Nobody, yes, nobody knows what they’re really signing up for when they get married and the divorce stats are proof of that bold statement. It’s like trying to explain love to a 6 year old. It just doesn’t work. You can read all the books on the subject but that could be useless if you don’t realize one main factor. That factor is:
Marriage requires work from both parties.
Sure, you’ve heard that a million times, but do you truly live it? Do both of you truly understand the depths of what trade offs you two must make to have a successful marriage?
That time I sent my poor wife to the Emergency Room
Many years ago (before I did any type of counseling), my wife would get shortness of
breath. Over time, she’d get shortness of breath and the shakes. Then the shakes got more violent when she’d feel like she’d lose control of her body. My wife and I were completely freaked out, and like any good husband would, I rushed her to the E.R. We frantically waited.
Of course, you always think of the worst. Was it some unknown illness? Will they have a cure? Have they seen people go through this before? If so, what is the success rate of people recovering?
The doctor came back with the results. We were waiting to hear a word we’ve never heard of like Yoursickandwillnevergetbetter-itus , but then he said to my wife, “You just had a panic attack.” My wife and I looked at each other completely dumbfounded.
After the E.R., we both just sat in silence in the car. It was eerie. It was awkward. I didn’t expect to hear the words “anxiety” or “panic attack” and I don’t think my wife did either. What does this mean for us? Are we falling apart? Do we not know each other? Have we lost touch? What’s happening to us?
I hated going through that and I hated thinking that, but this was truly one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I realized I did this to my wife. How? What was I missing? Thankfully, I’ve gotten better insight on this because of marriage counseling.
How many times have we heard this one? “You have to communicate. You have to make time for each other.” Yea, but who in the world has time for that?
Well the truth is your excuse is no excuse. Your lack of communication helps the misery you’re in.
Not talking promotes your fantasy. Our brain has an amazing ability to sometimes fill in gaps and can frequently “make up” its own story when it doesn’t have all of the information.
For example, if your spouse showed up at 6 pm sharp everyday, you’ll probably be fine and not need much communication on the subject of when they’re coming home. But, what if your spouse showed up at 9 pm instead, didn’t call to inform you, or didn’t tell you why they were late after they arrived? Naturally, your brain is going to explode into assumptions (filling in the gaps)that, many times, are not realistic. The lack of communication can easily start an argument over our exaggerated assumptions.
Communication in marriage isn’t just chit chatting, it’s one of your greatest sources of information. It’s a gauge into how your spouse is doing and how you two are doing. It is the “board room meeting” of your relationship. It is the distress call on your island. It is the greatest weapon you can have to prevent assumptions and nonsensical arguments.
I lacked good communication with my wife and that aided the E.R. trip that horrific day.
When I didn’t communicate, I couldn’t understand what went wrong. I couldn’t see her point, because I really didn’t understand it. Instead my assumptions and my selfish ways just blamed.
We love to blame. Blaming says, “You’re the problem, not me. Go fix yourself and hurry up, I don’t have all day!” When you blame, you’re just telling us how much you may not want to understand. Whether it’s anger, depression, jealousy, or just simply laziness, you owe it to your spouse to have a heart of understanding. Did you forget? You’re not the only one in this relationship!
Understanding works when you’re willing to also be patient. The two go hand in hand. By the way, why are you so impatient? It can’t always be about you. When you’ve made yourself the sole attention, you’ve stolen the attention from your relationship. This is where the attention is supposed to belong.
If you can communicate, you are already light years ahead of many. Now you must slow down and be willing to understand. This is where your deepest connection to your spouse is; understanding. No marriage lasts without understanding.
Be willing to understand even if you don’t understand. That means you must find a way to say, “I don’t get it, but I’m willing. Please give me some time to get it.”
After some deep communication with my wife, I realized what I was doing wrong. I was placing demands on her that was opposite of her temperament and I wasn’t fulfilling her temperament needs. If you know each others temperament, you will better be able to interpret what your spouse is really saying.
Have you ever seen a couple talk by making eye contact with each other? That’s because they get it; they understand one another. In fact, they understand each other so well that they’ve even developed their own language spoken through eyes. How amazing is that? We at Finally Alive Counseling can teach you these valuable skills in Marriage Counseling.
If communication and understanding is easy for you, then sacrifice may be your issue.
Sacrifice says, “You first”, “You can have the last piece of…”, “Don’t worry about me. Tonight, it’s all about you.” I hope you get the theme. None of those examples involved the word “I”. That’s right; sacrifice is selfless!
This selflessness is the most vulnerable feeling you will ever feel. You ARE leaving yourself open for hurt and rejection. If this is a problem for you, please seek individual counseling because that may be something that you must deal with which probably stems from your past.
