lifetime.

      And yet.

      It's a lifetime that forms us into people who are becoming ever more loving versions of ourselves, who can bëâr the weight of loneliness, who have released the weight of shame, who have traded in walls for bridges, who have embraced the mess of being alive, who risk empathy and forgive disappointments, who love everyone with equal fervor, who give and take and compromise, and who have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of presence and awareness and attentiveness.

      And that's a lifetime worth fighting for

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