It’s natural and good to want your marriage relationship to last forever
Everyday we see marriages collapse, and yet we still never really get used to it, do we.
Relatives and friends of ours, or just good people we know of, get married. With celebration, tears of joy, and full of loving expectations, they begin what is supposed to be a lifetime of happiness. They live together under one roof, lovingly build a beautiful family. Then, seemingly out of the blue, everything comes to a terrible end.
We see their children suffer because, out of nowhere, they are blindsided, and suddenly, they have to make adjustments that no kid should ever have to make.
We see newly-divorced ex-wives start over again, as single moms… And that’s it; any hope for a natural loving home evaporates into thin air.
Why? What can be done to change things? How do you save your own marriage before it is too late?
Why does divorce happen so often? It has gotten to the point that half of all our children are living in split or broken homes.
Is it really too much to expect a marriage that happily lasts forever? Of course not.
Marriages can and should last forever
You can have a marriage relationship that is filled with joy and connection; forever; anyone can… but what is going on? Why isn’t an everlasting happy marriage the norm?
The vast majority of people confuse
Symptoms, for Causes
Looking at marriages from the outside it is nearly impossible to tell why they may go sideways, because all we can see, from the outside, are the latest, and sometimes final symptoms.
Symptoms are the result of actions
Causes are the actions, themselves
Usually, people in marital ‘trouble’ look for instant solutions. Why not? It works when you have a headache. So it seems logical for most couples to think cheating, yelling, general disconnection, or whatever is going on, is the whole problem; but those are not the underlying problems, or causes. Those are just the symptoms.
Marriage problems are not like medical problems
For many physical ailments fixing the symptom is often all you need.
If you have a headache, taking ibuprofen or aspirin usually takes care of your headache; no problem anymore. Although headaches may, in rare cases, be a symptom of something serious, that is not usually the case. Usually a headache is a symptom of whatever, so you take a pill and forget about it.
Another good example is a cavity. You get a filling, which may last a lifetime. You don’t have to change your daily practices, because your symptoms are fixable.
In these medical cases fixing the symptom is perfect. But not for marriages.
Marriage is different. The symptoms you experience ARE the sum total of your marriage. You simply cannot cure any of the usual marriage ailments without going to the causes; your individual practices. Those individual practices, at the very heart of your marriage, cause the outcomes.
Don’t imagine you are able to fix a symptom, with a promise or quick adjustment in thinking i.e. “he promised he would never look at porn again”. The same problem will rise again and again; maybe a little differently, but I guarantee you; it will rise again. i.e. “…and I just saw sexting on his phone”. You have to go to the causes.
Why couple’s counseling rarely works
“Experts” typically try to help couples by trying to unravel the symptoms; to get to the cause. But, unfortunately, they almost always fail, because that approach is, in a word, incorrect. The symptoms only hint at what caused them. The approach of working backwards, from symptom to cause, rarely works.
Because of the error of using that approach it is becoming well known that the ‘success rate’ (not to be confused with “satisfaction rate” which surveys how well they are liked) for couples-counseling is appalling. It’s all because of this misguided approach, and not for the reasons therapists usually state.
The usual excuses are to blame the couple i.e. “he is controlling”, or tell them they “waited too long to get help”. Those are not true. The primary reason couples fail in marriage-counseling is because you can’t fix a symptom and have certainty that your marriage will be fine; it doesn’t work that way. it isn’t the couple’s fault; the approach is wrong.
note: We never find those “reasons” valid, unless the wife has already left; then we say “you waited too long”. Otherwise, our clients’ success depends primarily on individual determination.
Do you see why the root of a couple’s marriage problems cannot be discovered through analyzing their symptoms?
The marriage experience,
Whether it be terribly unsatisfactory, or
Always stems from your individual practices
You have to get at the causes which, simply stated, are your individual marriage practices (I will continue to address this topic, as it’s importance cannot be overstated).
Here is the formula;
Your individual actions, within your marriage,
causes all happy and sad reactions.
The reactions are correctly called symptoms.
Reactions, and symptoms, are interchangeable words
If the above sounds familiar it is because it is Newton’s third law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.
Marriage problems are ALWAYS, 100% of the time, discovered by analyzing the couple’s individual underlying marriage practices.
Marriage experts who help couples, individually, recognize which of their underlying practices are not marriage-friendly are doing a great service for their clients…(although just seeing their disruptive is not enough for most people, or enough to make their marriage wonderful).
Because we all share similar psychophysiological traits (Don’t be afraid of the word. It simply means our psychology is highly influenced by our biology) most couples fall into certain similar patterns.
In my marriage courses I thoroughly explain all the pertinent scientific principles, in separate courses for husbands and wives, so you are well equipped with everything you need to achieve a supremely happy marriage. The more you know, the better you will do.
The actual factors that doom marriage relationships
I’ll explain the negatives; the things that hurt marriages. But then we need to talk about the positives, that make marriages happy and long lasting.
Once couples halt the damaging things they do to their marriage, they should get their relationship on the right and positive track, which will make their marriage better than they ever dreamed.
A healthy marriage comes from an undercurrent of right attitudes and loving behaviors.
Two “Top Line” Objectives
First – Recognize and eliminate destructive thoughts and actions
Second – Learn and implement relationship-building thoughts and actions
The top line objectives only defines a “mission”. The successful person learns a structured way of fulfilling their mission.
Beginning with addressing the wrong attitudes and missteps that brings marriages down, instead of up, is the right place to start. Otherwise, you can do all the good things imaginable, but it will still be like revving up the the motor on a boat that’s tied to the dock. Your efforts will be for naught.
