Archive for August 14th, 2012
Suppose a wife comes home from work at the end of a long, hard day in a bad mood. Her husband is in the kitchen making dinner and calls out, “How was your day?” Instead of responding to his question, the wife snaps at him for having left his coat and briefcase on the kitchen table. How might the husband react? If he is in the habit of thinking positively about his wife and giving her the benefit of the doubt, he may think, “She must have had a really hard day.” He might stop what he is doing and give his wife his full attention so he could try to find out what is really bothering her. However, if the husband takes offense at his wife’s complaint and thinks, “Here I am, cooking dinner, and all she can do is criticize me,” he will be more likely to respond negatively to his wife’s complaint and further escalate the conflict.
Research supports these ideas about the power of one’s thoughts. Marriage researchers have determined that stable marriages have more positive than negative interactions, while the opposite is true for unstable unions. Because negative interactions are often fueled by one’s thoughts, negative thinking can have a significant impact upon a relationship. Therefore, because the substance of a person’s thoughts is often a powerful determinant of his actions, it is very important for spouses to control the way they think about each other. Husbands and wives can do this during times of conflict by focusing on the troublesome issue instead of their partner’s flaws. By keeping their feelings about the issue and their spouse separate, it is more likely that they will manage conflict better and have a healthier relationship.
Because there will be hurt feelings and conflict from time to time in every marriage, it is very important that spouses forgive each other when arguments and disagreements occur. Forgiveness enables partners to stay emotionally connected and keep their marriage positive. If people want their relationships to grow and become stronger, they must be willing to forgive their spouses whenever necessary. When spouses do not forgive each other, remain bitter and hold grudges, they often experience physical and emotional problems. Thus, forgiveness is important to the individual health of each partner as well as to the health of the relationship!
All couples will encounter problems in their marriage that will require problem solving skills. At these times, it is very important that the spouses work together as a team, instead of insisting on their point of view and working against each other. It is crucial to understand problems before attempting to solve them. Problem solving is a much smoother process when spouses have discussed the issue thoroughly and each partner feels understood. Surprisingly, research has shown that after a good discussion about a troublesome issue, most people are so satisfied that there is no need to come up with a solution to the problem. Usually, people just want the opportunity to express themselves and feel as if they have really been understood.
It is common for husbands and wives to overlook their own weaknesses and focus instead on the faults of their spouse. In some marriages, one person feels that his or her partner is the cause of their marital problems and the only one who really needs to change in order for the relationship to improve. This may occasionally be true. However, in the vast majority of marriages, both partners make a contribution to the conflict and problems that arise.
It is crucial that spouses realize that the only person’s behavior they can control is their own. In marriage, it is typical for partners to become annoyed or irritated with what they perceive to be their spouses’ personal shortcomings, unusual habits and weaknesses. For example, a wife may feel upset because her husband arrives home from work late on a regular basis. Or, the husband may resent how his wife cuts him off in the middle of conversations. Frustration over shortcomings such as these often builds over time, motivating people to insist that their partners change. However, people usually end up discovering that their demands are not granted and their efforts to change their partners have failed.
Instead of trying to compel each other to change, it is more effective for partners to honestly assess themselves and think about what they can do to make the relationship better. Considering the contributions they make to disagreements and trying to overcome their own weaknesses will accomplish far more than dwelling on their spouse’s faults. When husbands and wives stop trying to change each other and instead shift their attention to improving their own behavior, they will likely be more content, even if their partner continues to do the things that they do not like
When spouses choose to make changes in themselves first, regardless of what their partner does, they are often surprised to find that the overall quality of their relationship improves dramatically. In an ideal situation, of course, both spouses continually strive to improve themselves and overcome their weaknesses. However, one spouse is often more committed to self-improvement than the other, at least for a while. Nevertheless, even if the other person does not feel a need to change himself or herself, the marriage will likely improve through the efforts of the one trying to change.
Although it is important for spouses to learn how to resolve differences, having a good marriage requires more than just being able to manage conflict effectively. What else is needed to create a strong and satisfying marriage? Recent research has shown that the most satisfied spouses have marriages based on good friendship. Nurturing the positive aspects of the marital relationship on a regular basis is also important. This final section will highlight ways in which husbands and wives can strengthen their marriages, including being good friends, performing daily acts of kindness, sharing enjoyable times and creating family traditions.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )