Oh stop it! Laugh with me.
So I was at a work bridal shower recently and the Mrs-to-be quizzed the attendees on their marriage advice. I said “run” and the person beside me said “like the wind.” 🙂
I was actually joking but the person beside me was serious. She was a divorcee who had been married for many years and it seemed that the only fond memories were her children.
A Single Giving Marriage Advice
I have to chuckle at the thought of me giving marriage advice; however, I surprise myself because my advice are quite logical, practical and downright good. I can hear the married people’s groans and eye rolls with “you have to be married to give marriage advice.”
Well, if married people knew more, then many couples would still be married or not be so miserable if they are married.
I mean think about it? If someone cames to you and said don’t drink and drive. Would your retort be “you must have some experience with drinking and driving to give me advice?” How impractical is that?
In all honesty, I usually shy away from most conversations related to relationship. However, as certain situations arise, I tend to stick to discussing behavior effects in relationships rather than personal anecdote of which I have no say.
My view of humans are that we are all about thoughts and behaviors. Emotions are often a byproduct of thoughts. Behaviors are driven by your thoughts. If you have insight into someone’s way of thinking, you can project their behaviors in a relationship/marriage.
Marriage is about Behaviors
Have you ever listened to married people talking? At times, the advice they give each other will help push a couple to divorce much sooner. “Just ignore him,” “…just don’t give him any sex,” “why do I have to buy something for her, it’s not her birthday or our anniversary?” “If you just nod and pretend to listen, you’ll be okay.”
Let me just say this – I too am shocked that anyone who knows me would ask me for marriage advice. Apparently, the stuff I say makes sense.
Recently, Sir X, a man in his 30’s came in for an initial assessment. His primary problem was – you guessed it – marriage. The gist of the issue was he married the wrong woman, produced, highly dependent and now he’s in a state of depression.
As always, there was finger pointing (towards the other person). I did acknowledge that Sir X’s wife had some very toxic behaviors but I also used that short period with him to point out that he had choices such as:
1. If he continued to appease her, this will keep him in despair and in therapy for the rest of his marriage or life
2. Sooner or later, he will come to a cross roads in which to make some very tough choices.
3. He can NEVER change his spouse but he can work on himself. However, his spouse has the choice to be herself and he will have to live with it or not (some people feed off of toxic – either power or poor me).
See, practical and behavior focused.
Let me just say this – Relationships are on a small part emotions which are reinforced by a large part behaviors.
Misery Loves Predictability
The other issue that I typically see with married folks who are unhappy is that they stay in their misery because it’s predictable.
Their partners’ behaviors are predictable
Their complaints are predictable
Their roller coaster lives are predictable
Their ‘poor me’ is predictable
I mean who wants to change their lives for the better? You silly former therapist!
Let me just say this – I truly believe that every marriage therapist should be in partnership with a divorce lawyer.
I Want What She’s Having
You might think I hate marriage. No, not at all. What I do hate is to see how miserable people become when they keep themselves stuck in dysfunctional marriages. Take for instance, Sir X, he was in such despair and hopelessness that I felt pity for him. On the other hand, I also felt annoyed that he continued to choose a life that was beating him down hour by hour.
According to Sir X, this isn’t his first therapy rodeo for the same reason. He had been “working on his marriage” for years. At one point in my directness, I asked, “so, what do you expect to be different this time if you have tried the same thing before?” (Yes, that is the definition of insanity!).
His answer paraphrased “teach me how to understand her.”
Huh? You want to know how to understand toxic?
Here is what I heard – Relationship Translation:
“Teach me how to appease him/her,” “Teach me how to walk on egg shells,” “Teach me how to avoid,” “Teach me how to be ok in my misery” “Teach me how to make excuses”
Yep! Sure! That’s how therapy works
Are you starting to understand why I become exasperated when dealing with relationship issues? They seek help but don’t want to really change much but then complain about being unhappy. ugh!!! (where is the wine and a direct line to Jesus)
The Wedding March
In the last few month, most of the people who have graced my presence with relationship issues are pre-married. They want desperately to make a dash down the minefield laden aisle and in my head, I am screaming “God, intervene, intervene, intervene, abort, abort, abort” <deep breathing>
I am not God but if I saw clear and future danger from the very crystal clear and present danger, then God already saw the massive train wreck. It’s excruciatingly hard to hold my tongue from asking “Why TF are you getting married again?” (<more deep breathing> – I am getting myself worked up).
Back to the pleasant wedding shower
The bride-to-be had been waiting for over a decade for her status to slide from girlfriend to wife.
She finally got it! woohoo
Well, status pending the wedding march
Anywho, she didn’t need advice. Why?
Because her relationship was stronger than so many marriages. She may not have had the ring but she certainly had the connection with her partner that is missing for those who do have the ring or those who are impatiently chasing the ring.
The ceremony and the paper do not change anything. It enhances what was already there in a relationship. If you were surprised by a person’s personality, then you are either dealing with a psycho (run!), you didn’t spend enough time getting to know the person (your bad) or you ignored all the red blaring blood dripping warning signs (really your bad).
So for most of you, here is my marriage advice – Run!! It just might save your mental life (joking, kind of)
Question: How many people in your life, to include yourself, have you seen who have healthy marriages?
Question: Have you ever wanted to tell a pre-married person to run? Have you ever wanted to tell a married person to get out?
The End -ish
Like, laugh, cry, chatter in the comments, share, come back for more crazy nuggets rattling around in my head but most of all thanks for reading.