Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_TopicIcon
Essential Marriage Secrets (Article)
March 4, 2007
5:37 am
Avatar
Zinnie
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I came across this article this evening and thought I would share. Very interesting and insightful.

A 30-Minute Marriage-Saver

To feel loved and nurtured, we must believe deep down that our partner is really there for us. That sounds simple, but it's far more complicated than most couples realize. Although Sally and Gary insisted that they were being attentive, they had difficulty being empathetic. That's significant: Marital researchers have found that couples who help each other weather stressful situations outside the marriage have stronger, happier relationships than those who can't.

The key is empathy. Empathy isn't the same as sympathy or pity. It means being able to put yourself in another's position, to feel what they feel and see what they see, without losing yourself in the process. And it means you do all that even though you may disagree with a partner's perception, opinions, or feelings. Take 30 minutes a day, at a time that works best for both of you, to empathize with the stresses and strains you are each experiencing in other areas of your life. It can make a difference between a marriage that succeeds and one that fails. Consider:

Empathy Don'ts

Don't stonewall (ignore what a partner is saying).

Don't minimize a spouse's concerns: "What's the big deal?" "You're always so sensitive!"

Don't rush to fix the problem: "Well, if I were you I'd..." or "You should have..."

Many people mistakenly believe that downplaying worries or offering advice is helpful. In fact, pat reassurances often magnify negative feelings, since they force a person to try even harder to feel acknowledged. Women especially resent a partner's interruption with solutions, preferring instead to simply vent and know that someone is really listening.

Empathy Dos

Do pay attention. Set aside the newspaper or catalog and turn off the TV when your partner is talking. An occasional uh-huh or nod of the head indicates you haven't zoned out.

Do validate feelings. "He gave that special assignment to the new recruit? I can see why you're annoyed."

Do ask questions with genuine interest. Make sure your partner knows you heard what he or she has said. "So how did you respond to him?"

Do respond with affection, understanding, and support: "I'm really sorry you have to put up with that." "Oh, sweetheart, that could happen to anyone. Don't be so hard on yourself."

Do show support. Take your spouse's side. "I think your boss went a little overboard, too," is appropriate. "Well, you shouldn't have been late in the first place" isn't.

Rules for a Fair Fight

Before any couple can even begin to solve their problems, they have to learn how to use their anger constructively. How can anger be constructive? Use it to explore the underlying causes of your disagreements, and you'll find ways to address both of your needs.

If bickering punctuates your days; if arguments escalate quickly until you're both shouting things you later regret; or if you too often smile through gritted teeth while your stomach is roiling like an ocean in a hurricane, the following rules can help you defuse the rage and focus your energies on practical strategies for change. Make a promise to:

1. Remind yourself that it is okay to be angry, and don't feel guilty about having those angry feelings. Women, especially, grow up believing that it is unladylike and bitchy to express any negative feelings. Better to suppress anger, they're taught, than express it. But there are times when anger is legitimate and those occasions must be recognized and addressed. Once you do that, you'll be in a stronger position to say how you honestly feel and find a path for change.

2. Understand that although you disagree, you are not enemies. No matter how much people love each other, differences will eventually trigger conflict. Fighting fair means you will not attack each other -- physically or verbally. Name-calling, cursing, screaming, or blaming are verboten. So, is threatening separation or divorce.

3. Never use something that has been previously told to you in confidence as a weapon in an argument. When you do, you betray the trust your spouse has placed in you, and make it harder for your partner to feel emotionally safe in the marriage.

4. Never walk out of the room until you either both agree that an argument is over or have decided to table the problem and chosen a specific time to bring it up again.

5. Acknowledge each other's feelings and perceptions, without judgment or criticism. There's no "right" way to feel, and there will be times in every marriage that you simply will not agree. But you should always make the effort to unravel what is troubling your partner and show genuine caring for and awareness of his or her emotional experience. Phrases such as "I never thought of that" or "Tell me more about what you're thinking" will help you break out of an anger stalemate.

Getting your partner to open up/opening up to your partner:

Understand the silences. It can be hurtful and infuriating to try to talk to a man and feel as if you're talking to the wall. But while women often find silence uncomfortable, men find solace in it. What's more, we often read into a partner's silence our own desires, fears, and past experiences. If your parents endured long icy periods when they were angry and didn't speak, you may infer that your husband's lack of response means he's upset with you. His silence may simply mean he really has nothing particular on his mind. Similarly, a man whose father left the office behind when he walked in the door may believe it's inappropriate to talk about business issues or problems at home. Many men have reported that they don't tell their wives things because they don't want to worry them. That protectiveness, however, may be misinterpreted as lack of interest. Also, when he talks to others but not to you, it may be because he views having to make conversation and relay factual information as work. At home, he wants to relax. And that may mean sinking into his own thoughts or reverie.

