9 pitfalls you should know about marriage
Humans love to talk about love. And moreover, they love to feel it. There are entire libraries full of advice about all things love and romance. When two people are in love and are in a relationship, there are always conflicts. Dr. Kelly Flanagan is a therapist who has helped many couples. After years of experience, he has an unconventional theory. Relationships don't fail because of bad communication, but because of these 9 surprising mistakes.
We marry people because we love them for exactly who they are.
But people are constantly changing. That is why you should never marry someone expecting that they will always stay the same. Marry the person that you can accompany on your journey through life, and someone who you would enjoy having by your side as well.
Marriage won't solve your loneliness.
Life entails loneliness. It's part of the human experience. A marriage changes nothing about this, at least not fully. Nevertheless, we blame our partners for feeling lonely. But it is impossible to completely get rid of loneliness in a marriage, but rather one should share it to reduce the lonely moments for a certain amount of time.
Self-doubt is something we all experience.
If the person you love notices a part of you that you don't like, you want to blame them for noticing it. One's partner is supposed to ignore or even love your flaws, right? It doesn't work that way, however. That is why individual therapy is often better than marriage counseling. For if you work on your own weaknesses, you don't blame them on others.
We all have an ego. And we need it to protect ourselves from humiliation and self-degradation. In a marriage, however, living in a relationship on equal footing, ego is often the wall between us. We have to tear this wall down. We have to be open and forgive, instead of being overly defensive and vengeful.
Life is messy. And marriage is life.
So your marriage will also be messy. We blame our partners too quickly when something goes wrong. But that just adds conflict to mess. We have to stop blaming each other and accept when everything doesn't go as smoothly as we want it to. That is how a couple solves problems together.
It is difficult to be empathetic.
To avoid an empathy standoff, one partner must take the first step, not knowing if that empathy will be reciprocated. But without embracing the risk of offering empathy, it's even more difficult for the other partner to do so.
We care for our children more than our partners.
Your children should never be more important than your marriage! Nor should they be less important, of course. When they are more important, your children can tell and can get away with anything. When they are less important, they cause stress until they receive attention. Family is an experiment at finding the right balance.
The hidden power game.
Most marriage problems arise from a daily power struggle for attention and closeness. Men normally want less, women want more — but it is often the other way around. Much marital tension centers around who determines the closeness or distance between the partners. If it's not discussed openly, the underlying pressure can find its way into almost every argument.
We don’t know to maintain our interest in one person.
In today's modern world, our attention is always being diverted into a million directions. The most essential skill of life is being able to concentrate on something or someone. That is the art of meditation. We need to learn to not be seduced by superficial distractions, rather to maintain focus on what is the most essential. This is the most important skill if your marriage is to last for a long time.
So, food for thought. Did any of these points surprise you? What's been your secret to a successful marriage? Or the most critical errors you wish you could undo?