Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Senior Couple Lounging on a Wood Deck

Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Of course we have to discuss the day-to-day upkeep of the household and so on with our partner, but this can get dull fast. However, sometimes when you’re sitting around, talking about the old days you can get to laughing and really get the old engines purring. Reminiscing can renew your relationship, so says a study out of the University of Queensland.

Just last year psychologists Kim Halford and Susan Osgarby sought out to test positive reminisce as a tool to boost relationships. Participants were all married for at least one year and ranged in age from 21 to 65. They all had varying degrees of marital satisfaction. None were in couple’s therapy. Two groups were created from this one pool. There were 27 put in one group and 25 in the other. Each person was asked to describe a “really positive relationship memory.” Then each partner proceeded to spend five minutes explaining one. Important events in their life together such as the birth of a child, their wedding, holidays, and shared successes such as buying their home.

Happy couples were more intimate than distressed ones as shown by this study. Happy couples became even happier sharing their reminiscences together, while distressed couples became sad. Researchers believe this is because they realize how much happier they had once been.  Happy couples seemed to be telling the stories jointly, joining in and adding facts or color as the other went on.  They elaborated on one another’s comments and this seemed to make them happier too. For happy couples even negative things that happened in their life were recalled positively. Happy couples even hugged and shared close behavior, which was absent in the distressed couples.

A lesson to learn from this study is not taking part in negativity in your relationship. Distressed couples criticize, invalidate and take part in negative behaviors towards one another. This reminiscing can make you sad if you are in a distressed relationship. If so, realize when negative behaviors pop up. Agree to take a time out at these times, and come back later with clearer thoughts and discuss calmly the issues at hand. Reminisce often. Get those old feelings flowing again. If reminiscing makes you happy let it renew your relationship. If not find out why and fix it. For more advice read, Renewing Your Wows!- Seven Powerful Tools to Ignite the Spark and Transform Your Relationship by Jeffrey H. Sumber.

Which is better, Adultery or Divorce?

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Which is better, Adultery or Divorce?

When in a dysfunctional marriage where you both feel a real relationship is out of the question, but you decide to stay together for financial reasons, for the sake of the children or because it’s too painful or burdensome to get divorced, in this situation it’s difficult to know how to proceed. Is adultery then the only way forward? Or should they just go ahead and get divorced? In the long run, which is better, adultery or divorce? Each person and couple in this unfortunate predicament must evaluate carefully how they each feel, using their values, judgment and beliefs in order to decide what is best for them. So then since everyone is different, we can’t ask which is better in a large blanket statement, since everyone must evaluate for themselves. But in general, which of the two alternatives is morally a better choice, adultery or divorce? This is not in terms of a bilateral divorce where both parties decide to get divorced. Nor is it unilateral where one person wants a divorce but the other does not. This is when one person is interested in taking part in a romantic and physical relationship with another outside the marriage.

From an ethical standpoint divorce is a far better choice as it does not involve deception. If you are in a loveless marriage but decide to stay together for financial reasons but are childless talk to your spouse about having an open marriage. At least if there is a way to communicate honestly about things, perhaps there is a chance not of reconciling the relationship but the mutual respect that both people shared. If the couple has children, it’s a much thornier issue. They will find out sooner or later that mommy or daddy has someone else. So how do you counteract this? Divorce would be the better option there. Or perhaps separation if the financial burden is too much. If this is a high conflict relationship get out. High conflict homes are the worst environments to raise children in. It would be much better to have two divorced but happier, well-adjusted homes than one miserable one together. The deception part of adultery, especially if it’s long term or serial adultery is the worst part. It shows a grave disrespect for the other person. Like it or not when we marry we attach ourselves to a legal and social union. It may not be easy when marriage falls apart. If you are in this situation, learn to talk to one another and solve things so you can find mutual happiness in some way. See what can be worked out. Give respect and expect it in return. Sooner or later all the tumblers will fall into place. To learn more about adultery in marriage read, Parents Who Cheat: How Children and Adults are Affected When Their Parents are Unfaithful by Ana Nogales, Ph.D.

Can we save our Marriage?

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Can we save our Marriage?

This is the number one question couples in marriage counseling ask the therapist. People never know when a relationship is salvageable and when to go their separate ways. There are many people who focus more on getting out of a bad relationship, than on making the one they have worthwhile. Focusing so much on getting out can make you ignore the positive qualities the marriage has. When the focus for one person is a breakup, their preoccupation may inadvertently be the thing driving the couple toward divorce. On the other hand, one should be cognizant that every marriage has its ups and downs. Every relationship has the potential to end. There are of course certain steps you can take to bring a relationship down from the ledge. But a better strategy is to form a deep emotional connection to one another. This will motivate you to work your problems out and build a stronger, happier marriage.  Practicing generosity, kindness, compassion, respect and honesty, mutually, will make the marriage far more fulfilling. When each person is fulfilled, divorce becomes the furthest thing from their minds. Sometimes though, there are significant forces working on a couple, making happy reunification unlikely.

Certainly not all marriages can be saved, or should be. There are lots of unhealthy behaviors that can inhabit a marriage; addiction with no willingness to seek treatment, chronic lying, serial infidelity, neglect, abusive behavior, whether physical or psychological, and much more. These are violations to the commitment you both share within the bond of matrimony. Doing these things violates the sanctimonious vow you gave to one another on your wedding day. The most important thing is whether or not both parties have a willingness to admit what has gone wrong, and work toward solving the issues that they have. Mere acknowledgment of the problem is not enough. If there is no willingness on the part of both parties to change behavior, there may be no reason to move forward with the relationship at all. Destructive patterns played out over and over again, without any hope of relief, is a recipe for divorce. Recognizing these patterns and the role each party plays in them is the first step. But trying different strategies when the problems arise, and varying those strategies depending upon the situation are also key. It’s important to remember not to get discouraged if things don’t work out just the way you planned. It may need some tweaking. If you love your spouse and are committed to the marriage, and they feel the same way, then everything you need is there to make it happen, and make things work.

