Married (Happily) With Issues

Before I go into the core of the article, I want to say that I think money is going into all the wrong, pathetic researches. Really, do people really need a researcher to tell them that they gain a little bit of weight when they are in a relationship as opposed to when they are single? Do we really need to spend thousands of research dollars into something that a few neurons can deduce? (P.S. here is something that can counter the weight gain).  Now, onto the subject matter at hand. This is a good read for something that didn’t require a lot of PHDs and a large sample size. This article is about marriage and the happening of one couple’s attempt to take their marriage from ok to great. It’s a 10-page article.  If you have time, it’s an interesting read, otherwise, below are the key points that I took away from the article.

  1. “I believe that you become married – truly married – slowly, over time, through all the road-rage incidents and precolonoscopy enemas, all the small and large moments that you never expected to happen and certainly didn’t plan to endure. But then you do: you endure.” [P: Two people being in love and happily married are not so much a function of fate as it is a function of will.]
  2. “Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away. [P: It’s such a shame that we tend to neglect those things that are closest and most important to us in the long run. It’s only when we are older and maybe divorced do we truly internalize the significance of our loved ones.]
  3. “The average couple is unhappy six years before first attending therapy…” [P: Most people are afraid of attending couples therapy for fear of the negative stigma, whether it’s fear of opening the Pandora’s Box of your relationship or showing your open wounds with an unfamiliar person. It doesn’t have to be that way. Attending couples counseling can simply indicate that living with another person can be testing, but you love your partner enough to want to try and work it out.]
  4. “Perhaps we’d been striving in raising children and not in marriage because child-rearing is a dictatorship and marriage is a democracy.” [P: Regardless of what couples say, there always is a power struggle – who loves whom more, who is the key decision maker, and the list goes on. I guess the author is right, one should think of it as a democracy. You cannot have one person in the executive office for a prolonged period of time. There needs to be a passing of the throne from time to time.]
  5. “According to a widely accepted model, intimacy begins when one person expresses revealing feelings, builds when the listener responds with support and empathy and is achieved when the discloser hears these things and feels understood, validated and cared for. This is not news. It’s not even advice. Offering a married couple this model is like informing an obese person that he should eat less and move more. But in the days and nights that followed that course, our intimacy grew.” [P: Just because something is widely known and mocked does not mean it doesn’t hold true. There is a reason these wisdom survived generations of new therapy techniques.]
  6. The author noted that her therapist’s vote of confidence or lack of would help or hurt her relationship because we look to the therapist as an authority figure, something who knows better.
  7. “I could not believe Dan [author’s husband] thought my primary relationship was with my mother. I needed to know if he felt that way generally or just on these weekends.” [P: Many times, we try to be the best daughter/son that we forget we do have obligations with our spouse first, otherwise, a marriage won’t work. This is another way to look at monogamy – giving your whole to your partner in every way, and not just keeping it in the pants.]
  8. Its proponents write rational-minded books like Patricia Love and Jo Robinson’s “Hot Monogamy,” in which they argue, “When couples share their thoughts and emotions freely throughout the day, they create between them a high degree of trust and emotional connection, which gives them the freedom to explore their sexuality more fully.” [P: Does it make sense? The more we care about the other person, the more we hold back on our sexual fantasies with that person for fear of tainting the sacred bond of marriage?]
  9. “How, nine years into our marriage, could our sex life still be under the thumbs of exes we no longer talked to or even desired?” [P: I am not sure how many people want to admit it, but it is certainly true that we are, in some way, haunted by our partner’s past.]
  10. “In the early years, we take our marriages to be vehicles for wish fulfillment: we get the mate, maybe even a house, an end to loneliness, some kids. But to keep expecting our marriages to fulfill our desires – to bring us the unending happiness or passion or intimacy or stability we crave – and to measure our unions by their capacity to satisfy those longings, is naïve, even demeaning.” [P: I agree with this point a lot, especially amongst women. Of course, as vain as humans are, we tend to want more than what we need; after we fulfill those innate desires, we go onto more materialistic ones.]
  11. “Over the months Dan and I applied ourselves to our marriage, we struggled, we bridled, we jockeyed for position. Dan grew enraged at me; I pulled away from him. I learned things about myself and my relationship with Dan I had worked hard not to know. But as I watched Dan sleep – his beef-heart recipe earmarked, his power lift planned – I felt more committed than ever.” [P: No relationship is perfect, you have to want to work at it.]

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