Discover the revolutionary practical science of marriage through the inspiring journey of Paul Friedman, a former successful San Diego divorce mediator. Explore articles and videos by Paul, available on YouTube, covering a wide range of topics to help individuals rediscover lost happiness in their failing marriages.
Why marriages fail is not as complicated as many think.
Contrary to popular belief, many of the commonly believed marriage-ending-problems are not terminal at all. Issues such as watching porn, infidelity, financial issues, “falling out of love”, and more are actually recoverable, when you understand what causes them and know how to rebuild from there.
However there are three behaviors that are absolutely destructive to marriage, and as long as they continue to persist in your marriage, it will continue to degrade until your marriage ends, or you turn it around.
Killer #1: Over Familiarity
This is the most common killer and is present in every single marriage that is not doing well. It is present even when couples think, “everything is fine.”
It starts off very small and subtle, and grows unnoticed. However it is easy to identify by analyzing how you treat each other in your marriage. This killer alone can lead a couple to divorce and often does.
Over familiarity means taking each other for granted.
This usually happens when both individuals gradually start treating each other like siblings, or worse. Perhaps they expect their spouse to stay out of “their space”, yet intrude into their spouse’s space without hesitation; with criticisms or snide remarks. Or their speech and behavior becomes crude and disrespectful, yet they feel offended when treated that same way.
Maybe you act as if you have the right to judge, criticize and berate your spouse, or they do the same.
The easiest way to identify this misery causing killer is to compare how you behaved when you and your spouse were courting with how you behave now. You were probably respectful, appreciative, nice, and had some element of independence and privacy. If there is a difference to your current relationship, then you have become over familiar.
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Killer #2: Poor Communication
Most people think they have a breakdown in communication when they feel unheard by their spouse, or their spouse is not doing what they think they should be doing. When their spouse doesn’t appear to listen, they think their spouse needs classes in communication. Few consider their own failure to communicate.
We all communicate differently depending on circumstances and relationships. You speak to your boss differently than you would to your neighbor, or a police officer.
A big mistake many couples make is not realizing the way they communicate with their spouse is supposed to be unique, unlike any other venue of life. The particular needs of marital communication demand a special understanding in order to get the greatest amount of happiness from your marriage.
Couples who speak to their spouses as they do with everyone else in their lives, especially combined with over familiarity, end up in a living hell.
Killer #3: Business Deal Mindset
Too many couples enter into marriage expecting wonderful treatment from their spouse, yet are only willing to reciprocate after their spouse has proven their sincerity. That is, the vows you promised when you got married were conditional upon receiving “what you were promised,” just like a business deal.
However marriage is not a business deal, and your vows are not obligatory conditions of a contract that have been breached. Your vows and future behavior were supposed to have been given freely, without thinking of what you were going to get “in exchange.”
If you live like your marriage is a “business deal”, keeping score, and withholding love until you are sure you are receiving it, you will be extremely unhappy in your marriage.
It is not what your spouse expects of you that makes you unhappy. It is your subconscious expectations of them that kills your happiness and will eventually kill your marriage.
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Routing Out The Killers
When an individual feels trapped and unloved, their behavior can manifest in countless symptoms, from infidelity to porn, fighting, tension, cold shoulders, yelling, anger, and eventually divorce. As you can see, addressing the underlying root causes of marriage failure makes a lot more sense than focusing on the surface symptoms.
The killers are toxic to any marriage. No matter what the outward symptoms are, if any or all of these root problems are present, your marriage will quickly move down hill.
The most important step in resolving all your marriage problems is to understand the killers, so you can identify them as soon as they come up. You can’t afford to let them fester and degrade your marriage and family happiness.
Our program provides the tools and understanding to help you overcome the habits and mindset that allow these killers to even exist. For instance, the Anatomy of a Fight shows you how to stop fighting instantly, calming techniques allow you to manage your emotions, and the SEW Method cuts through habits quickly. The combination of these tools allow you to change behavior rapidly.
The best thing you can do when your marriage begins to slip is to gain a more thorough understanding of marriage. Study it. Learn about what marriage can give you when operated perfectly, learn what obstacles you will face, and how to overcome them. Don’t give up just because it feels tough at the moment. First learn, then apply your knowledge to make your marriage great.
Read more about our Complete Marriage System.