• Thu, Jul 14 2011

A Modern Girl’s Musings On Marriage: What Marriage Counselors Get Wrong (And Right)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a Yahoo! addict. I love Shine and Yahoo! News and everything about it. I especially love it when they do the insider scoop stories – you know, the “what your cleaning lady won’t tell you,” or “10 things to ask your hair dresser.”

So when they wrote a piece about 13 Things Your Marriage Counselor Won’t Tell You, I felt compelled to share with the ladies at TheGloss the post and my married-girl’s commentary on the juiciest bits.

“It may make you feel better to talk about your marriage issues with a good friend, but it will just make things worse. Never talk to outsiders about things in your marriage that you haven’t already talked about with your spouse.”

Bologna! Look – let’s be realistic here: does anyone say everything they think to the person with whom they’re angry? No they don’t, because it’s usually inappropriate, hurtful, or not a real argument they’d bring up in a fight. But that doesn’t mean that it’s no okay to feel what that way. In situations where you can’t do anything to fix it, some times you just need to spit it out: and what are friends for than to hear you out?

I say, lay out ground rules for yourself. I don’t talk to my girlfriends about certain issues in my marriage, no matter how much they up set me, if I don’t think it’s appropriate. But the rest? Fair game. It’s like calling your friend to vent about your day, because venting is the only thing you can do to feel better. If it’s not worth picking a fight about, it shouldn’t be an issue if you share your grief with a pal.

“What do I wish I could say? ‘Grow up!’ ‘Stop whining!’ ‘Get a life!’ When I feel this way, I know I need a vacation.”

Lemme tell ya sister, wives want to say this in their marriages too. No one likes to hear those things, but we all need to. Let’s institute one day a month where we tell each other these kinds of things – and not just in marriages but all kinds of relationships. Seriously. What a great idea: tell someone what you think they actually need to hear rather than be subtle for the sake of “sensitivity.” I’m going to add: “get over yourself!” Who’s with me for the 17th of every month being “Honesty Day?”

“Yes, you should go to bed angry. If you try to resolve everything before you hit the sack, you’ll both be sleep-deprived and cranky the next day. Instead, get a good night’s sleep and talk once you’re rested.”

This is so very true! I’m a big believer in doing what you need to do when you’re hacked off. When I’m truly mad at Andrew, I grab my sneakers and leave. I need space so I’ll go for a walk – anything to not be in the situation. The key thing is to always go back and finish the fight in a way that doesn’t hurt your spouse.

“Three signs that a couple is not going to succeed: name-calling, finger-pointing, and when one or both partners fail to accept even the tiniest bit of responsibility for the situation.”

I agree with the last two, absolutely. But on the first one, I’m not so sure. I recently read a book about marital sex and one fine point the author made to husbands was this: does your wife call you “honey” or “jackass” more often? That should be a good indicator of how she perceives your treatment of her. Apparently, when that question was asked of many husbands, it strikes a cord and they finally “get it.”

I do not condone being rude and hurtful by any means, but I will always recommend being clear. And if name-calling is the only way you have of communicating (really you should try for a better one), I’d recommend proceeding with caution and don’t over do it.

“Sometimes two people love each other but have such different styles of living that I recommend they live together in a duplex. It sounds strange, but it works for some people.”

If by some people this counselor means “crazy pod people” then you got it! This is pure insanity. Living in separate duplexes is not marriage – it’s a really, really friendly neighbor situation.

“The big thing most women don’t understand: Men are not mind readers. If you don’t tell him how you feel, he’s not going to know. The big thing most men don’t understand: If you hardly acknowledge your wife all day, she’s not going to want to get intimate with you at night.”

Yep. Absolutely no arguments. And yet… I suck at communicating how I feel to my husband. There are so many things I wish I could tell him but I chicken out or belittle my own feelings because they’re not “logical.”

This article is certainly worth the perusal. I’d love to know what you all think of these tips.

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  • Brandi

    Oh my gawd! I do that too, I get so irritated at my dear hubby of 4 months but then talk myself out of saying anything because maybe I’m not being “resonable”… Nevermind that he’s the one that did some stupid shit.. I’m worried he’ll think I’m crazy for calling him on it.. Sigh.. I’m trying to be a better communicator but it’s hard for me.

  • Kelly

    I think the duplex idea could totally work for some people.