Marriage is a give-and-take relationship. It succeeds when two people balance their own desires with those of their partner. If you have been married for a while, you know that this balancing act is not easy. It’s not easy because it requires regulation of thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and when this self-regulation takes too much energy, the person collapses and so does the relationship.
Regulation is a science. To understand why people reach this point of “no more” and consider separation or divorce, you need to know how to prevent yourself and your partner from reaching break point and how to separate external and internal regulation (self-regulation).
Regulation is the ability to control thoughts, feelings and behavior, instead of doing things on impulse. The more we practice, the stronger it gets, like a muscle. Once it is strong enough, it’s much easier to resist temptation and function according to a plan, rather than going with whatever comes our way or whoever applies more pressure. Just think of a baby that needs to hold his pee until he gets to the toilet. He needs to regulate his impulse to pee in his pants (or diaper).
Here are three research conclusions about self-regulations.