Tuesday , 31 January 2023
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By Charles Opara

Several people in marriage around the world are not enjoying the happiness therein marital life. You will see some people in the morning, they are happy but later in the evening, they are not happy because of the heavy burden in their marriage.

Most of the challenges in their marriage are not what other people living in long and happy marriage have not encountered.  But they are happy because, they’ve been able to manage the not too good aspect of their marriage.

For anyone to really enjoy a long and happy marriage, such persons or couples should, first and always think of love as an action rather than a feeling. This is one way through which couples can automatically assume accountability and responsibility.

Living a long and happy marriage will require couple to express for one another, care, affection, respect, recognition, trust, commitment and more importantly, the desire to love in honesty and open communication.

During his visit to the United States of America, earlier this month, Pope Francis said; A perfect family does not exist. We should not be fearful of imperfection, weakness or even conflict but rather, how to deal with them constructively.

An understanding of this Pope’s statement about family imperfection is what should drive couple to live to love one another and grow, knowing that the fear of marriage weakness or imperfection won’t help the family to grow, but rather bringing lots of unhappy moment into their marriage.

It is therefore important to see some of these challenges that come to destabilize the family as opportunities to stay together and go through the challenges which will bring much more joy into the marriage as the journey continues.

So, to have a long and happy marriage, there will be a lot of hard work and commitment. This will help you see the imperfection in your marriage as nothing but a chance to turn problem into opportunity.

It is one among the nine obvious reasons why today’s marriages crash.  The others are:

Effective communication: communication is one of the most important aspects of every successful relationship. How we discuss on issues like the time spent together or apart, money issues, health related talk, gender differences, children, family, friends, commitment, trust, and intimacy affects our ability to nurture and sustain lasting relationship/friendships. If well learned, these skills can help put our relationships on a positive path to success.

The 9 skills are going to be divided into two groups, the don’ts group and do group. You should however, remember that every couple has a degree of these Don’ts in their relationship. Dealing with the don’t group and taking them out of our relationship/friendship and at the same time, bringing in the do group into the relationship, can result in the growth of better commitment, trust, and intimacy.

The Four Don’ts

Criticism: In every relationship, it is important not to attack your partner’s personality or character with accusation of blame if you want to communicate with them effectively. Statement like “how can you be so selfish? Or you never think of anyone else in your life” will never open up your partner to communicate with you effectively.

Contempt: Disrespect to your partner, intentional insult, name-calling, mocking, rolling of the eyes, or sneering, can’t bring the best out of your partner. You will have to do away with anything that has to do with contempt before you’ll expect your significant other to open up line of good communication with you.

Defensiveness: If at every point in time you are always on the defensive side, failing to take personal responsibility for your actions even when it is glaring that you are at fault, will only block you from getting out the best from your partner’s communication skill. Being defensive blocks a couple’s ability to deal with an issue. Even if one partner feels completely justified in his/her actions, becoming defensive will only add to the couple’s troubles.

Stonewalling: No matter what happens between you and your significant other, you should not shy away or refuse to interact in form of communication with your partner. When couples refuse to communicate about their issues, the relationship becomes easily broken. Of course, there maybe some exception anyway, but it will be fair if you try to explain your situation to your partner that you’re overloaded emotionally right now and you’ll need to take some time out and relax so as not to say something that will hurt your relationship which may be as a result of your being emotionally overloaded.

The Five Do’s

Complain: Trying to not complain and sweeping issues under the carpet all the time will only come back to hurt you especially when things have been aggravated enough to cause havoc in your relationship. Bringing up a complaint about a specific issue or behaviour is actually one of the healthiest activities a couple can engage in. For example, when you fail to call your partner that you will not come home on time today due to the nature of the work you’re doing in your office, you are making him or her feel that you don’t care about their feeling and that can hurt so much.

Calm Down: In your communication with your partner, when you’re emotionally charged, you’ll need to camp down and that will take you nothing less than 25 minutes. It becomes more difficult to access the logical part of your brain if your heart is beating more than 90 beats per minute. You’ll need to stop the interaction before you harm yourself.

Non-Defensive Speaking: Use soft voice or try to speak with soft voice and use complaint statement like; “I feel….” instead of “You…..” You can also make use of “We” kind of statement. It’s helpful. For instance, “We need to start going to the gym.” or “We should talk about money issues.”

Validate: Validating in a relationship is a tactic used to let your partner know that you’re interested in whatever s/he is talking about and that will make your communication run smoothly without feeling that anybody is listening to what you are saying. To validate another person, we must be able to listen with our eyes, ears, minds and hearts. We must also be able to listen to the needs and emotions being expressed. You can even do it better by using any of these bridge phrases and words such as “And then what happened?”; “How did that make you feel?”; “Really? You’re kidding?”; “What are you going to do now?”; “How can I help?”; “Uh-huh.”; “Yes/No/Why?”; etc., to let them know you are listening.

Overlearn Skills: What this mean is to completely master the other eight skills even when you’re worn out, tired, angry or stressed, you will always have them available with you.

The question

Next month, my best friend is getting married. I’ve come to accept that if I’m in the wedding party, I’m going to be photographed in my unflattering fuchsia dress. Recently, my best friend announced that, on top of her two photographers, she’d hired two videographers to ensure that she can “relax and be present” instead of worrying about missing a moment of her Most Important Day Ever Of All Time In the History Of The Universe (emphasis mine). But I don’t want to be filmed. I feel that, instead of feeling free to celebrate and relax, I’ll be having stilted, staged interactions with the bride while strangers circle like lens vultures. I raised this with her and she said she never considered it, but it’s too important for her to have a video than to question how people feel about being filmed. Is there anything I can do to politely excuse myself from the wedding movie without being a horrible bridesmaid? Am I wrong for not wanting to be a part of this unnecessary selfish mania for self-recording?

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