I can already hear some saying it. “But, that ‘s not fair! Why should I sacrifice myself for my spouse who won’t sacrifice for me?” That’s an excellent question, but a better question is: Why don’t they sacrifice for you? Is it possible you haven’t sacrificed? And if you have, maybe you haven’t sacrificed what your spouse really needs.
I can think of countless times that I’ve seen a couple grumble over this. One spouse sacrifices there time to do something extravagant, when all the other spouse wanted all along was to be understood. But, if they communicated and understood each other, this problem would have never happened.
It’s unfortunate how easily some problems can be fixed if we just communicated, understood ,and sacrificed.
Please realize sacrifice is different than losing yourself. Losing yourself is extremely unhealthy. For example, a wife who covers up her husbands drug addiction isn’t sacrificing. She’s enabling her husband while losing herself. This is NOT good for either person. Sacrificing, in this scenario, would be for the wife to begin with prayer, then get individual counseling to get an unbiased opinion on how to navigate this difficulty, and encourage her husband to get addiction counseling. This will tend to start arguments, but she is sacrificing her feeling of happiness for his health. That is a true selflessness.
That period in my life was very difficult for me, but by the grace of God, we were able to see, grow, and fight through what was the root cause of her anxiety.Nobody wants bad things to happen, but if they happen, be willing to communicate, understand and sacrifice.
Finally Alive Counseling is located in the beautiful city of Brea, CA.
Individual Counseling and Couples Counseling located near Fullerton, Placentia, Yorba Linda, La Habra, Rowland Heights, Anaheim, and Anaheim Hills.
I find a common theme in many couples counseling sessions. That is that many relationships consist of two people who are very different than one another. One might be very talkative, but the other very quiet. One might be very outgoing and straightforward, while the other timid. How does this happen? How do they find each other?
The balancing act in relationships
Fire and water can’t exist in the same place. A liquid and a solid can’t take up the same space. If those opposites don’t mesh, how can a “happy-go-lucky” type of person mesh with a person who is very serious? So is this some kind of sick joke that we play on ourselves? The truth is they don’t mesh, they compliment.
Both water and fire are necessary in life, but we never use both for the same purpose. For example: What would you tell me if I was trying to barbecue with water. You might call me crazy and have me contact a counselor to diagnose my head because you use fire and not water to grill your food. But what would you tell me if I was trying to clean my utensils with fire. You would be convinced that there was something wrong with me because you use water, not fire, to clean your utensils.
The members in a relationship are no different than the fire and water example above. You need both, but not always for the same things at the same time. If you are the serious type, then chances are that you tend to worry and stress often. If your mate is the opposite, they will compliment you by revealing the bright side of things. Opposite attraction in a relationship can create a couple that can cope better organically. When both parties in the relationship are mentally healthy, the opposite attraction becomes a balance between spontaneity and over thinking which is deathly necessary.
How do opposites even attract if they are opposites?
There are tons of theories on this phenomenon. It only makes sense to choose a mate that has similar interests and is similar to you. After all, there’s comfort in what we’re used to, right?
My theory on this:
The serious type tends to be quiet, wound up, often stressed, worried, and overthinks. When they encounter someone who doesn’t seem to have these types of burdens, it is almost awe inspiring. Perhaps sub-consciously, they are thinking, “Wow! How can they carry themselves that way? I wish I could do that.” For the serious type, it is almost amusing and an enjoyable site. Since they are not extroverts, it is an intriguing phenomenon to them. Of course, I don’t believe people are outright thinking this, but I believe if you think about it, the serious type might notice it.
The “happy skippy” type tends to be the socialite, star of the show, can put a smile on almost anyone’s face, and can easily talk to anyone. I believe that, for the most part, it may be a more off-the-cuff type decision for them to enter a relationship with the serious type because, when thought through, it just wouldn’t make sense. But we must realize, the socialite doesn’t like quiet, so it is a bit of a challenge to get the serious one to come out of their shell. They can’t comprehend why anyone could be down, everyone has to be HAPPY! The socialite will take on the challenge on a whim to be able to still be the “star of the show”. Nothing wrong with this as long as it stays healthy and not abusive for either party.
Neither type is better than the other, they both have their strengths. The secret in couples counseling is to find ways to make it compliment and work together.
How do opposites even find each other?
There isn’t one answer to this, but more than likely it is going to be the more outgoing one who will make bolder moves. The quiet type may tend to be more reserved, so they might be more of a reactor than an actor. You can even see the chemistry in this work as complimentary to each other.
This is not to say that a reserved person can’t approach people. The point is that it’s just not there thing. Approach just tends to be the outgoing persons forte.
The fact of the matter is that we all need each other because we all compliment each other. We can’t know how to truly love unless we know what to truly hate, otherwise what is love worth? We can’t have people who are always too serious, because then life would be boring. On the other hand we can’t have people who aren’t serious, because we’d get nothing done. So you see, we need them both.
If opposites attract because we need variety, then variety truly is the spice of life.