There is no easy answer for knowing when to stay together and when to move apart. Each situation is dependent upon the individuals, what has happened between them, what they value and how they look at things. Perception is invariably important. Circumstances for one couple that would be deal breakers to another merely have to be negotiated. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to have the best possible outcome. One of the things to keep in mind is that working through the problems of a shaky marriage can be painful, sometimes even excruciating. For those who don’t have the ability to tolerate this sort of pain, the impulse to end the relationship, or manipulate their spouse into filing for divorce, can be strong. Marriages that are in trouble are often helped through counseling. There are lots of situations in marriage that are difficult to maneuver. It is good to know when you and your spouse are in over your heads.  Each person should develop the inner qualities on their own that will help make this marriage work. You can be your own psychologist and develop your own inner workings in order to be more honest, compassionate, engaged and loving. When you give something your best, there is always the risk that it might not work. Evaluate the emotional level you are both at. Have a long, calm discussion. Give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried. But you two may just come out stronger, and more loving in the end due to this time when you struggled together. For more help finding marital bliss pick up a copy of, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love by Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W. and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W.

How to Kill a Marriage

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How to Kill a Marriage

Lots of people picture the perfect wedding, and little happy Norman Rockwell-like vignettes of what it’s like afterwards. But the truth is, after the honeymoon phase is over, there is a huge adjustment period where you really start to find out all the deep issues, the quirks, the funny little things, the scars, the emotional baggage and all the stuff you never even considered about the person who will now sit across from your breakfast table for as long as you both shall live, or as fast as you can drive to a courthouse, whichever you decide.

Lots of people fall into patterns and then wonder why their marriage falls apart. They don’t look at what happens as a phenomenon with steps and each person’s interpretation of what went on and what was said, and a conclusion in which the couple finally sees what’s happening and how to break out of it. Instead, they often fall into a routine and barely stray from it. The routine itself may be destroying nuptial bliss. Perhaps the energy or care that needs to be invested in a marriage is missing. But there are common routines people fall into that begin to pull you two apart, without you even knowing it. Here’s how to kill a marriage.

First, realize that watching TV after the kids go to bed and not interacting is a marriage killer. Of course you’re tired, everyone is nowadays. But you have to invest a little time in your marriage to make it last. Turn off the TV a couple of times a week and talk to each other, have fun, and maybe even get a little frisky. Remember when you two used to send lovely messages via text or email during the day? If you don’t want your marriage to last, by all means don’t keep it up. A phone call at lunch may be nice too, depending on what you do at lunch and your schedules. But just a simple “Hey good looking” via text may be all that is needed to make your spouse feel appreciated. Make sure you don’t stop saying “I love you.” It matters. It makes all the difference. It reassures, calms and makes the person feel special and loved. Don’t skimp out on those unless you want the marriage to end.

If you really want things to go downhill fast, when you mess up, don’t apologize. If you apologize you’ll show that your spouse is more important than yourself. And who would ever want to do a selfless thing like that in a marriage? Don’t cuddle, kiss, hug or be intimate. That would definitely strengthen your bond and make you much happier and less stressed. Lastly, nagging is a great way to put a marriage on the ropes. Finding better and more effective ways of communicating is a way to bring it back. For more marriage advice read, I Don’t Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage by Dr. David Clarke & William G. Clarke.

At What Point Should Marital Problems Lead to Divorce?

MARRIAGE-PROBLEMS

At What Point Should Marital Problems Lead to Divorce?

Anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you how painful and draining the process is, financially, physically and emotionally. Lots of people are staying permanently separated today to avoid such pain. Others find it a reason to reinvest in their marriage. Many people believe you should give a marriage every possible chance before divorcing. Others believe that if marriage isn’t giving you fulfillment or happiness why stay married? Though we all have to deal with the practicalities of our situations in life, considering our financial and emotional well-being in terms of a divorce, and of course not every divorce is contentious.

That said, at what point should marital problems lead to divorce? That is a different line for every couple, considering their reasons for divorcing, their financial and emotional reserves, how antagonistic the relationship is and so on. If there is still love there but the spark is dead, there are ways to reignite it. If there is a lack of communication, it can be resolved. But there are certain issues that cannot. Long conversations, marriage counseling, even a trial separation can work wonders. But if one of these issues creeps in, divorce is a better option.

Is your spouse abusive to the children, you or themselves? If this is the case, divorce is a far better option. Abuse can never be tolerated. This sort of household dynamic is toxic for everyone and cannot be resolved. Get out immediately. If neither one of you feel you want to be in the marriage anymore, that it doesn’t fulfill either one of you in any way, and you are just going through the motions for some sense of duty, get out. The truth is you can’t fake marriage. And if it has no flavor for you or your spouse it’s just going to wear on you until it becomes toxic. If there is nothing to reinvest in, simply move on.

As we grow older we change. We get a different set of wants, needs, values and desires. But if our spouse is unable to accommodate something that is very important to us, and we are unwilling to accommodate one of their needs, divorce may be the only answer. Another marriage ender is a total lack of respect for one another. If you two exchange a half dozen barbs before breakfast, this marriage is suffering from irreconcilable differences. The level of antagonism has reached the level of toxicity. There is no saving the patient. Lastly, if you don’t agree on whether to have children or not, this is definitely a deal breaker. One or another of you will regret and blame the other. Instead, find someone you are compatible with who shares your outlook on children. For more advice read, Before You Throw in the Towel: Twelve Things You Should Consider Before Filing for Divorce by Bob Moorehead.