The Huffington Post has an article by Dr. Terri Orbuch that I found interesting. It starts
Most of the cards had typical comments like "Always compromise," "Be honest and truthful," or "Never go to bed mad." As a relationship expert, I knew that the majority of the advice was not supported by scientific findings. So I began to wonder: how much of what people know about relationships is repeated as fact but is more like fiction?
"I discuss one important trait that happy couples in my long-term study share: they have learned how to have realistic expectations of their relationships and partner. To take your relationship from good to great, it's essential to transform unrealistic expectations -- the ones that rarely get met and then cause you frustration, anger, sadness, hurt, and other negative emotions -- into more realistic versions that will be met."
Yup. Just like I said in my post in the thread about "amazing" sex.
I can recall after we built our first home when the kids were very small being real mad at him...So mad that I went to bed on the sofa...Now having a husband that can sleep through a bomb attack, he never knew I did this...I ended up paying the price...I fell off the sofa and near broke my arm....So now I go to bed...
I'm a professional counselor and behavioral consultant who's worked successfully with hundreds of distressed couples, individuals and families experiencing crisis around relationship issues. I've studied and worked with the evidence-base or best practices in marital counseling for a number of years.
The ideas of "realistic expectations" and "shared values" really capture important parts of the larger picture for how healthy marriages work. Yet, I feel the incredible importance of developing a core relationship maintenance skills set, is under stated in this article.
The best research in couples counseling has clearly identified a basic set of protective relationship-strengthening skills, that transform even the most emotionally devastated and disconnected couples. This includes couples who report high levels of distrust, fear, loneliness, hurt and anger in their relationships.
In most cases, without these basic skills, shared values and realistic relationship expectancies are simply not enough to effectively navigate the most common sources of conflict that threaten the average relationship (i.e. conflict related to sex (emotional/sexual affairs), money, in-law relationships, day to day work load sharing and role/parenting clarifications etc.,).
I do agree that evidence-based relationship maintenance skills only come into play in healthy long term relationships when emotional distress levels increase. But learning to identify, effectively express, listen for and manage emotional distress and the frustration of underlying core relationship needs (i.e. attachment-based), is itself one of those critical relationship maintenance skills that needs to be learned and practiced. Otherwise, the skill is unavailable to the couple to access when they really need it.
In one of my favorite and often stated examples, basic relationship maintenance involves a set of skills like those needed to drive a car safely. If you don't learn how to drive properly, driving can be harmful, even if you share values and have realistic expectations about where you'd like to drive to, - effectively navigating through common relationship challenges, conflicts and stressors.
Once you do some basic learning and practice of your core relationship maintenance skills, they become automatic (like driving), but you only drive when it's necessary.
Thanks for sharing such a thought0provoking and beneficial article!
Your Online Marriage Coach,
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That's not cool of your wife, to put such a girly color on the walls. Both spouses should have a say in decorating, although this is usually the domain of the wife. She should still be willing to compromise with you.
It's a good article and I agree with most of it but it wasn't clear if the author felt "be truthful and honest" was a myth or not. It's NOT a myth IMO.
I have to agree with andy32m that facebook and the internet in general can be a door opener to promoting problems in marriage. This forum is chuck full of stories where one partner found an online "friend" and started an innocent volley with them which ended up into an emotional or physical affair.