November 02, 2009

Marriage Is Hard

Marriage Is Hard  Marriage Is Hard: Accepting the fact, Removing the Stigma, Understanding the Challenge

If you think marriage is difficult, you=re not alone. A recent article in Newsweek said so.  Even some major religious groups, like the Institute for American Values, have admitted that marriage is tough even for faithful believers.

Ironically, despite a constant, 50% divorce rate and a deluge of media attention, many who experience problems in their marriage feel embarrassed or even ashamed. Worse, many feel discourage and hopeless. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to help. The first step, however, is to remove the denial and the stigma which surrounds the issue. By explaining why human relationships are so difficult folks can understand what needs to be done to make them better.   

Today, we want to talk about why intimate relationships are so difficult and what needs to be done to create a more successful and satisfying marriage.
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Three Problems

1. Unrealistic Expectations - Marriage should be natural and easy.
2. Faulty Imagery - "The two shall become one". This imagery gives the message that individuality and differences are not a part of partnership.                                 
3. Lack of Skills and Cultural Support - Essential communication and negotiating skills are not part of our basic educational curriculum.                                             Even in family life classes.

Three Solutions

1. Realistic Expectations - Marriage is difficult and takes effort and commitment.
2. Better Imagery - The Venn diagram of the two circles which overlap. (A serious but overlooked problem is the challenge to maintain  one=s and to respect your partner's individuality and differences and overcome the demand for sameness in the marriage.)
3.  Better Education - If we want better marriages, we need to communicate realistic expectations and teach basic skills to our children from an early age.

          
           These comments were written by Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC, Fellow A.A.P.C. for Bridge Street 11/2/2009
 

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