by Brigette Meier
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divorce rates in the United States vary widely from one third up
to fifty percent. Still, even considering the lower estimations,
that would still be every third couple getting divorced.
Surely one reason
is the more liberated attitude towards marriage and divorce in our
modern society. But there must be different reasons why couples
are not getting along in the first place - before divorce becomes
In most cases,
it all starts with two people who are madly in love and want to
spend the rest of their lives together. Often (here goes liberation
again) they've been living together for a while, and they passed
already the initial conflicts that arise from two people who suddenly
share a living space.
And there lies
already the first possible brick in the wall that will divide them
later on. By tendency, men are untidier than women. Unwashed dishes
are not really a problem, so are unwashed clothes. And since the
friends don't really mind those things either, a rather sketchy
clearance will do before receiving visitors.
Again by tendency,
women prefer things to be clean, tidy and organized. The reputation
is altered by the apartment's or house's state of cleanliness when
it comes to visitors, so untidy husbands can be a real nuisance.
Especially, when they refuse to share the work-to-be-done in the
household or even disregard it.
are two aspects. First, male role behaviour (you might go as far
to say, arrogance): I am a man, I will not do housework. Second,
many men simply don't give so much importance to those things. That
may be influenced by the time spent at home - even though many women
are working, they gradually spend more time at home than men, especially
if there are children to be taken care of. So of course, the sensitivity
towards unwashed socks is higher.
the degree of female sensitivity on untidyness can reach annoying
levels if it's exaggerated. Nagging behaviour and a constant avalanche
of complaints, especially about small and objectively unimportant
issues, create a stressed atmosphere and can lead to relationship-damaging
and most of all unnecessary arguments.
Guys, be more thoughtful with household chores. Try to get used
to helping maintain a certain state of cleanliness– it's not that
hard. And girls, don't also be over-sensitive with your partner's
from easy-going single life to married life will raise a lot of
responsibilities that have quite some influence on the way of living.
Before, there was only one person to negotiate the course of action
with - oneself. Now, two opinions have to be heared and compromises
have to be made. That can be quite tough, especially when the respective
interests are far from each other. Decisions range from the kind
of new car to buy (sporty vs. station wagon), the place to visit
on holiday (beach vs. culture) to small things like the color of
who's dominant in the marriage, one partner will feel overruled.
Or there will be a constant source of arguments if both won't give
in. Either way, it leads to a bad mood and a strained relationship.
Don't just show, but really take interest in what your partner really
likes doing. Be open-minded, and overcome social role patterns.
Maybe you'll find more common interests among each other. On the
other side, be fair if your partner really doesn't like something.
Offer deals (Icehockey against classic concert), or make compromises.
Get used to the thought that marriage will cost you a lot of your
personal freedom. Preferrably, get used to that thought BEFORE you
decide to get married.
Now you were
really enjoying the time together, and it could go on like this
for years– and suddenly (well, not that suddenly, but sometimes
rather unexpected), there are three of you there. Children can have
a serious impact on the plans you made for the next years. Commonly,
men are completely and blissfully ignorant when it comes to dealing
with babies. This is surely based in social role patterns - and
maybe many are just lacking the talent. So the mother often gets
stuck with the work. Full-time job might not be an option for a
while, so it requires a healthy self-confidence to accept the lack
of personal acknowlegdement through working success.
But there is
also the other side of the medal: In the case of working couples,
the husband's responsibility is increased regarding the family's
financial situation. Career decisions and risks are not easily taken
anymore, and the budget is usually tighter with a third mouth to
feed. At that point, nagging about money and arguments about long
working hours can cause the husband to develop a feeling of estrangement
towards his family out of the anger from lack of understanding.
Since this can
be a volcanic source of arguments, better make sure you realize
the work that's coming up to you before having a child. Guys, be
helpful. Don't come home after a stressy working day and expect
to relax. Depending on the number and temperament of your offspring,
your wife probably had an even more stressy day. Help her out where
possible - if you can't go with children, at least take over some
of the household stuff. Dishes are easier to wash than babies, and
they don't fight back. Girls, show understanding if your husband,
though trying hard, has got difficulties when it comes to such profane
things like changing diapers. They probably didn't have practice
with their little siblings when they were young, and they didn't
share a similar affection towards dolls.
be avoided. Still, try to maintain a civilized way of dealing with
each other. It's better to swallow your pride and a sharp reply
than hurting your partner's feelings. Be open to criticism. That's
the hardest part of all, but what do you expect when you share your
intimate life with someone? Fight the first impulse to defend yourself
when criticized and keep your mouth shut. Admit your mistakes. And
avoid being resentful. You won't like it being done to you either.
should be equal in marriage, so no one will rule over the other.
That means a lot of compromises and probably a reduction of former
pleasant spare-time activities. Be prepared for that, and keep in
mind that what might be great fun for you is a waste of time for
of the love you feel for each other, and show it. There's no law
against being sweet even if you've been married for some years.
And if you're having a hard time, clear your mind, and remember
why in the first place you got married.
Meier is an occassional author for www.e-nterests.com
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