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What Makes A Marriage Work


How To Deal With A Selfish Partner

How do we avoid marriages where two people separate lives under the same roof instead of merging together as one. In other words how do we build a durable marriage. First we must detach ourselves from what is portrayed in mass media. Here love is portrayed as a glorification of baser instincts centred on physical and emotional gratification without thought for the other parties needs let alone on how to best meet them. The interactions between couples portrayed in mass media is shallow at best and highly misleading at worst. Instead of solving problems they create them as couples come with totally different expectations which are generally self centred with each party potentially seeing the other as a threat if their respective needs are not met.What then are the basic ingredients for a successful marriage? Here is a brief outline which though not exhaustive is designed to contrast popular misconceptions with the essential requirements for a relationship.

Giving not taking: On the surface this seems counter – intuitive. Why does one enter into a marriage where one’s needs are not meet? However, the meeting of one’s needs is not synonymous with the denial of someone elses. This misconception is generated by Western culture which emphasizes competition. Not surprisingly couples enter a marriage with a win-loose attitude instead of win-win. Corporation and not domination is an essential basis of any union to take place. On this basis one has to unlearn the competitive mentality generated by society. One has to be giver and not a taker to merge with someone else and live a richer life. For more information on this see a video on Givers versus Takers.

Longest route is the shortest: Even if one aspires to meet the needs of their partner Western society emphasizes instant results. Consequently couples enter a marriage with a belief that they can read each other minds. Needless to say this is not only unrealistic but is bound to exacerbate things by the misunderstandings that it will inevitably generate. Couples must spend many years together, sharing experiences, working towards common goals, undergoing sacrifices for each other and generally building a life together. This does not mean that couples cannot get some cursory familiarity with each at the beginning of their marriage. Rather such familiarity should provide the basis of further development.

Being vulnerable: Western society places extraordinary emphasis on super hereos with corresponding violence, domination and supernatural powers. This generates mass appeal for people who often live mundane lives. However, for meaningful relationships to take place vulnerability is the pre-requisite for intimacy. This does not mean that one places oneself in a weak position that will encourage abuse. Rather vulnerability has to be tempered with an anticipated response. If this response is repeatedly negative then clearly intimancy and by extension a relationship cannot develop. Vulnerability is reciprocal in that one must not exploit private and confidential information divulged by one’s partner. Without vulnerability there is no room for growth as there is no avenue to meet the respective needs of both parties.

Relativity and Anger Control: No matter how close a couple can get they will never share the same perception of reality. It is therefore inevitable that there will disagreements and the potential anger that may come with it. A detailed overview of anger management is outside the scope of this video and more information can be found on our web site. However, the basic requisite of anger management is relativity which involves the realisation that reality is ambiguous and that one’s spouse may have a perception of it that is equally valid irrespectiv how different it may be. This in turn is a pre-requisite for gratitude which is a vital component for bonding. The question one should ask oneself before reacting to a perceived misdemeanour from their spouse is whether a half glass of water is half empty or half full. Seeing the glass as half full is more likely to encourage one’s spouse to fill it to the top rather than emptying it completely. This is not withstanding that one is often guilty of the very same faults they see in others. It is a question of prioritising what ultimately is really important before taking issue with one’s partner.

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