My husband was the one who suggested a therapist. Because he hates to talk, this suggestion made me sit down a bit.
It turned out that my husband felt unloved, that the children and my work were everything I cared about and that he had just become another thing on my to-do list.
Now he wondered if he still loved me. The therapist made a final effort to fix things before he stopped our marriage. These revelations caused pure anger. It seemed to me that every part of my husband's life, including his family, should always have been behind his first love architecture. How dare he claim that he is not loved?
I even had a well-developed list of occasions on which the children and I had come second, without knowing that I had collected it, such as the time I had mastitis and a newborn baby and he went outside. But now he threatened to leave us?
Belinda Luscombe, who visited a therapist with her husband for two years, has shared advice on how to transform your marriage based on what she has learned through research (file image)
Our classic 21st-century marriage was in crisis. Two drainage jobs, demanding children, little time for each other and a striking sex life. Resentment, bitterness, stress, guilt and sudden pain for other people – we had the complete package. I didn't want to see a therapist, but I couldn't see a way out of this swamp without one, so I agreed to go.
I'm glad I did it. We met bi-weekly with Sue for the next two years. Hearing the person who knows me best criticizes me for a stranger was difficult. Sometimes afterwards the revelations led to worse arguments, which had to be taken apart in the next session.
Slowly but surely we began to clear up a backlog of grievances, find out the source of our recurring battles, and understand why we all behaved in a certain way. We became & # 39; we & # 39; again.
Modern life and our 21st-century expectations are hard for marriage. It doesn't help that we buy this crazy idea that we are all a & # 39; soulmate & # 39; have it waiting for us. No wonder we are deeply disappointed when we reach & # 39; happily ever after & & # 39; turns out to be so much harder than it sounds.
A soul mate is not a thing. At least, it's not something you can find. It is a myth that is traded by people who sell cinema tickets and subscriptions to eHarmony.
The chance that you are localized, attracted, connected and then contractually bound to the only person who is the perfect match for you is disappearing small.
Belinda claims that we don't find soul mates, but instead they become over time, she remembers her mother who says tolerance is the secret of a long marriage (file image)
Put it in a different way: imagine trying to get people to believe that there is only one right car for them. Not a brand or model, but a real car that she has to find, to be really happy. If they choose the wrong one, they can get over it, but they constantly suffer from a nagging feeling that they could have done better.
How would you make people believe something so crazy? Simple – just make a lot of great stories about people finding their One True Auto, a car that never breaks or runs out of fuel.
If the driver eventually fails – perhaps he gets scratched – then they can always release him, in exchange for a big financial blow.
Obviously, that's crazy – people would either never buy a car or trade it endlessly.
The thing is, we don't find soul mates like a beautiful shell on the beach. We become them over time.
This was once accepted wisdom, but long ago the days you found a likely opponent, you endured the knot and then you endured the storms of life.
Marriage is now seen as a promotion to a better kind of life: a ticket for fulfillment, stimulation, safety, dedication, status, liberation, connection, transformation. . . and great sex.
Belinda, who has been married for 25 years, believes that marriage is worth fighting for, because studies show that marriage is good for you (file image)
Just before my parents' 59th anniversary, I asked my mother about her long marriage. & # 39; Tolerance, & # 39; she said without hesitation. Somehow that word doesn't seem to have made the modern wedding list.
Over the years I have investigated marriage if a foreign correspondent were a country. I have read numerous investigations, talked to many therapists and interviewed hundreds of people about their own marriage.
And you can only really know a place if you have lived there, so I also signed for my 25-year marriage.
If you are reading this and happen to be considering the question & # 39; Should I leave my partner? & # 39 ;, then I am a good person to ask.
And here is my quick answer: probably not, or at least not yet.
On the way to divorce?
The divorce rate in the UK is highest among women aged 25 to 29, with 23.6 per 1,000 married people – more than twice the average
Like beautiful cathedrals and primeval forests, many marriages are worth confirming, or better yet, to maintain – and no matter how tough the present moment is, yours is perhaps one of those marriages.
Studies show that marriage is good for you: happily paired people tend to live longer and healthier lives. Their children will also prosper earlier, while married partners have on average more sex.
Marriage is worth fighting for.
My book can help with that. Here I have summarized in six parts what I have learned about marriage – six challenges that those who are committed to life will master and should manage, or at least struggle to stay together: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, wandering around and seeking help.
Today we will explore each of these areas to understand what can go wrong in a long-term relationship. Then, next week, I will give you an insight into how you can overcome these trials on your way to being happy, or, at least & # 39; good & # 39; sometime afterwards.
