Being single is no fun when people around you nag. Many times, family members believe that all people should get married and that nagging will “encourage” singles to find a partner. In fact, this is the same whatever you nag your kids to do.
Many couples in crisis get to this situation because they do not know each other well. Knowing each other is the first step in overcoming conflicts. In this part of “Save Your Marriage”, I am going to write about the importance of knowing your partner and teach you how to learn all there is to know about your partner. Getting to know your partner’s fears, joys, history and attitude are the first step of any relationship.
Think of marriage as a relationship between two onions. For a couple to get closer, they have to peel the layers of the onion one by one. In the beginning, when you meet a potential partner, you peel the thin external layers. As the relationship deepens, you need to peel more and more layers to discover the beautiful person hiding inside.
To understand, respect and love each other in our marriage, we must truly get to know the person sharing out life. Sometimes, just knowing what their fears are or their joys can change a whole life. I remember the first time Gal gave me his list of “50 things that make me happy” and I was surprised to find out he was happy about very little things. It was surprising, because we had lived together for over 15 years.
Assuming that if you live together you know everything is a bad idea. Even if we knew out partner well at some point, we still need to update ourselves and keep learning about them because, just like us, our partner changes with every event in their life.
If you ever go on a TV show of the “best married couple” type, they will ask how much you know about each other.
Because everyone assumes that knowing things about each other is essential to your success as a married couple.
Here is a question I have received from Prudence, one of my readers. I am posting my reply here, because I think that my answer may help other people.
Prudence asked, “We are almost at our 2nd year anniversary. We have two foster children, 14 and 10. Our marriage is happy, fun and exciting, but sometimes I feel we don’t have enough time just the two of us… how do you do it with two kids?”
I guess that becoming a parent to a big kid is not the same as growing together with your kids since they are babies. Kids want all the attention on them all of the time, which we give them at first. Along the way, we gradually learn to use our time better: to complete things a bit better, a bit faster or just to get rid of some time consuming habits.
Read Just the Two of Us »
A happy marriage is just like a healthy plant. If you give the plant water, sun and air, it blossoms. A marriage requires an equal amount of nurturing if it is to blossom. As much as it is hard to accept, a nice wedding and the good intentions you have to stay together forever are not enough to produce a successful, happy marriage. The excitement and joy that newly-wed couples often experience tend to wear off within the first year of marriage and so, if you want to celebrate your 50th anniversary with your partner one day, you both need to make a conscious decision to “water” your relationship.
Read 60 Tips for a Happy Marriage »
As a parent, I am sure you are familiar with the “Mommy and Daddy are going out” storm. You put the kids to bed, kiss them good night, wait until everything is quiet, you sneak the babysitter in and just as you are about to leave, you hear a tiny, not-at-all-sleepy voice calling out, “Where are you going?”
In the next few minutes, you do you best to reassure your kids that you will be back, that the babysitter is a good and reliable person, who will take good care of them, and besides, you are going to be back in no time.
Alas, the little ones have you all figured out, and they cling to you, wail, throw themselves on the floor, pretend to be sick and put on various other unethical displays of utter desperation.
Individuals make couples, couples make families and families make communities. It is people’s natural instinct to get together. According to Dr. Mary Pipher, a therapist and anthropologist, the family is still an essential unit of the community. When people get married, their hopes are linked to building a home and a family.
I remember the day my daughter was born. Gal and I moved from being a couple taking care of ourselves, concentrating on our needs and aspirations, into being a family. It was a big feeling of responsibility mixed with joy. It was the beginning of a different journey.
While marriage is a later invention in human development, family is an ancient institution. Now, many people have kids but having kids and having a family are totally different things. Bringing kids into the world is a much simpler task than creating a family.
Happily married couples say that marriage has taught them to accept each other’s strengths and possibilities. They argue that by doing that, they transform themselves from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Therefore, marriage is an “enabling” situation, providing the freedom for each person to be who they really are, to reach for the stars and discover what they are meant to be without ridicule or rejection.
After all, it is a question of attitude. When you are happy, you are able to grow and evolve. With the right attitude, every honeymoon excitement can last longer.
Many of us have read reports, which drive home the message that married people are healthier and happier, and therefore live longer than single or celibate individuals do.
Read The Marriage Institution »
Soon, Gal and I are going to celebrate our 28 years of our life together. Every year that passes, we get more and more requests for our relationship program from people who are considering divorce.
The good news is that they look for solutions before they “turn off the light and send the actors home”. The bad news is they are in an emotional turmoil and are very very unhappy.
If you have seen the movie Mrs Doubtfire or Kramer vs. Kramer, you have probably had a glimpse of what it means to divorce, although a movie cannot describe even a small portion of the emotional stress people go through when they think about separating.