Mark Goulston, M.D.
Even though couples often feel like they’ve done everything they can, the truth is that there is usually much more that can be done in an attempt to reconcile your relationship. He urges couples to give it their best effort with an open mind, Invest in your relationship with Twoology.com videos and Romantipedia guides to explore what else can be done.
If we are have relationship problems, should we go on a break? How can you know that you should get divorced? When do you make the decision to get divorced? When I see couples who are having troubles, for a majority of them, divorce is in the background. They’ll come in saying, “We want to have better communication.” But, at least one of them is saying, “If it doesn’t improve, we’re going to head towards divorce.”
So, what I would point out to you is that don’t head for divorce until you have given your marriage your best effort. Even though I am a believer in keeping marriages together, especially of their children, usually, when I see couples it’s because they want to give it their best effort before they call it quits.
A couple needs to give more than 25 percent of their effort into making it work. They need to give all of their effort. And the reason for that is because effort means listening with an open mind. And, if you haven’t listened with an open mind or been listened to with an open mind, then you haven’t given it your best effort. And that is something that every marriage needs to work on.
Why do intimate relationships end? Dr Goulston says, ” Relationships end not because you stop loving each other, but because you stop liking and/or stop feeling liked by each other. A frequent cause of this is that one partner is constantly trying to make the other partner into what he or she needs that other partner to be and dislikes and resents that other partner for not going along with it, and for not appreciating it. Over time the other partner comes to feel hurt, then resentment, then anger and finally emotionally shuts down and withdraws to protect himself or herself from feeling so disliked by the first partner. At that point the relationship has turned into an arrangement, because all the relating to each other has been replaced by resentment. Game over (sadly, some couples remain together for years after reaching this point).“
Listening with an open mind: Be disciplined, don’t jump to conclusions and presume you really understand your partner. Presuming can damage and destroy your marriage. Instead listen with sincere curiosity. Try to put yourself in their shoes by wondering what they are feeling right now. Be curious about what’s really important and urgent to the other person. Ask them: What are they most angry about and what are they most frustrated with. Allow them to share their deep feelings with you.
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