Belinda says it's important to understand that at some point almost everything about your partner will make you furious (file image)
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT. . .
Understand this – almost everything about your partner will make you angry at some point.
The more you get to know them, the more the things that have charmed you become the things that make you want to set your own hair on fire to get rid of it for five minutes.
You do not solve this problem by choosing the right person. You solve it with what you do when the novelty has been worked out.
When I met my husband, his passion for architecture was intoxicating and his enthusiasm contagious. I would go with him on trips to artistic book stores, little known buildings and even lectures.
But in the end I got tired of the way all recreational, conversational and life planning paths led to architecture. I wanted to have passionate conversations about something else.
But you can't have the exciting parts of a deep passion without the non-this-re-sharing.
Belinda claims that love is about the willingness to do everything needed to make that person's life better, even if you don't feel like it (file image)
I don't have a picnic either. I am the person who handles every situation by trying to see the humor in it. That can also be an obstacle.
But here's the thing – it's not just that we can't change our husbands, it's that, really, we wouldn't want it. The things we love are organically linked to what drives us crazy.
Is your partner incredibly fit? Then you are photographed by how much time they spend practicing. Are they beautiful? You will notice that the attention of strangers is cracking. Do you get my feeling?
Love is much more challenging than a fluttering feeling for someone. It is a willingness to do what you can to make that person's life better, more fun and less stressful, even if you don't feel like it. We do this with our children. We tolerate – my mother's word – a lot. Maybe you don't want to play another game about princesses or push that toy car & # 39; s. But you do it because there is joy in making someone you love happy.
This attitude is about changing familiarity to the thing that motivates you to choose the desires of this person for yourself – even if they drive you crazy.
LEARN MONITORING HONESTY
Couples fight. You cannot pass marital disputes as barriers on the road to be avoided or tolerated. They are important landscape features that must be overcome, part of how you really get to know each other.
Some therapists believe that what people disagree about – sex, money, children – is far less important than the way they disagree. The fundamental difference between fighting in a marriage and, say, a cage fight, is that you don't necessarily have to win – you just want an outcome that makes the fighters meet again.
Relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, says he can predict if a couple will get married by observing their interactions (file image)
The renowned relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman says he can generally predict whether a couple will get married simply by observing their interactions.
When people fight with contempt, criticism, obstruction and / or defensive attitude – what he calls the four horsemen of the Apocalypse – he says they are most likely to die.
That is why crucial spouses learn to fight fairly.
MAKING SECURITY FOR CHANGING FINANCES
The traditional marriage model (one breadwinner + one housewife = one family) is becoming blurred.
In my mother's day men took care of the capital and women took care of the delivery.
But the increasing economic power of women has changed the way we think about finance. A double income is now considered a necessity, rather than an anomaly, that has a psychological impact on both sexes.
Studies suggest that men who earn less than their wives are more prone to infidelity and more inclined to use erectile dysfunction.
A recent study has shown that women who earn as much as, or more than, their partner are more likely to suffer from anxiety (file image)
Meanwhile, a recent Danish study has shown that women earn as much as, or more than, their partners were more likely to use medication for anxiety.
That is because men struggle with the idea that they are not providers. Traditionally, it was the male's job to earn the money – it's probably the model that today's men grew up with. If they do not or cannot feel it, they feel they are failing.
Even today, research shows that men point to male prowess to spend money.
So any setback in this area can lead to a loss of confidence in the bedroom, hence the Viagra, or a desire to reconfirm their alfaness, hence the affair.
Meanwhile, women are walking on eggshells and trying not to provoke the feelings of shame of their husbands, while they occasionally need money – hence the anxiety medicine.
CLEAR TASKS FOR A HAPPY FAMILY
Our two children were born in December, about four years apart. Before Christmas, my husband gave me a ring instead of giving me a useful item for mothers.
Each child's name and birthday were engraved on each ring. Memories that he saw me as someone who was still impractically decorated.
He knew intuitively what research has shown – that new mothers are particularly sensitive to their partner's behavior and that if spouses can attend the relationship while the mother visits the child, the transition to parenthood can be a little smoother.
Raising a family is the most exhausting, irritating, hardest thing most people will ever try.
Studies suggest that women are usually more unhappy with marriage than men when they become parents (file image)
Adapting to a baby is just the run-up to the much more difficult slope that lies ahead. How do you manage everything that needs to be done? How do you divide the tasks in the same way?
It is an important consideration, especially since studies have shown that women are not happier with their marriage than men when they become parents.
This is partly because fathers can do things with the children, while mothers are usually there. More men than ever do work in raising children – research suggests three times as much as their fathers – but women are still the main caretakers, workers, and organizers.
