Marriage Problems Are Not What They Seem (Learn To Have A Great Marriage)

If “fear” didn’t exist you would have been dead a long time ago. Unfortunately, although it has gotten you to stop before you did something dumb a million times, this primal survival instinct is sometimes a curse.

Although your marriage is in trouble (most are), it does not have to be, and you do not have to be filled with fear

Marriage Problems Are Not What They Seem

How many times did fear hold you back from doing what you know you should do? And, how many times has fear-driven suspicion made you do or say something you regretted?

In a shaky marriage fear can make you do the wrong thing. It can make you close up your heart, when you should be opening it up. It can make you angry, too; which ALWAYS does more harm than good.

When fear controls your mind, and you add imagination, which increases the danger, instead of keeping the mind in check, any actual threat is usually much less than what it seems.

Succumbing to fear, often without realizing it, is responsible for a lot of divorces. But I am not saying “don’t worry, everything will be okay”. Everything won’t be okay if you keep on the same path you are on.  You have to do something. Just do the right ‘something’, with the confidence you get from a good source of help!

Its not so easy to keep the mind in check. We are constantly pummeled with negativity, pushing individual fear to off the charts proportions. TV, and some other outer influences stimulate fear intentionally. The six o’clock news makes the world look very dangerous, as news organizations gather the scariest news from the four corners of the world; just to grab your attention; and scare you.

We rarely see or hear of extreme acts of kindness or heroism on the news. But we know its there. I would say the world is much safer than we are led to believe… and so is marriage!

Marriages are not supposed to be filled with problems, as we are led to believe by many “experts”.

Not every married man and woman is looking around, cheating, or pounding each other. Some marriages are so sweet the couple can’t stand being apart for five minutes… Isn’t that how marriage should be?

There is a “secret” of sorts to having a problem free marriage. People who know about marriage, and the laws of marriage, do very well. The key to a happy marriage is in the knowing.

When you understand the basics of marriage, from self control to loving communication, most marriage problems are easy to deal with; if they need any attention at all. But when you don’t have a clear idea of what is okay or dangerous, any problems that sprout up are magnified; mostly due to fear. The fear of the unknown is, in actuality, fear due to not knowing.

Not knowing marriage as well as you should “causes” all the problems

Understanding what I call the ‘physics of marriage’; like ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,’ will give you all the ammo you will ever need to deal with, or circumvent, any marriage problems that arise.

Does that formula sound familiar? It should. Because cause and effect is just as certain in marriage as it is when you toss a ball across a room. Because you know about gravity, you will know, for certain, that the ball will fall to the floor. There will not be a shock because you will expect it. That’s what “knowing” does for you.

But most couples get into a bit, and then instead of knowing what to do, or what they did to cause it, they get scared at the “effect”, and then they make things worse by over-reacting.

Marriages problems are not as “natural” as we are led to believe

Your marriage is much safer than it may appear to be. Despite external programming to expect the worst, people’s lives are more natural than we imagine. Most men in the world do not want to cheat on their wives. Most women in the world really do want to have a wonderful family. But our subconscious memories are filled with what we see and hear from the media. So we’re tainted, suspicious, and fearful.

The Truth About Marriage Problems

Marriage problems are actually only symptoms. 

Going after symptoms, individually, NEVER works in marriage! It would be like adding oil to your car every day or so, when you really should just fix the leak, and thinking you fixed the problem; no! The problem is the underlying leak.

Or, like ignoring constant heartburn, but you keep eating spicy foods. All marriage problems, every single one of them; from cheating, to lack of intimacy, to whatever you are going through; all of them are symptoms…but symptoms of what?

Underlying marriage dynamics are what cause good, or bad, results

Does this make sense? It should. Because if you, let’s say for example, are a man, and your wife is unkind to you, and maybe has begun an emotional connection with another man, you can throw all the fits you want about how wrong she is. But it would not move the needle in the right direction a micron. Because the underlying dynamics of your marriage, combined with who she is, is what the true cause is. In other words, her looking for another man is a symptom.

The “causes”, in this and every case, are the way you and she approach your marriage, each other, and yourselves; all of which are ‘fixable’.

You could say the marriage problem you are having is that she is in an emotional affair, but that is the symptom; so you cannot treat it. You may be able to cover it up or talk it out to death. But nothing will actually work long term.

What you need to do to make sure it, and other symptoms, disappear is fix the underlying dynamics. Then that symptom, and all the other symptoms, will change into the “effects” you desire. This, cause and effect, is scientific.

The same holds true for women who experience a marriage problem. You cannot fix the problem. But, you can make it disappear. Being a symptom, the changes you make to the underlying elements in your marriage have everything to do with the marriage itself.

What you want is for your underlying marital dynamics to be so sweet that all the “symptoms” are awesome! Do you understand? Symptoms are not all bad. Only bad symptoms are marriage problems. The good symptoms, caused by knowing how to be married, come just as certainly. It is all about cause and effect…not one thing at a time, but making your whole marriage dynamics aligned with how you want your marriage to be.

You cannot escape ’cause and effect’, nor do you need or want to. You just need to make the causes the kind that produce the right kind of effects

Going after the symptoms doesn’t work at all; neither in the short, nor long term.

Because of a general lack of marital understanding, and wrong thinking, people imagine current marriage problems, and complaints, are what they have to address in order to have a happy marriage. It does not work that way.

Going after individual problems is not going to work no matter how diligently you try. Marriage is not like that. And this is the reason I discourage couples counseling, altogether.

The approach they take is to ask you to describe the problems you have, and come up with solutions. At best, they negotiate between you; which is insane. You need to be able to speak to each other! But that is not the worst.

