Table Of Contents
Chapter 1: The Basics
Chapter 2: Then And Now
Chapter 3: Know The Differences
Chapter 4: Mind Your Tongue
Chapter 5: Thriving
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Chapter 2: Then And Now
Very few people may be totally happy with their lives today. Surely, most lives today are shrouded by problems such as distrust among the partners, disagreements over slight issues, suspicions, ill will and even hatred. Relationships are continually souring all around us, and most times, we feel that nothing can be done about it. We resign ourselves by saying that it was meant to be that way.
Life was completely different in the good old times, at least on the face of it. We weren’t so technologically advanced back then and maybe we gave more importance to our human relationships than we do today. Man needed woman and woman needed man more than they do today—that is a fact.
The shapes our relationships are taking right now are downright deplorable. 1 in 2 couples are ending up in a breakup or a divorce. The levels of animosity are definitely rising, and this is certainly no good.
Why is this happening? What is it that we are failing to see? Despite making a diehard commitment at the start of our relationship, in the heydays as you may call them, what happens that makes the relationship so drastically irreparable?
Certainly, the problem lies in one of the partners or both. There are some very basic things that we are completely missing out on. We are not spending the time to realize that men and women are totally different kinds of beings, and that the only way to live successfully in harmony is by understanding each other completely.
If you think that is too difficult to achieve, you need to think again. You need to see that the situation is not all that bleak as it seems. There is just one link in this chain, one single strand, that we are missing out on. If we simply see this one missing link and accept it, we will be able to do much better with our lives.
That is what it is all about—mutual understanding and acceptance. That is what we need to learn.
And, yes, in this chapter, we begin creating the journal of your relationships that will help save your rocking relationship boat. This is your reference point and your guide, the place where you find your fumbling relationship begin to take root once again.
We see this very common scenario in the world around us today… maybe in our own lives too.
It is someone’s wedding day. They look into each other’s eyes and vow to be together “until death do them part”. Standing in front of the marriage celebrant it is difficult to imagine how the two could ever not feel so in love as they do today.
Yet 5, 10, 15 years later they are standing in front of a judge and this time they are told they are divorced. It is not exactly the fairy tale ending they had anticipated all those years ago.
This scenario is a reality for over 50% of couples who marry. While the length of the relationship may be different among couples, and there are other reasons for the divorce, the reality is, over half of all marriages will end in divorce. The statistics are worse for remarriages.
It is a gloomy picture, and perhaps you are feeling depressed wondering what hope your marriage or relationship has in the face of such statistics. The great thing about statistics is that there are good as well as bad statistics and other statistics reveal that if a couple can work through the problems in their relationship; they can potentially bond stronger than ever and go on to have an even better relationship.
Why is all this happening? Ultimately, it is our perceptions of what makes a good relationship and our expectations of our partner, which creates the friction in marriage.
As we learn to understand why we have these expectations and how to challenge with them, we can look at our relationships with new eyes and appreciate them for what they are, rather than for what they are not, With this knowledge, all relationships potentially can move forward.
Our ability to relate to each other has evolved over our lifetime. We learn by observing the culture we grew up in and through our life experiences. As children, we watch our parents and we see how they relate with each other.
We interact with our siblings and this contributes to our knowledge of how people in close relationships interact with each other. We learn from talking to our friends and often compare and contrast their experiences with our own. As we reflect on what shapes the way we interact with others and why it does this, we find the key to beginning the restoration of a successful relationship.
Here are a couple of practical steps that may help the process. Try to do them together as a couple.
Reflect on who you are and what has shaped your thoughts on life and relationships. Take a day or two to really think deeply about this and ask your partner the same questions. Compare their thoughts with yours.
Use a journal to write down significant events in your relationship each day and what experiences caused them to occur and what your expectations were that caused that let down. These events go a long way in reinforcing your relationships. Even as you feel that you are drifting apart, if you just happen to read about these events in your journal, you will reminisce about those happy days you had together and perhaps you will have a change of heart. You will make an effort to patch up the relationship again. You will want to be together again to relive those happy days, and somewhere deep inside, you will get the confidence that the situation is not as bleak as it appears on the outside.
Chances are that your partner is reconsidering as well. Since the love you started out with was quite strong and determined, your partner is not going to want to peter it down too. Sit together and think. Maybe a solution will emerge out of the entire morass. Maybe you will want to be together for life once again, just as you committed to each other during those marriage.
But times have changed. We have become more mechanical, more materialistic. Our lives aren’t as simple as they were before. Our obligations of the day aren’t divided simply into work-time and family-time. Many more things vie for our attention each day.
Still, the basic rules that were established back then are still quite prevalent. Gender roles were assigned to man and woman back then, all those centuries ago, and they still remain. Woman lib regardless, there are still gender roles that are prevalent. And this is more commonly seen when people are in a relationship.
Until recently, humans traditionally mated for life with one and sometimes in polygamous societies a number of mates. Fifty years ago when people divorced, they often faced accusations and lost lifelong friendships. Today, it is likely that many of those in our circle of friends are divorced and may even have remarried with new partners.
If we look back even further to the days when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, we see a completely different situation than what is the reality for most couples today. History has shown us that our ancestors were a mainly hunting and gathering society. Men would go and hunt for food while women collected mainly seeds and berries around their home.
They relied on each other for the provision of everything material, but for the most part, they did not receive a lot of direct emotional support from each other. Instead, men developed camaraderie with the men they hunted with, while the women spent most of the time with each other, helping look after children and prepare the food. Women usually found the emotional support they needed with the women they worked with each day.
This pattern continued until the 20th century. Although the type of work that men and women undertook changed drastically, the gender roles remained much the same. The man would go out to work and the woman would stay at home. This scenario is not only typically true of a “western” culture; studies of most world cultures reveal similar trends.
During the 20th century, traditional roles began to change. Perhaps the world wars created a need for women to work outside the home, but women started to take on traditionally male jobs. In some situations, women earned more money than men did. Some men even began to stay at home and look after the children. Traditional gender roles began to change, women lobbied for equal rights and in a few cases, men began choosing to stay home, care for their children and home while their wife worked.
The reaction of men and women to this trend is food for countless books and audio talks on how this transition has affected the way men and women relate to each other. The common theme that appears to be emerging from all studies and research is that men will be men and women will be women.
It appears that no matter how much society is evolving, some things remain the same. There is a consistency in the way men look at situations and deal with them and the way that women look at situations and deal with them. The gender specific needs of both men and women have changed little from the time of our ancestors and most problems arise when those needs neglected Controversial thoughts they may seem to be, but important to think about nonetheless.
You and your partner may like to reflect on this thought in your journals. Knowing how to identify and meet your personal own needs is the first step in healing a broken relationship.Other Details
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