Even in two-income households, women do almost twice as much housework and childcare as men.
My husband was certainly 300 percent more than one of our fathers. But it wasn't nearly enough.
It is a conversation that we had to have – and it may also be a problem that you must address.
MAKE TIME FOR LIFTING AROUND
Last night my husband – who can normally nod at any time and place – couldn't sleep. I knew he had a big day ahead at work and groggy asked if I could do something.
He suggested sex. It was 3 o'clock in the morning. I wasn't really in the mood.
Belinda says it's important to find a way to yearn for the person who is always there if you want your marriage to continue to satisfy sexually (file image)
But opportunities to do your partner a favor without even getting out of bed do not come every day. I noted with some satisfaction that he immediately dozed off afterwards.
This is not a sex scene that Romanesque novelists want to steal, but it was the kind of affectionate entanglement that two people who had long loved could enjoy.
If you want your marriage to continue to satisfy you sexually, somehow you have to find a way to keep longing for the person you might not always like
The problem with sex is that it can become a major source of pain and alienation in couples.
While we understand that not every meal we prepare for our family will be an incredible celebration, modern marriage somehow expects every sexual episode to be effortlessly transcendent. And if that is not the case, our emotions can fall into a downward spiral.
It is abundantly clear that lack of sex is the most common marital problem people ask the internet about. In 2015 there were 16 times more Google searches about a partner who did not want sex than about those who did not want to talk.
It is not surprising: feeling passion for someone you don't always like is far from easy, especially if she hasn't shaved her legs, or he keeps making annoying clicks.
But if you want your marriage to continue to satisfy you sexually, you need to find a way to keep longing for the person who is always there.
Belinda advises couples to be open to talk to professionals about their relationship, she and her partner could break resentment through therapy (file image)
FINDING HELP TO MAKE WEDDING
As I explained earlier, therapy helped my husband and I to break through various resentments and the recurring battles that prevented the pleasure of marriage.
We discovered that therapy is more like car maintenance or spring cleaning. You must ensure that this institute protects your children's health, wealth and well-being.
My book can, I hope, help you work out some basic rules to make your own marriage more enjoyable, but there are some issues that you need to call the professionals for.
Anyway, I hope it helps to get you to feel that you may have found your soul mate.
What are five quick ways to love your husband again?
With habitual behavior, the easiest way to change it is to start small. Making adjustments to the way in which you treat your partner can generate enormous profits. . .
1 Pay attention to something good that your partner has done (look it up, if necessary). Thank them now for doing it – without reservation. & # 39; Thank you very much for cooking, but I think you've used up all the parmesan & # 39; is not acceptable. Ultimately, as your mother said, thanking your partner will become a reflex so that you feel good without realizing it – marital nirvana.
2 Every time you say something shred to your partner, you have to make up for it by saying or doing five beautiful things. I find it early in the morning, right after you both come home from work and the last & # 39; night are easy times to get rid of three. & # 39; Have you slept well? & # 39 ;, & # 39; I am so happy that you are at home & # 39; and your chosen version of & # 39; goodnight & # 39 ;. Two more and then it is safe to talk about the unfolded laundry!
Belinda advises couples to pray for each other, regardless of their religious beliefs, as a way to learn to love each other again (file image)
3 Celebrate your partner's victories. An interviewee told me when his wife's paper was accepted in a prestigious academic magazine, he printed the format of the email notification poster and proudly stuck it on the front door. This works because you not only appreciate your partner, but also incorporate and exercise your admiration for them – which has a positive effect on both of you.
4 Ask your partner to do you a favor. This is most effective when the favor is not a difficult task that anyone could do, but one that recognizes its strengths. & # 39; How would you solve this problem that I have with a colleague? & # 39; Would fall into this category. & # 39; Can you vacuum the car? & # 39; I wouldn't do that.
5 Say a prayer. Not the & # 39; please Lord, put an end to & # 39; friendly but focused on the well-being of your partner. Whether or not you have religious beliefs, simply taking a moment to think about your expectations for them can help you see your partner, or a conflict with them, in a different, more compassionate way.
It is possible that the meditative effects of prayer are similar to those of mindfulness and breathing techniques. And of course there is always a chance that it will come from above.
Adapted by RACHEL HALLIWELL from Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together by Belinda Luscombe, published by Oneworld on June 6 for £ 11.99. © Belinda Luscombe 2019. To order a copy for £ 9.59 (20 percent off), go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. Offer valid until May 30, P & P is free at orders over £ 15. Spend £ 30 on books and receive FREE premium delivery.
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