There are common mistakes MOST people make
But, remember, marriage troubles are always temporary
Depending on what you’re going through, you may not think marriage itself, or your partner, is all that great. But the real trouble is, almost always, that people just don’t know what they need to know. And, that is fixable.
‘Three Killers of Marriage’ (this a “basic” in all of my work; books, courses, lectures and articles)
- Over-familiarity – This defines an “attitude” that erodes any relationship. It shows itself in countless and myriad ways, depending on the individual. It is recognizable as curtness, rudeness, demands, complaining etc. It also shows up in how you may respond when asked a question, or when something is asked of you.
Over-familiarity exists in every stagnant, and failing, marriage
Basically, being over-familiar means you have gotten “used to” your spouse, so you take them for granted. You don’t think about curbing your tongue. You treat them without respect, and consideration; unlike when you first met.
How can you expect love to grow, or your relationship to deepen, in a cold and harsh environment? Although the practices that comprise over-familiarity are easier to spot in your partner; not seeing it in yourself is where the real trouble begins.
- Poor communication skills – There is so much emphasis on interactions, yet nobody is taught the how and why for marriage communication. So I created communication basics (in my books and courses) which are suited to the very unique requirements of marriage.
“Normal” communication skills are nearly useless, and mostly destructive between couples, because they do not serve the purposes of enhancing connection, with expressions of love, and devotion. It is learnable; and works.It is not enough to be able to “articulate” well, even eloquently. Normal, day-to-day communication is “self” oriented, the opposite loving.
- Expectations– Marriage is not a business deal. If you hold onto expectations, even “fair” expectations, you reduce love to a second cousin; and will lose the value of the marriage contract. This idea is only controversial on it’s face. In practice is completely sensible. But it is too complex to address in this article.
Most people forget about their marriage vows; to love and cherish. They instead think of their vows as conditions that their partner agreed to. But both made those vows. This, expectations, is, believe it or not, the worst of the three killers. It drags people down so thoroughly.
It would be so nice if you can read the “killers”, and make the necessary changes to your own behaviors. Unfortunately it is not that simple. What are listed above are akin to laws of aerodynamics; it all makes perfect sense, sure. But try building an airplane just from knowing the laws.
A guide for practical application, along with more of the science is an absolute necessity. That is why our courses are so valuable. They fully provide step-by-step tutorials designed to bring you from wherever your marriage may be, to greatness.
Because one partner can lead a marriage, the courses are just as useful, and nearly as effective, when only one of you takes it independently.
In fact, if you read this and contemplate pushing the courses on your spouse, we advise you not to. Unless they are as interested as you in addressing your marriage, it is better for you to do the course on your own.
Let the results speak for themselves. It happens all the time that the reluctant spouse gets inspired, and at a minimum, warms up enough to progress in your improved connection.
Now we can address the
Second objective – Relationship building
The best part
Once you realize, through guidance and education, what has specifically been undermining your marriage happiness, it is of the highest importance to adopt new practices that create the deep and fulfilling marriage you always dreamed of; better than any novel, better than a Disney movie, better than what can be described in words.
There is also a practical reason to not stop your efforts once your marriage is smoother.
The natural law of existence is one of constant movement. Without getting into a philosophical discussion, we can sum it up, and marriage, in this way
Everything is in constant motion. Your marriage is either getting better, Or it is slipping. There is no standing still.
Unless you are willfully improving your marriage, it is slipping.
Some people try for the minimum to deal with their problems, not understanding they can go all the way to incredible happiness with just a bit more effort. They miss a phenomenal marriage; the most incredible opportunity for happiness that will ever come their way.
Other people cherry pick what they think will work, and what won’t. That is the slow way. The better way is to dive right in with everything you got; into everything we have.
We sometimes see the most desperately in-trouble marriages zoom past the problems they had in record time. Maybe because they are scared, and don’t want to fail; and so they never fail.
Then we see what should be the easy cases. They make only halfhearted efforts. So, they progress a bit. But they could have so much more.
Stubborn habits take more time, but they, too, are eventually driven out; in a positive way. You just have to keep on keeping on.
key Concepts For Positive Growth
- Always be on the lookout to praise and please your spouse. This is the opposite of over-familiarity.
- Always speak kind and loving words to your spouse. Think of your marriage as a container, which I call the sacred space of marriage. in which your input is always going to be as sweet as honey.
- Be almost as sexual as your spouse wants. It is okay to put it off a little, but better to not. If you are the husband, be as romantic as Don Juan, and learn how to please your wife. If you are a wife, help your husband appreciate your heart by communicating lovingly as you have sex.
- Praise, compliment,and encourage. Don’t treat your spouse as a child, but think about how kind you are to one. That is how to treat your spouse.
Of course you still have to be careful not to slip into old destructive habits. But as you infuse your lives with positive attitudes and behaviors they tend to replace the old bad ones anyway; especially as the mind adjusts to the new improved realities of a happy marriage.
There is one last indispensable key to marital success
NOTHING can be accomplished without self-control. It is even more true in marriage, where the temptation to lose it in past emotional escapes is greater than in any other venue of life.
I teach techniques, especially one called the SEW technique, as powerful tools for managing the mind’s habit, reactions, and emotions. But, whatever you need to do, allowing your mind the leeway to react at your spouse is never acceptable; period.
The ideas and techniques that are in my books and courses raise marriages to a much higher level than what most people are used to seeing. When you get into it, like I have, you will understand why I’m so excited about marriage. It’s wonderful! I love it, and you will, too.
If you want to get started, it would be best to get marriage help or let us know your thoughts and let’s see if we can help you — there is no charge. Trust me, the marriage nerd. You’ll be glad you did.