Ask directly for what you need. Men and women have different definitions of the word "communication." Men problem-solve, often silently. They proceed directly from Step 1 ("Here's the issue") to Step 3 ("Do this"). Of course, you believe in Step 2: bouncing suggestions and possibilities around before coming to a solution. If your man is not the bouncing type, try presenting a specific agenda: "I'd like to talk about Jake's terrible behavior lately" or "We need to figure out how we're going to handle Amanda's ballet practices during the school week."

Phrase your questions to provoke responses. "How was your day?" won't jump-start a conversation. He may just say "fine" or "terrible." "Tell me about your presentation to that new client" might engage him more fully.

Learn to argue constructively. Many men are afraid to say anything because past experience has taught them that they'll be criticized or blamed for past crimes and misdemeanors.

Give him the floor. He may have learned to disengage as soon as you start talking, which makes you talk even more. Someone has to break the cycle; try counting to yourself if he's silent, or give him a friendly look to encourage him to respond.

Appreciate the silences. More likely than not, your spouse will never be as loquacious as your best friend. And you probably don't want him to be, either. So learn to listen to the silence. When he takes you in his arms for a long hug, shares in a joyful whoop with you when your son scores his first hockey goal, or reaches for your hand as you ride in the car, he may be saying a great deal.

Pick the right moment. You prefer talking when you get into bed because it's the first time all day you can relax; your husband falls asleep the minute his head hits the pillow. You like chatting over morning coffee, his brain doesn't get in gear until an hour later. Men often feel ambushed and tend to clam up unless they have a say in the timing of talks. They may also feel cornered when the whole agenda of your conversation is "the problem." If you try raising issues while doing an activity (playing backgammon, cooking a special dinner, or gardening), the talk will flow more easily. Another tactic: Ask him to come to you when he's ready to talk. You might try saying: "We don't have to discuss this right now, but I really want to understand what you're thinking about our moving to a bigger house. Talk to me when you're ready."

I hope those of you that read this found it as interesting and helpful as I did.

Good luck to all,

Z.

March 4, 2007
8:00 am
Avatar
Rasputin
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: 0
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks (((Z))) for this lovely, informative and smart article!!!

March 4, 2007
8:52 am
Avatar
Zinnie
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

For me - somehow both my husband and I do #5, although we have no idea WHY as neither of us had parents that were able to do such a thing during their marriages - both of which ended in divorce.

Both of us are able to step back and say calmly "I am really angry right now, and I do NOT want to even discuss anything until I have calmed down."

That being said, we are generally able to walk away to seperate parts of the house until we have calmed down enough to settle things calmly.

I hope this helps!

Z.

March 4, 2007
12:10 pm
Avatar
bonni
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I got stuck at the part that said both partners had to believe the other was there for them. how can i believe that when he has to put the military first? how can i rely on him when the fact is that he won't be there for me? sure, he wants to and I have no choice but to be there for him and when i think about it too much, i really just want to die. i know i can't because then our kids will have no one and i won't abandon them. we are each ultimately alone, aren't we? marriage provides some temporary, fleeting companionship and security. we were such good partners before this stupid war. i did love him. now, i'm just a wife and mother, two things i never really wanted to be.

bonni

March 4, 2007
12:26 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

(((bonni)))

Zinnie,

Thank you for printing this article.

Unfortunately in my case..it is preaching to the choir.

Everything in the article is everything that is wrong with my relationship. I have tried my damnest to practice these principles but when your partner is unwilling to do the same.....???

Sometimes it seems like violating Rule #2 of Fighting Fair (ie. threatening ending the relationship) is the only way to go.

I wish he would read this article 🙁

Thanks again....even if he wouldn't....I appreciate it.

Lolli

March 4, 2007
4:26 pm
Avatar
Zinnie
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Bonni,

I am assuming your husband is active duty? If so, is he deployed and are you living on base? Would it help do you think if you became involved in some type of "support group" for the spouses? My Dad was Career Navy, served during Korea and Vietnam. We lived on base, and I do seem to remember as a kid my Mom was involved with some kind of a group when my Dad was deployed. I wish I could ask her more about it, but, sadly she passed away last year.

Have you tried talking to a counselor about the way you are feeling? It sounds like you are really down in the dumps over this - and for that I am so very sorry. I am more than willing to lend an ear if you like.

(((Lolli)))

If I remember correctly, you are not married right? If that is the case, are you actively working on correcting the relationship? If as you say you are "preaching to the choir" - and the "only way to go" is to threaten to end the relationship - this is not healthy.

What do you think?

Z.

