From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Four Ways to Sabotage A Marriage

Marriage, like the rest of life, is usually full of surprises. What is not surprising is that all marriages experience problems from time to time. What is surprising is that people expect their marriages to he perfect all of the time. It is also surprising that when marriages get into trouble, there is usually one surprised spouse, and one who is not surprised at all. Follow me, if you will, through a few scenarios of how to sabotage and then, how to repair a marriage.

People don't say what is really on their minds for a variety of reasons. The process of distorting the truth may begin with good intentions, such as I didn't want to seem too demanding" or "It's not that big of a deal." A husband or wife may be annoyed by a certain habit or trait in a partner, but feel even more uncomfortable communicating those feelings directly So instead, they say or do something else which they hope will somehow get the message across. Unfortunately this usually doesn't work. Save yourself and your mate a lot of trouble. Just tell it like it is.

At the extreme, spouses can he made to feel like they have criminal records, of which they are reminded on a regular basis. Needless to say, no one likes to be reminded of past failings. Like in court, if an issue has already been resolved, it should not he admissible as evidence.

Instead of viewing sex as a victory for one and a forfeit for the other, love must be viewed as a bridge between partners. Making love does much to restore and maintain a marriage. of course, this assumes that both partners want to improve the relationship.

It is important to realize that people naturally experience doubt about themselves and their relationships from time to time. If announced in time, problems can usually be fixed. In fact, it takes a brave spouse to admit unhappiness in the effort to improve things.

When marriages become tiring, loveless, and constraining, people feel trapped in impossible and inflexible situations. This tug-of-war can lead to marital disaster or to a healthy opportunity to redefine the goals of the relationship. The truth is that every relationship needs maintenance and improvement on a regular basis. This should really come as no surprise!

ęCopyright, 1998, 1999, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated February 27, 1999 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.