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Switch to Forum Live View Are there any successful relationships/marriages?
4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 11:05AM #71
David
Posts: 287

God in His Infinite Wisdom...and Infinite sense of humor...invented marriage...an institution for two different species...no wonder most  people are batty!Laughing 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 11:34AM #72
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

Good points Sis!

I think that focusing on "happiness" as a primary goal tends to lead couples astray - "happy" is a feelings after all, and feelings come and go. It seems to be more effective to work on building intimacy - namely the sharing of one's own innermost self with one's spouse and allowing them to share theirs and be accepted for who they are.

The degree of "happiness" is more of a secondary characteristic of a relationship rather than a primary one, which is why it tends to be a red herring.

Learning to communicate effective with each other is a key skill that is very difficult to master, but is essential to the building of intimacy. Effective communication is so much more than finding the right words to say - in fact the essence is learning to listen deeply to another person, which can be quite challenging especially when difficult feelings are expressed. In this context, "successful" means that each spouse truly "gets" the other's thoughts and feelings, even (especially) when the feelings are painful.

David,

LOL! However, despite marriage rates declining, people are still as batty as ever!

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 11:37AM #73
David
Posts: 287

Jun 4, 2010 -- 11:34AM, ArnieBeeGut wrote:


Good points Sis!

I think that focusing on "happiness" as a primary goal tends to lead couples astray - "happy" is a feelings after all, and feelings come and go. It seems to be more effective to work on building intimacy - namely the sharing of one's own innermost self with one's spouse and allowing them to share theirs and be accepted for who they are.

The degree of "happiness" is more of a secondary characteristic of a relationship rather than a primary one, which is why it tends to be a red herring.

Learning to communicate effective with each other is a key skill that is very difficult to master, but is essential to the building of intimacy. Effective communication is so much more than finding the right words to say - in fact the essence is learning to listen deeply to another person, which can be quite challenging especially when difficult feelings are expressed. In this context, "successful" means that each spouse truly "gets" the other's thoughts and feelings, even (especially) when the feelings are painful.

David,

LOL! However, despite marriage rates declining, people are still as batty as ever!





I hear ya, Anrie...but it sounds too much like work!Laughing I am a simple soul who loves his peace and quiet...and I don't need a "honey-do list" LMAO!    

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 12:00PM #74
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

It's true that marriages take effort to maintain. That is true of any relationship, whether friend or intimate. Perhaps you are under the impression that it is only marriage that takes away peace and quiet or is filled with demands for doing things you don't want.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 12:04PM #75
David
Posts: 287

well, Arnie..let me put it this way..I refuse to work at everything..and I am at the point where I don't give a damn about too many things anyway....I love my life as is and I love things to be simple and uncomplicated...case closed!

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 12:27PM #76
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

When I talk with couples that I work with (this may work because we're in Maine, you'll have to come up with your own analogy) I call the marriage the 'ship of the family'.  It's on a sea which may be calm, with a good fair breeze to keep things moving forward.  Or the sea may be stormy and threaten to drive the ship onto the shoals.  Or the sea may be dead calm with no wind and the ship doesn't go anywhere for a long time.  The ship is the same; it doesn't change because of the conditions.  But the skippers have to work together to deal with whatever the sea and wind conditions are for the good of the rest of the crew.  If one of the skippers isn't pulling her weight in the storm, the ship can founder.  If one of the skippers abandons ship in the doldrums, the remaining skipper and her crew have a lot of work to do together, and they are less likely to be successful in the long run - that is, get the ship and its crew where they are going in life.


So, yes, David, it's work, but as sailors know, a rotten, rainy day sailing beats the most beautiful day in the office :)


Anybody can sail with fair winds and following seas.  The proof of how successful the 'ship of the family' is comes in the storm and the doldrums.  


