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People seek marriage counseling are struggling. Should we stay together? Are we only causing each other more hurt? The situation involving infidelity–whether the unfaithfulness is a one-night fling or one of the spouses is considering leaving the marriage to pair up with a new love-will be addressed in a subsequent article. For now, let’s assume both parties believe in the pluses over the minuses of long-term marriage, no outsider is involved, and both the husband and wife are willing to consider personal change to improve the marriage experience.

You’d think that anyone willing to take the time, pay the money, and go through the anxiety of meeting with a psychologist, would be ready for suggestions on how to make things go better.

But such is not the case. Most people come into marriage counseling with a list of what the other spouse is doing wrong and must change. Most individuals are unaware of how their own habits are driving the mood of the marriage. https://fixedpricedivorceservice.co.uk/

Behaviors which enhance harmony and behaviors which escalate defensiveness between people are relatively easy to point out. When sixth graders are given a list of behaviors and instructions to mark the ones which represent the kind of person they’d like to spend time with, the children point to the kinds of responses that dominate a satisfying marriage. The “yes” list includes: “listens to what I have to say without interrupting,” “smiles at me a lot,” “doesn’t make fun of me or point out my mistakes,” “doesn’t criticize me,” and “is usually in a good mood,” along with others.

The characteristic of the person the sixth graders don’t want to be around, include just what we’d expect. Sixth graders, like us, do not want to be around someone who is “critical of me,” “in a bad mood most of the time,” “doesn’t listen to what I have to say,” “is jumpy,” and “complains a lot.”

What do I hope couples will accomplish in marriage counseling? First to see that there is nothing mysterious or complicated about taking responsibility for self in the marriage.

“What does that mean?” I’m asked. Which is when I refer to the predictability of human behavior and let them know that, if our marriage counseling sessions together are successful, what they will discover is that to create a happy marriage a spouse need do only two things. One: be nice to each other. Two: Stay out of each other’s business.

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