Worse, by going after the problems, and trying to “work them out”, they never teach couples about the underlying dynamics of marriage; so you never change the causes.

How you can fix your marriage problems

Your very first plan of attack, no matter how big an “emergency” is, should be to learn how to create a good marriage.

Part of this strategy is learning what things you should not do; things that hurt marriage. The other, more important part, is learning what you should do.

Some people say “yea, but, what about some emergency triage? We are desperate!”

I will give you some tips for what you can do for right now, to help ease things. but tips and suggestions will not carry your marriage to the promised land.

And please don’t think “oh, we just need to get through this one little thing”‘. Nonsense!!! The fact that you are having marriage problems defines your lack of positive marital knowledge; of which you absolutely need to have a successfully happy marriage.

I know of three things that will work long term

  1. You can meet with me, or one of my TMF trained counselors. But that way is very slow, tedious, and we won’t do it.
    That is what therapists do, so they can have a long term relationship with you (more money for them); that is not us. We are here to help you fast, and then get out of your life.
  2. You can read one of my books. These are not enough for marriages in serious trouble (hopefully yours is not in serious trouble).

Either Lessons For A Happy Marriage, which is very easy reading (even though it has all the depth you will ever need), but is not very technical, or Breaking The Cycle, which is quite technical, and could be called a marriage manual; are great options.

My books get all quite positive reviews, because they represent a fulfilling and doable way of looking at marriage that will change your lives. Everything is common sense and practical. That means you can implement what you learn very easily.

Because Breaking The Cycle is in book stores all over the country, and is promoted by couples counselors (even though I recommend against couples counseling), so it sells better. But either serve as excellent guides for your marriage as a whole.

3. If your marriage is absolutely collapsing, or on the brink, you need to go all the way to our online courses.

Only the one who is complaining should start the course for themselves (there are two different courses; one is for women, and one is for men).
Half our sales are to couples, who both take their course. So, either way is okay. You can use this link to look at what all comes with the courses.

Now, some suggestions you can use now

Trust and love your spouse

You have so much to gain by giving them your trust and love. You are in your marriage together; just the two of you. Make your marriage a sacred space. Tell them, “I love you”, show how much you appreciate them.

Think of yourselves as being alone on an island together. All you have, and need, is each other. Praise each other, love each other. Never say or do anything that will hurt each other. If one of you says something mean, the other should ignore it.

When you  actually know exactly how to be married (I know it sounds crazy, especially if you have been married for years and years) your marriage will be fine, or even greater. I have seen it so often!

It is always unfair to blame your marriage problems on one or the other of you; even if there is cheating, or some other awful thing going on; because you got there together!

People write to us armed to the teeth with blame, and expectations that the other could/would change. Many have it in their heads, “Oh if only they would change, everything would be fine.”

They imagine that although they themselves are not perfect, but at least they did not cheat, or use porn, or whatever.

I understand that kind of  thinking.

But if you watch talk shows like Dr. Phil and watch him “miraculously” solve a couple’s problems, by helping a person see their “one” flaw; as if they didn’t know!? Ridiculous! That is TV. It does not work. You have to get to the dynamics you yourselves create every day.

When you know “how”, your marriage problems will go away

In other words, my approach is to educate individuals on marriage. They won’t learn the same, or know the same, in the same way. Men and women are different, and each has to learn marriage from their particular point of view.

But be smart about fixing your marriage. Don’t give up, and don’t think things will just somehow change. You have to learn, Then you will be fine.

I’m going to reveal what nobody else even mentions (it is in our marriage saving course).

Men and women are both driven by the drive-to-survive, and it’s subordinate drive-to-procreate. But that is pretty much the end of male/female similarities. They manifest very differently according to biological gender!

It is an absolute that we are all souls in our essence; there is argument about that, maybe; but it is still the case.

However, once we have a body, the gender of that body forces our mind to approach life in accordance to the bio gender. Even LGBTQ people for the most part, mostly have subconscious attributes tied to their biological gender.

The gender difference is very good news when we understand each other.

On the subconscious level, beyond our recognition, men are “protectors”, and women are “nurturers”. Not 100% of the time, but way over 95% of the time.

What brings us together is a subconscious pact that we do not consciously recognize, which is based on what we can do for each other based on our gender.

So, keeping that in mind, you can understand that men who shout at, intimidate, tease, or otherwise dominate their wife, are misusing their force, This strength of a man is an attraction because a woman will feel protected by his strength. But when a man does the above, and abuses her, they become like bodyguards waving a gun in the face of their employer …and then the “bodyguard” will have to “get fired”.

Here is the tip for men

You will need to do a lot more than just read an article. You can try to figure things out on your own, but you can learn to fly a jet on your own, too. Best thing is to read one of our books, or use our marriage program; that’s the easier way.

Another tip for women

Reduce the fear in your mind, and focus your attention on understanding your husband. Make sure you are not critical; it never helps, and only hurts. Be in control over your emotions.

The people who tell you to honor your emotions are wrong to do so. They, emotions, are not your friend. Love is your friend. Love is what you feel in your heart, emotions are in the mind; that is how you differentiate.

Marriage life is really amazing. It is so incredible I wish for you to taste its fruits. But you have to learn to do that. Trust me; its worth it! Most people take their marriage for how it is, now. They don’t realize the hidden benefits that can’t be described in words.

If you are in a place of having to pay attention to your marriage, take advantage of it. Use the moment to transform everything, not just fix a problem or two. You can have every day amazing!

Paul Friedman
Paul Friedman
Paul has written two books, produced several video programs, regularly speaks on marriage, and continues to guide the growth of The Marriage Foundation to help enrich the marriages of couples around the world.

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