 

First amendment fan since 1793.
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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 1:07PM #77
appy20
Posts: 10,165

A person may be happy or unhappy in or out of marriage.  A bad marriage certainly would contribute to unhappiness but there are people that NOTHING can make them happy.  One of the things, that I notice, as a single person, is that married people often blame the ups and downs of life on their partner.  Sometimes, they think that the human condition would not apply if they were single.  Newly divorced people are often shocked at how challenging single life can be.  So, I do think that you can be in a good marriage, even a great marriage and be so unhappy as an individual that you would never appreciate your marriage.  Sometimes, unhappiness gets blamed on one's partner when they have nothing to do with it.  That is not the marriage's fault.  A marriage should not be the end all, be all to one's existence.  Each person has some responsibility to create their own happiness.  Life is going to happen whether you are married or not.  When you are single, you change yourself rather than expending all that energy into trying to change a partner.


So, I don't think a successful marriage is necessarily a happy or unhappy one.  Successful marriages have ups and downs.  They just manage to avoid the worst of misdeeds and to maintain some respect and affection for one another.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 1:23PM #78
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Single people do work at relationships.   Elder care often gets thrust upon singles.  I took care of my mother who had a multitude of personality disorders for 14 years.  I worked in a very toxic environment for 21 years.   I was miserable at work and miserable at home until I learned that I had to create a place of happiness and I did.   In the beginning, it was just in my mind.  That was a start.  Eventually, I found friends and places outside of work and home that were healthy and happy. I learned that I could be joyous and happy even if my life wasn't particularly kind or fair.  No matter what other people did to me, I could still experience an incredible joy in life.   Once I mastered that, happiness became much easier.  Even on the worst days, I love being alive.  


People in marriages can learn that too.  Love is a decision.  If you are unhappy, it isn't always your partner's fault.  But.  If you are beating up on them, drinking to excess, using drugs, cheating or not handling money well, then asking your partner to be happy about it is just selfish.  

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 1:32PM #79
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Jun 4, 2010 -- 11:00AM, Tolerant Sis wrote:


Right, Arnie.  I think it is quite important that the two parties are at least content in the marriage; otherwise there will be problems.  No one is expecting deliriously happy people in a relationship for 50 years; that's unreasonable.  People grow and change, whether they are married or not, and sometimes they grow together, and other times, they grow apart.  The content couple can roll with these changes, come together on the most important issues, and be willing to give the other the space he or she needs to grow on the rest.


If one or both are unhappy all the time, that's not successful.  A successful marriage, in my book, is one that takes into account both partners' hopes and dreams, while working together to support the family and the 'ship of the marriage' - everything from educations, jobs, major purchases, planning for the children's educations, planning for retirement, taking care of one another when the other is sick, disabled, and dying, while happily celebrating their milestones.


Marriages are tried all the time.  A child becomes ill; a wife wrecks the car; a husband flirts with a waitress; a home is lost to a hurricane.  Secure marriages can withstand these things and more.  The most important moments in a marriage occur at the most difficult times.  How the couple resolves those moments is key to whether the relationship is successful over the long term.  


Perhaps Appy is seeing the self-centeredness of the young and extrapolating that to humans in general or marriage in general; I don't know.  Marriages that survive that first critical five years (which is the proving ground, I think) are more likely to survive long term.  





Tolerant Sis,


I hope you and Arnie listen better than you two read otherwise neither one of you need to be therapists.  I said my age group.  Repeatedly.  When one communicates with "therapists" does one need to draw pictures?  I am 50.  I consider my age group to be from 45-55.  Most of the marriages dissolved due to physical abuse, alcoholism, adultery and drug abuse.  In that order.  I don't see many young marriages.  

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2010 - 1:41PM #80
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

Appy, what you have written about your experience makes complete sense. If it is also recognized that there is no one-size-fits-all, then we're pretty much in agreement. One thing I have learned is that it is much easier to stand outside something and criticize than to speake from experience. Criticism in general is a roadblock to communication, which is why ad hominems are never conducive to a constructive dialogue.


Perhaps you feel that your choice to remain single is somehow being denigrated.

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