Widow – age 28, goodlooking, affectionate …Stuck in a Lousy Marriage (July 12, 2011 / 10 Tammuz 5771) …item 2.. 5 Myths about Marriage – Never go to bed angry. (June 19, 2012 / 29 Sivan 5772) …

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Widow – age 28, goodlooking, affectionate …Stuck in a Lousy Marriage (July 12, 2011 / 10 Tammuz 5771) …item 2.. 5 Myths about Marriage – Never go to bed angry. (June 19, 2012 / 29 Sivan 5772) …
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Our external triggers, as real as they may be, are only a symptom of a greater problem. That problem is our story and ourselves.

By working on ourselves and becoming more conscious about why we react the way we do, we can learn how to be more effective in relationship and have more compassion for our spouse.

Begin to notice how much ownership you can take for your feelings/reaction. How is this conflict compelling you to grow?
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…..item 1)…. aish.com … www.aish.com/f/m … HOME FAMILY MARRIAGE …

Stuck in a Lousy Marriage …

Hope for couples in crisis.
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July 12, 2011 / 10 Tammuz 5771
by Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin

www.aish.com/f/m/Stuck_in_a_Lousy_Marriage.html

As I reflect on all the couples I have counseled over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the ultimate secret to their success depended on one thing: commitment. In fact, studies have shown* that the number one reason for divorce is not money or infidelity but lack of commitment. The couples that successfully get through crises are the ones who are committed to their marriage.

In our disposable society, a marriage is as expendable as a computer. You buy it knowing that you will have to replace it within a few years. But a marriage is not a computer. It is a serious commitment that requires work, and while it may seem much easier to leave the relationship when the going gets tough, the truth is that it is not necessarily so.

Most of us already know the damage divorce can do to our children, our health, and our wealth, and many people decide to stay married for these very reasons, including some who have no real hope for it to improve. They think they married the wrong person and that if they could marry someone else, it would be better. They may not intend to terminate their relationship, but the thought does cross their mind.

In order for a marriage to improve, a mental shift must take place. You must commit to success instead of looking elsewhere for something or someone better. If divorce is always an option lurking in the back of your mind, you lack the commitment to make it work and you will not be able to be fully present in your relationship.

—– It takes two to tango

Part of being committed to your marriage or at least trying to make it work is to realize that it is not all about the other person. What do you bring to the table?

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Most of the things that really bother us about our partner are only partially about them and largely about us.

A relationship takes two to tango; there is never one party that is entirely innocent. What responsibility do you take in your relationship? Is your spouse an evil monster with psychological problems or do you play a role in triggering such undesirable behavior? Most of the things that really bother us about our partner are only partially about them and largely about us. Why would a particular incident bother you tremendously but appear insignificant to your friend? Each one of us has our own unique history as well as natural tendencies.

We may have grown up feeling ignored or not fully heard by our parents. It is no wonder when we try to get our spouse’s attention and he/she is checking email and not responding that it may stir up strong feelings for us. Maybe our spouse was in the middle of something important and not intentionally ignoring us, but we feel emotionally charged by the incident.

Our external triggers, as real as they may be, are only a symptom of a greater problem. That problem is our story and ourselves. By working on ourselves and becoming more conscious about why we react the way we do, we can learn how to be more effective in relationship and have more compassion for our spouse. Begin to notice how much ownership you can take for your feelings/reaction. How is this conflict compelling you to grow?

Furthermore, these points of conflict are a blessing in disguise. Marriage is ultimately an opportunity for growth and healing. The challenges that we face are there to do just that, to challenge us to become better and more balanced people. A woman who is exceedingly proper and rigid about manners marries a man who is sarcastic, loud, and loves to rock the boat. While these issues cause friction in their relationship, their frustrations with each other are really a call for them to become more complete people. He needs to work on becoming a little more appropriate and she can benefit from lightening up a bit.

Couples in crisis who want their marriage to succeed and are willing to invest in their relationship are almost always successful.

In my experience, couples in crisis who want their marriage to succeed and are willing to invest in their relationship are almost always successful. This holds true even for the most egregious breaches of a marriage. It is astonishing how even in such cases it is possible to salvage a marriage by committing to making it work. The ones who lack that commitment are the ones who don’t always make it.