March 4, 2007
4:34 pm
Avatar
bonni
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Zinnie,
My husband is in the guard. he's been back from iraq for over a year. he's away this weekend. I always struggle with the weekends, but the year of deployment pushed me over the edge. the first deployment was only 9 months, but this last one was over a year and it was just too much. most active military wives don't really understand because they knew when they got married that this was the deal. i should have realized this, I guess, but i didn't. I thought we would be equal partners, but we aren't. we were. we were equal and we shared, but now i'm the wife whose needs are not equal to his. i have to defer my dreams so that I can be available for single parenthood. No phd program for me. I work full time and we have two girls, there's no time left for me. I have to keep the house and the kids and support our family. he just does what he's told. he tries, he really tries, but that's not much comfort to me now that I know that I can't do the one thing i've always wanted. if i had known he wasn't going to be here, at least we wouldn't have had kids. you know? I thought he was going to be the primary caregiver. now, I am. i'm bitter because i feel trapped and with no way out. i do love my kids, i just wanted to have a life of my own too.

bonni

March 4, 2007
4:54 pm
Avatar
Zinnie
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Bonni,

The wonderful thing about Ph.D's? You can complete them at any time. The wonderful thing about children? They grow up and need you less and less, giving you some more time for yourself.

My husband was already out of the Military when we got married, so I cannot compare any experiences with you there. But, he did travel a lot when we first got married. I think in my case I have always had such an independent streak that it was not hard for me to accept and understand his traveling. The kids also understood that the traveling for him was just part of life and they accepted it.

How old are your children? How much more do you need to complete for your Ph.D, and in what subject? Can it be something that you are working on at least the written parts now perhaps once the kids are asleep? Do you know when and if your husband will not only be deployed again, but, how much longer does he have in the Guard? Is there a chance he can get out? Or are you relying on the money and benefits that he receives? Have you checked into any kind of programs for assistance you might be available for youself? Such as - grants and scholarships that you might qualify for as a woman with children and a military husband on active deployment. Go to your local library and check out some of the information books by Matthew Lesko - he has some great information in there that you might find helpful.

Lastly, have you thought about going to counseling to deal with your feelings of lonliness?

Z.

March 4, 2007
5:07 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Zinnie...you are correct on all counts. I am not married and no, it is not healthy. 🙁

March 4, 2007
6:48 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Great article! ((Z))

March 4, 2007
7:40 pm
Avatar
Guest
Guests

Thanks for this, Zinnie -- another keeper :o)

(((bonni))) and (((lolli)))

March 5, 2007
6:16 pm
Avatar
bonni
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Zinnie,
I was just starting to dabble into classes when he was deployed. While he was gone, I audited a class. I tried to take a class this fall, but there just wasn't room in the schedule to do the work, as I got into a leadership development program that had a heavy time commitment. Most of those women have phds already (and I got in without one)

As to area of study, I just don't know. I like so much that I don't have a narrow focus on anything yet. My two other degrees are in widely varying fields. None of it will enhance my income earning potential, which makes it a frivolous undertaking, still it has been my dream my whole life.

I have always been very independent. The problem lies mostly in the childrearing. The kids require alot of work, time and attention. I have a high stress job that I enjoy. When he's here, we share. If I have a meeting, he stays home with the sick child. If I need to travel for business, he's here. When he's gone, I have to miss important meetings and I can't travel, which makes me frustrated, because I want to do well at work.

As for his future, the next deployment appears to be 18 months out. He is trying to get himself in a position to get out and into a good job outside the military, but he doesn't have a degree, so he's at a disadvantage. He has aspirations, but not dreams. He loves his family and is an excellent father. Except for the military obligation, he's a great partner. The thing is that its not just one weekend a month anymore. Its also a year or more at a time. Having a father is very important for adolescent girls. I feel like I've failed my daughters because I got them a dad who won't be here when they need him. One is entering puberty and the other is only a few years behind her.

when he was gone on his first deployment, I had one really bad night, I called him, woke him up and he was there for me. This time, I had alot of bad nights. He wasn't there for any of them. When I needed him, he wasn't there. Its not about being lonely or independent. Its about him forsaking me for the military and my not being willing to trust him again with my heart, and living with bitterness and resentment. How do i let go of those negative emotions and still protect myself from him deceiving me again. I see the wall crumbling and I have to rebuild it, because I dont ever want to fall again and find out the safety net isn't there.

bonni

March 5, 2007
8:22 pm
Avatar
truthBtold
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

In reaading these posts - I just hate it that all of you have to go through so much grief.

I wish that the local "news" would broadcast the "real story" of our armed forces and what a significant toll it is REALLY creating here at home.

I have nothing else to offer except for my wish that all could be made better soon......VERY soon.

Forum Timezone: UTC -8
Most Users Ever Online: 349
Currently Online:
23
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
onedaythiswillpass: 1134
zarathustra: 562
StronginHim77: 453
free: 433
2013ways: 431
curious64: 408
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 49
Members: 110976
Moderators: 5
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 8
Forums: 74
Topics: 38561
Posts: 714261
Newest Members:
nina1985, February, lisabaker, robertwalker, Why.., Why.
Moderators: arochaIB: 1, devadmin: 9, Tincho: 0, Donn Gruta: 0, Germain Palacios: 0
Administrators: admin: 21, ShiningLight: 572, emily430: 29

Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Health Disclaimer | Do Not Sell My Personal Information