Happy marriage is technology
Yes, you were crazy about her or him, and love love love …
- What specific roles do you play in your husband’s life, and he in yours?
- What do you get in exchange for this?
- What is the description of your marriage?
Marriage is hard.
Any long-term relationship between two partners is complex
Sustaining romantic love can be difficult.
Two main reasons for the unhappy marriage
Marriages and other serious relationships fail for two fundamental reasons.
- You don’t know what you want.
- You can’t express what you want.
End of story. No, not the end of the story. An unhappy marriage gets more small things.
Common reasons for relationship failure
There are many common reasons for unhappy relationship:
- You are being dishonest with yourself.
- You are dishonest with your partner.
- Expectations are not in vain.
- Passivity or lack of gratitude.
The list of specific possible problems is long, but most of them fall into the above two main categories.
Healthy couples know how to disagree with each other
Narcissistic need to be right every single time!
Or there’s a need to get even.
Or a desire for mutually assured destruction.
Create balance in your marriage
It’s also fairly low-risk and easy to road-test without sacrificing much of anything. The next time your partner says, “I’m sorry I did ____________________________ [fill in the really stupid thing]”—and it was genuinely a stupid thing your partner did, like not listening to you or not giving credit to your perspective—instead of pointing out how very stupid it was, why not respond with “I’m sorry, too”—which, in my experience, nine times out of ten, will completely disarm your partner.
“Wait—you’re sorry?” he might say.
“Yes, I’m sorry for the way I handled it,” you’ll say.
“I’m sorry if I didn’t see that you were in a bad place. I’m sorry I didn’t realize what you needed from me in that moment and let the conversation go down the road it did.”
What you do with that kind of reaction—and what your partner should, ideally, do back—creates balance.
- Balance of fault.
- Balance of virtue.
- Balance of investment in the relationship.
Remember, good relationships require deep compromise —yes, to the point that even an important value or two is sacrificed. It’s natural to want to win the argument, to want our individual perspective.
There’s the world we want to live in, and the world we live in.
Be honest about what you’re actually capable of doing.
In relationships, it’s important, to be honest with yourself about your real, actual capabilities.
You need to understand what you want; and balance it against what you’re entitled to.
There’s almost no limit to what people might want, while there are rather concrete limits to what they’re entitled to; thus, the former must ultimately be driven by the latter.
Try to “live in truth” when it comes to your targets.
But, try to avoid goals that are conclusions, that are destinations instead of steps to get there.
You declare “I want to be in a happy relationship.”
Okay. May I ask, “What does that mean?” I would want to clarify. “Can you try that again?”
You – “I want to be in a relationship where I have companionship during the most enjoyable times (to share the joy) and during the most difficult times (to give me support).”
A little bit better, though still not there. But you’ve described something at least a little more tangible.
Why wait until you’re getting divorced (or heading in that direction) to be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of in your relationship with your spouse and/or your children?
Why not look closely at certain key areas in your marriage and give yourself an unflinchingly honest progress report as to what you’re actually doing?
While you’re at it, maybe you can compare that totally candid report against an equally honest, tangible set of goals that aren’t made up of conclusory statements lacking in measurable meaning.
“I want to be more present in my marriage.”
What the hell does that mean? It’s a conclusion. It’s a destination, not a path to get there.
How about something more tangible, like “I want to stop checking my Facebook when my husband is talking to me” or “I want to do more activities on the weekends with my husband.” Those are two great examples of ways to be “more present” in your marriage, and they’re tangible and measurable.
“I want to feel closer to my spouse.”
Again—I know what you mean, but I have no idea how you could measure it and I’ll bet that, with five minutes of reflection, you could give me a list of tangible, clear, and measurable behaviors that would produce that desired effect: “I want to have mutually satisfying sex with my spouse at least twice per week.” “I want to remember to compliment my spouse at least once per day and, ideally, to have him compliment me.” These are both behaviors that would likely result in “feeling closer” to your spouse.
Be honest with yourself, deeply and painfully honest.
Admit to yourself what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.
Admit to yourself how much time you have to devote to the goals you’re trying to achieve as a partner, and what you’re doing with that time.
Be honest about the aspects of partnership that you enjoy and the ones that you hate (or maybe could take or leave)
As hard as that is to read. Maybe you’re thinking it’s easy for me to write?
It might seem as if mid-coitus is the best time to throw a new sexual idea into the repertoire,but if you’ve been in a long sexual relationship,chances are you’ve already got your partner’s sexual menu, whether it’s appetizer, entrée, or dessert.
How to change your unhappy marriage?
2. Change your partner (change the way they are in the relationship).
3. End the relationship.
Bad way to fix an unhappy marriage
Better way to fix an unhappy marriage
But I would really love to get back to that passionate connection we had when we were first dating and we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.”
If people’re stupid, they phrase it less artfully: “What’s going on with us and sex? It’s been once a week for I don’t know how long and it’s been robotic and predictable and utterly devoid of oral. You’re killing me. Learn how to do sex better.”
This is criticism: the opposite of why we fall in love.
We fall in love not only because we feel affection for our partners, but because of the way their affection makes us feel. The ways our partners accept us make it easier to accept ourselves. The ways our partners embrace and enjoy us, make us embrace and enjoy ourselves more fully.
The best way to change your romantic partner and fix your marriage
But honestly, it’s just a nice way to get what you need.
What’s true for lab rats is true for men
As to changing yourself?
It is not cynical to suggest that a good, healthy relationship might feature a fairly steady diet of both partners manipulating each other. We manipulate our children all the time— promising them rewards if they win the “quiet game” by going the whole car ride home without talking; telling them that maybe Santa will bring whatever stupid piece of plastic crap they’re clamoring for in the store so we can get out of there without having to debate the matter—and it would be ridiculous to suggest that in doing so, we somehow don’t love them with all our heart.
- Am I doing my part to take care of the marriage so that it thrives?
- How important is the marriage itself?
- There are dozens of monthly wedding magazines and thousands of wedding-planning websites.
- Are you putting as much effort into the marriage as you did into planning the wedding?
- What are you willing to do to maintain it?
- How willing are you to make compromises?
Adjust your marriage
You can adjust a marriage and in so doing strengthen it.
1. Remind yourself from time to time that the only rules your particular marriage has are the ones that you and your spouse agree to. You get to pick which side of the bed you each sleep on. Or whether you sleep in the same bed. Or whether you sleep in the same room or even in the same house or time zone. Marriage is a tool, and as with any other tool, you don’t have to use it the same way that everybody else does. Your marriage is a unique union of two unique individuals. Embrace that. Make it work for you.
2. Think about divorce. I mean, think about the reality that you don’t have to stay married. Marriage is a contract; every day, you wake up and decide to continue the contract. You can terminate the contract anytime you like. Sometimes contemplating what it would really look like to be separate from your spouse can help to bring things sharply into focus, either giving you a renewed appreciation for your spouse or bringing home some hard truths about the state of your union.
3. Know that a marriage can end without the marriage itself ending. Huh? What I mean is this: If a marriage is a series of chapters in a book, it might help you to realize that each chapter can be viewed as its own mini marriage. What worked to feed the marriage you had pre-children might not work after the children leave home. It might be missing an ingredient or two, or it might have new limitations that make the old ingredients ineffective at producing the same result. To look at your marriage not as a singular event or contract, but as a series of contracts might remind you that you have more control over its shape than you often feel (and passively lament) that you do. If I may put it another way: I don’t think there are any hacks to a good marriage.