Enhancing your relationship in spite of differences
My husband and I have a communications problem. We have been together for over twelve years and have two children. My husband has never been a great talker but I thought things would change after marriage. However, things have gotten worse. What I first though was quiet strength, I now find distant and uncaring. The more I tell him of my dissatisfaction, the more he states that no matter what he does, I’m not satisfied. The only thing we agree upon is that we fight over the same old things, with no resolution. Is there an answer besides divorce?
It was important for you to realize that learning about relationships does not begin with marriage but rather during ones growing up years. It’s the day in, day out experience of witnessing and living within the relationship of ones parents. Therefore, expecting someone to be a certain way after merely saying, “I do” is unrealistic and potentially laying the groundwork for years of unhappiness. It’s not the crisis, in and of itself that is most apt to do in a marriage but rather the seemingly small things that constantly come to the surface, building up and never getting resolved.
To strengthen your odds of successfully resolving your differences you need to realize that the two of you are exactly that…different. Too often, couples get into a right and wrong. When you come from that point of view, there is most often a winner and a loser. However, when you begin to think of each of you as being different, coming from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, you will less likely get into a power struggle.
Once you see each other as merely different, you can then begin viewing your partner’s needs as valid as yours. From this you need to identify your needs in the relationship while understanding and respecting the needs of your mate. Once identified, you need to sit down with your mate and appropriately negotiate getting those needs met through compromise. Merely asking what your mate thinks and truly listening will go a long way to resolving issues.
Counseling can also help you learn more ways to effectively identify your core needs in a relationship and learn how to negotiate in getting them effectively met, while respecting the needs of each other. Understanding and exploring other ways of effectively handling differences can go a long way in strengthening you relationship.
Questions and comments can be sent to: Raymond Shocki, PhD, LMFT, LCSW, through this website or by writing to him at the Life Source Center, 710 Main Street, Planstville, CT 06479.