Dealing With A Bad Marriage

Believe it or not, I am not married. I however have been in a long term relationship since 1993 and do have two kids to show for it. In that time I have had plenty of ups and downs in my relationship and even managed to mature somewhat into the idea that I will never marry most likely. I have also known plenty of men and women who happen to be divorced or pretty close to ending their marriage. Recently a friend of mine disclosed to me his own marriage turmoils and it reminded me of how difficult it is to make relationships work.

It seemed like only a couple of years ago I sat at their wedding and heard the minister speak of the holy union between man and woman and the whole idea that what God joins, men may not break. Many people cried as they heard those words; I saw old women cry, as well as even young men. Somehow it is understood that everyone, old or young alike, men and women, all want the same thing: intimacy. We feel that intimacy, eventually means we are happy at last and we no longer are left to our individual selves. But this is a false truth. Intimacy is not happiness, and even if it was, many people lack the skills to even attain intimacy in their relationships.

The problem is not lack of intimacy that causes marriages to fail, it is that couples do not know how to communicate and compromise with each other. Relationships work best when both partners can communicate to each other what it is they want first. After this, the idea is that you can compromise with each other on how both of you can be happy. Many people end up divorcing, because they can not actually be honest with themselves and communicate their wants to their spouse. Other marriages end because spouses want different things and they never can reach a compromise.

If your marriage is in turmoil and you are pretty unhappy, the best thing to do is to start with yourself. Ask yourself what would truly make you happy? Do not think about foolish fantasies or extravagant ideas, be honest with yourself. What do you want? Once you figure out what it is makes you happy, take some time and tell your partner what that is. When you have this conversation, you need to make the point that this is what would make you happy and that this is not about your partner at all. Take time to listen to what your partner has to say about you. Recognize that no one gets everything they want out of life, much like romantic love, is an ideal that is very often hard to live up to, so are many of our desires.

Next give your partner time to come up with their own needs and have them be open and honest as much as possible. You are allowed to ask questions of your spouse, but only for clarification, never accuse or blame them for anything. Remember that all you are trying to do is to listen to what each other has to say. After both partners have said everything that they wanted to say about their own individual happiness, take some time to reflect on what was said. Be proud in the fact that both of you have made it this far and that you are still married, but also try to understand what kind of relationship both of you can have now that you both know what each other wants.

You will find that either your relationship can continue or that you are not willing to compromise in order to stay in the relationship. After talking to each other, you will have intimacy, because you have opened yourself up and shared yourself, however intimacy alone cannot save your marriage. The hardest part comes next, which is the compromise, because after all we are talking about marriage and this is what that holy union is all about: surviving one day at a time together.

Women No Longer Need Heroes

Sometimes pop songs are all we listen to. Of late I have been thinking of Bonnie Tyler singing Holding Out For A Hero, and wondering if women really need any heroes nowadays? The song starts out asking, “Where have all the good men gone? and where are all the gods?”, needless to say women have pretty much intimidated them all, to the point that men have stopped listening. Relationships have become a tangled mess of complexities that men often fail to navigate successfully, or which some men find too daunting to even approach. This has caused both genders to worry. The heroes are dead. Men never wanted to be heroes, to begin with, for the most part, men want attention, but on their own terms. Women who see themselves as very perceptive and emotionally intelligent, (they have to be given the society we live in), often misunderstand men. For our part, men are not traditionally good communicators of their wants and needs. This is something that men need to work on. But women need to speak up as well. Waiting for a hero, the shining knight, does not work very well with the image of a modern day Miss Independent woman. I guess it is hard not to go crazy, trying to be two things at once, both heroine and supplicant. So why do it? Relationships are not about being romanced or playing games, they are about getting what you want from your partner. Be honest with yourself and then ask for what you want. Romance and games are fun, but they are not what two grown people should base their relationship on. At the end of the day, are you happy or miserable? Chances are there isn’t any hero coming to your rescue, and even if there was, can he or she even hear you?

Holiday Stress

As a kid, The Holidays rocked. It was a time to kick back and stay home from school. As an adult The Holidays became a stressful time when you find yourself doing things you literally hate doing. All of a sudden you find yourself in stores you never go into, waiting in line to buy something you would never buy yourself, and the routine schedule that you keep to, is totally off track as you try to fit in family parties, shopping, gift wrapping, and through it all you start stressing out over your weight, your relatives getting along, and then it finally hits you: The Holidays suck! About the only real joyful moment I had last holiday season was watching my youngest son gorge himself in presents. He was so excited, I thought he’d pass out from sheer joy. This year, I’m really thinking The Grinch might have the right idea after all. The Holidays really are for kids.

I was looking through some of my old writings, when I stumbled upon this little rant, that I wrote back in 2004:

Relationships Suck During the Holidays

Men often have the luxury of not thinking about lots of stuff. We worry about ourselves most of the time, and that is just great, but around the holidays we lose this luxury. For some unknown reason the holidays bring out this idea that peace and goodwill are a good thing and that we should be polite and forgiving of others. Now this is all nice and dandy, when you are talking about say dueling nations or strangers you don’t really know all that well, but for your significant other to suggest this about your family is just ludicrous. It is prone to failure each and every year. This is why the holidays are so stressful, it is not that there is something magical about this time of year, nope, it’s that your girlfriend or most likely your wife decides for you that you must forgive everything about your relatives and just pretend that everything is civil and that they are perfectly normal people and that you are totally fine with everything. In other words, suppress, suppress, suppress everything and drink your eggnog.

And sure it works, this plan of women to make the world peaceful for just the holidays, that is until you just can’t take it anymore and you curse out your brother, your sister-in-law, your father, or whoever it is you just can’t get along with at the dinner table. Five minutes after you’ve stormed out or made someone cry, or worse spill their eggnog, you realize just what a dumb ass you are and that you didn’t solve anything by screaming your feelings out like that. But it is too late, you’ve ruined another holiday reunion and everyone knew you had to do it too. Suddenly you are the reason why everyone tries to be polite and all peace-loving around the holidays, you just realized that you are the problem, and not your uncle who cheats on his wife, or your crazy mother-in-law who is secretly plotting to take revenge since you married her daughter. That’s right, it’s all YOU!

But wait, you can still blame your girlfriend/wife. If she had not screamed at you to be all civil and happy-smiling during the holidays, maybe, just maybe you would not have exploded. Maybe she was plotting against you all along, to make you be the fallguy this year, so she would not be the one to be the problem one! But all of this is too late you have ruined the holidays and the eggnog is now smelling kind of funny.

There is always next year, when you’ll try to remember to be yourself for the holidays instead of trying to be all merry and polite. Maybe just maybe next year you won’t ruin the holidays and you won’t have to drink this bad eggnog.