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Happy Marriages Part - 2

Are You with the Right Mate?


Elliott Katz was stunned to find himself in the middle of a divorce after two kids and 10 years of marriage. The Torontonian, a policy analyst for the Ottawa government, blamed his wife. "She just didn't appreciate all I was doing to make her happy." He fed the babies, and he changed their diapers. He gave them their baths, he read them stories, and put them to bed. Before he left for work in the morning, he made them breakfast. He bought a bigger house and took on the financial burden, working evenings to bring in enough money so his wife could stay home full-time.

He thought the solution to the discontent was for her to change. But once on his own, missing the daily interaction with his daughters, he couldn't avoid some reflection. "I didn't want to go through this again. I asked whether there was something I could have done differently. After all, you can wait years for someone else to change."

What he decided was, indeed, there were some things he could have done differently—like not tried as hard to be so non controlling that his wife felt he had abandoned decision-making entirely. His wife, he came to understand, felt frustrated, as if she were "a married single parent," making too many of the plans and putting out many of the fires of family life, no matter how many chores he assumed.

Ultimately, he stopped blaming his wife for their problems. "You can't change another person. You can only change yourself," he says. "Like lots of men today," he has since found, "I was very confused about my role as partner." After a few post-divorce years in the mating wilderness, Katz came to realize that framing a relationship in terms of the right or wrong mate is by itself a blind alley.

"We're given a binary model," says New York psychotherapist Ken Page. "Right or wrong. Settle or leave. We are not given the right tools to think about relationships. People need a better set of options."

Sooner or later, there comes a moment in all relationships when you lie in bed, roll over, look at the person next to you and think it's all a dreadful mistake.It happens a few months to a few years in. "It's an open secret of American culture that disillusionment exists. I go around the country speaking about 'normal marital hatred.' Not one person has ever asked what I mean by that. It's extremely raw."

What to do when the initial attraction sours? "I call it the first day of your real marriage," Real says. It's not a sign that you've chosen the wrong partner. It is the signal to grow as an individual—to take responsibility for your own frustrations. Invariably, we yearn for perfection but are stuck with an imperfect human being. We all fall in love with people we think will deliver us from life's wounds but who wind up knowing how to rub against us.

We alone are responsible for having the relationship we want. And to get it, we have to dig deep into ourselves while maintaining our connections.

Comments

  1. I'm glad the Psychology Today article that began with an interview with me has sparked discussion. Many men today weren't taught the insights about being a man that fathers and other older male role models used to teach younger men.
    What are these manly lessons?
    Show leadership. So many men so fear being accused of being controlling they have gone to the other extreme and leave all decisions to the woman. This is why many women feel like single parents.
    Make decisions. A man who avoids making decisions is shirking his responsibilities. I couldn't count the number of single women who told me how fed up they are when a man asks them on a date and can't even choose a place to go for coffee. He wants her to decide.
    Take responsibility. Don't blame your wife, even if you feel she pushed you into doing something that you knew would turn out badly. Nobody has any sympathy for a man who says he's a victim of a woman. People will say, "You're the man. Why did you let it go on?"
    My book, "Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man" shares these lessons and more that I learned on my journey seeking insights on being a man. The book is striking a chord around the world -- it's being translated into 22 languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

    Elliott Katz

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow,Elliot so nice of you to comment here.I just loved the article.It gave a good insight into how difficult it can be sometimes and what can we do to make our marriages better.I think it made every bit of sense and asked all my friends to read it once.Its good even for couples who newly got married.I know men now just to avoid being nagged,listen to their wives without thinking sometimes and women think their men can be so gullible,they continue to manipulate their husbands into thinking their way and agreeing with them.
    Thank you Elliot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. we must so stop correcting other-s and start reflecting ourselves.. Suzy this happy marriage is just getting better and better..:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. I've seen this happen to someone, and it wasn't a pretty picture. Marriage isn't easy. Parenting is even tougher. Hats off to all our parents who did such a great job at both.

    ReplyDelete

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