Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 69 of 167 
Next page End Contents 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74  

life." For me, the best way to get over pining for a lost love (after a
month or so) is to begin carefully looking for a better relationship
(Mathes, 1988, found several women reduced their jealousy this way,
men did not). Other people need some time alone. See discussion of
divorce and re-marriage. 
Avoiding facing marital problems
Some married people avoid expressing their unhappiness to "keep
peace." Although well intentioned, this concealing of your feelings and
pain from your spouse month after month causes serious harm to your
marriage. The quiet one is denying the truth, pretending to be happier
than he/she is, minimizing the marital problems, endangering his/her
own health, avoiding a vital task merely because it is stressful, trying
to play it safe, acting uncaringly and hostilely towards his/her spouse,
and reneging on his/her sacred vows to preserve the marriage. This is
kind of keeping the peace is the kind of behavior that causes
problems. Honest openness is needed to maintain a marriage. Don't
cop out. Learn about "I" statements and empathy responding in
chapter 13, then get to work. 
Some writers, e.g. Cole & Laibson (1982), believe that the hiding
of disagreements between husband and wife also gives children a
distorted view of marriage and deprives the children of the chance to
learn how to handle conflict. We need to realize that (1) all thinking
people disagree occasionally and (2) anger doesn't have to destroy
love. Many happy couples fight verbally or argue. Cole and Laibson
think parents should "fight" (disagree or argue but not get verbally or
physically abusive) in front of the kids and especially show the children
that arguments can and should lead to workable solutions. Children
shouldn't witness certain arguments, however, such as about sex,
child-rearing, money, relatives, or divorce, nor should the children
become involved in the argument if it is just between the parents.
Always assure the children that they aren't causing the marital
problems. No parent should ever involve a child as an emotional
substitute for the spouse, an ally against the other parent, or as a
pawn in the marital wars. The rules for fair, good, constructive
"fighting" are given in chapter 13; two psychologists have written a
book on how to conduct effective, beneficial family fights (Rubin &
Rubin, 1988). If you can't follow these rules and the arguments
become vicious, name-calling, destructive battles, both partners
should get counseling. 
Judith Siegel's new book, "What Children Learn from Their Parents'
Marriage," may help frightened or irritable or distant spouses uncover
the source of their emotions. Her point is that, as young children, we
observe closely the interactions between Mom and Dad. Those
experiences form a lasting basis for our expectations and fears of
marriage and intimacy. Unfortunately, many children accurately see
unhealthy relationships between their parents... plus, and causing
Previous page Top Next page

« Back