Even in a case where only one spouse is committed, the changes he or she can make on their own can have a ripple effect and shift the inertia of the relationship. While it will be much harder than if both are committed, when one spouse begins to change and create safety in the relationship, it often allows for the other one to let down the walls of resistance and leads towards greater connection.

While you may be afraid of committing, once you decide to commit, you will actually feel much more relieved. A quote from a Starbucks cup: “The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating- in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.”

It is often the case that indecision is what feels so uncomfortable and enslaving. Once we muster the courage to decide to commit, that stagnant energy can now move and propel you forward for the good.

Excerpted from Rabbi Slatkin’s new book Is My Marriage Over: The Five Step Action Plan to Saving Your Marriage, available for download at www.theRelationshipRabbi.com/is-my-marriage-over

* With this ring . . . A national survey on marriage in America. (2005). Gaithersburg, MD: The National Fatherhood Initiative
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…..item 2)…. aish.com … www.aish.com/f/m … HOME FAMILY MARRIAGE …

5 Myths about Marriage

Marriage is hard, never go to bed angry, & other common myths.
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www.aish.com/f/m/5_Myths_about_Marriage.html

Marriage advice from well-meaning friends often contains one of these five myths. Take it with a big grain of salt.

… 1. Marriage is hard. This is the last thing newlyweds want to hear while they are experiencing marital bliss. While it is true that marriage requires effort and relearning of old patterns that you have brought with you from single life, it does not have to be a drag. Instead of viewing your spouse as a nuisance, he/she can be your best friend. While you may experience some ups and downs along the way, being married should provide you with tremendous satisfaction and a sense of wholeness. Like any living organism, a marriage must be nurtured to grow and flourish. Learn how to cultivate your relationship and bring out its full potential.

… 2. A good marriage comes naturally. Unless you make a conscious effort, you will very likely repeat what you saw in your own home. As your parent’s marriage was your context for what a relationship is supposed to be, you will unconsciously repeat many of their mistakes. Even those who swear they will not be like their parents may go to the opposite extreme which may also not be beneficial. If you grew up in a home that did not display affection and you choose to overcompensate in your marriage, your spouse may feel smothered. Be aware of your own patterns and what you may have learned in your home. Be aware of how you reacted when you were in your relationship with your parents and do your best to notice when you get triggered by your spouse. Otherwise, history will repeat itself whether you like it or not.

… 3. Never go to bed angry. Staying up extra hours to resolve conflict when you are both exhausted often leads to further escalation. Sometimes all you need is a good night’s sleep. Once you wake up refreshed in the morning, you’ll often have a clearer perspective on the topic of contention and be able to deal with it in a more reasonable way. While it is unpleasant and may be hard to sleep when you are angry, it is a valuable tool to learn how to temporarily put your feelings aside so that you can address them in a safe and productive setting. Otherwise, dealing with them on impulse leads to less desirable results.

… 4. Always say yes to your wife. While this may work in theory, it usually leads to a build-up of resentment. Marriage is about two different people coming together to become one. It is a merger, not a takeover. This means that both parties feel safe expressing themselves and take into account each other’s point of view. A marriage in which one person always wins can often crush the other spouse and prevents a healthy relationship. While acquiescing may temporarily create less conflict, in the long run it will leave both spouses unfulfilled and unhappy. Yes, it is much easier to live with someone who is an extension of yourself, but isn’t it boring?

… 5. Quality, not Quantity. There are some who pride themselves on living separate lives claiming that they make up for it with quality time on the weekends or big vacations. Don’t think that working long hours or throwing yourself into extracurricular activities and rarely seeing your spouse will endear you to him/her more. In fact, it often leads couples to live separate lives where they learn to coexist as roommates. I recently attended a 53rd wedding anniversary party for my wife’s aunt and uncle. When asked the secret to their relationship success, the aunt replied that they always did everything together. They were truly best friends and enjoyed each other’s company. While you don’t need to be attached at the hip, and quantity should not be a substitute for quality, regular meaningful connection is crucial to nurturing your marriage.

If your marriage requires more immediate assistance, download your free copy of Rabbi Slatkin’s book,

Is My Marriage Over: The Five Step Action Plan to Saving Your Marriage
Related Article: Five Modern Myths of Marriage
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