A Good Reason Couples Stay Married

A Good Reason Couples Stay Married

Both sets of my grandparents were married for over 60 years, which is why my mother felt cheated when my father died and they had only had 58 years together. That’s my Mom with me in the photo after she’d forgiven Dad for dying (and, perhaps, God, for not healing the cancer).

All six of them were good people, but not perfect. They were all Christians, and they were also sinners, just like the rest of us.

One set of my grandparents lost their farm in the Great Depression, at the same time the other searched all over the West for employment to take care of their five children. Both couples sent their sons to World War II. They worried about their grandsons getting drafted into the Vietnam War.

So they didn’t have it easy.

None of them were rich or well-educated.

What they had in common was the championship character trait of forgiveness. They forgave each other, asked forgiveness from God, and achieved some inner peace by forgiving themselves. All six of them forgave me for various mistakes growing up (or failing to!).

To forgive means you do not get justice or “an eye for an eye.” Forgiveness comes after working through the shocked, angry, sad, and scared it-will-happen-again feelings.

When you decide to release the consequences of choices it may seem like you are letting someone off the hook. Actually, when you forgive, you are the one you’re taking care of. The other person might not ever know about being forgiven. The one released from the past is you.

A long time ago Peter McWilliams wrote to forgive is simply to be so finished with the negative feelings you are again ready for giving to the other person and for getting from them again.

Why not start with an apology to your spouse asking for forgiveness? Whether you receive an apology in exchange or a comforting acceptance of your apology isn’t up to you. Maybe if you forgive, your marriage could be a good one for 60 years.

Communication

Communication

When most couples have struggled long enough in their marriages to decide to seek help in marriage and family therapy, their most frequent complaint in their initial intake interview is problems with communication.

Sometimes, communication is the actual problem. For example, some men are the strong silent type, which has some appeal to some women; however, more women would like their husbands to be very open with them, describing their feelings, vulnerabilities, and intimate emotions about the marriage.

Other times, communication is how other problems are manifest in the marriage. For example, if neither the husband or the wife are listening attentively to the other, then neither feel heard or respected. Both want to be known and understood, and feel hurt and disrespected when their words seem unimportant to their spouses.

A lot of marriages have communication that is out of bounds, like verbal abuse when talking too loudly or contemptuously. Or interrupting when the listener should be patient to hear what the speaker is saying.

If couples state initially their problem is communication, later during their counseling, the communication turns out to be a problem only in certain situations. For example, if he comes home drunk or she spends too much at the casino, the yelling is poor communication, but the bigger problem is the subject of the yelling.

Communication is a skill we were supposed to learn as children, just like we learned to walk and talk, or use manners at the table or in school. Many children don’t learn by what they were taught, but by what they have caught, like hearing their parents screaming and wanting their own way.

Usually during dating, couples enjoy talking to and listening to each other. As the relationship grows, problems naturally occur. To communicate about those problems effectively requires both partners to speak like they would like to be spoken to, and listen like they would like to be heard.

God is a great listener: always available with unlimited time and complete, unconditional love. Husbands and wives lack some of God’s capacity, but can mature as speakers and listeners, like Jesus did with the woman at the well.

For hurting couples, Healthy Counseling Center offers workshops, intensives, and counseling. Please call for more information about getting the help you want; call Jennifer at (509) 466-6632.

VIDEO: Sex Addiction (Q6 News)

VIDEO: Sex Addiction (Q6 News)

Here is a news segment from Q6 News about the dangers of pornography and sex addiction from a couple years ago. It includes an interview with Dr. Ray Smith from Healthy Counseling Center on the subject. This is an extremely common problem in today’s marriages and relationships in general.

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Workshops:
We know from decades of experience that some skills are best explained in group settings in a fun and educational environment, while personal topics still remain private.

Total Costs: $35/assessment $50/week (8 week date nights $435/couple)


Blended Couple:
This workshop is best for couples that have blended families involved in your marriage.