Marriage; The Most Intimate Community
Why is it so difficult to make a marriage work and keep our love alive as it was the day we said “I do”? There are four foundational factors which create conflict and loss of love in marriages:
A marriage is the most intimate and interdependent relationship we form in this life. “Two become one” is a very valid concept. But, there is great potential for tension when we try to integrate two personalities, in terms of values and daily practices related to every critical aspect of life:
How we earn, manage and spend money.
How we parent children.
How we manage shared relationships with our imperfect families of origin.
How we manage our social relationships.
What we do for shared recreation.Where we live.When we go to bed and wake up etc…If you had to do this with your best same gender friend, you would be at each other’s throats in a matter of weeks.Significant emotional and relationship experiences of our developmental years and even adult years are imprinted in the emotions centers of our brains. So, interactions we experience with our spouse may subconsciously be processed through the emotional program created by our relationship with our mother or father or any other person we had a significant experience with in our lives. So:When your wife wants you to clean the garage, she becomes your controlling, taskmaster mother.When your husband raises his voice with your teenage daughter, he becomes your abusive father, who was always critical of you.When your spouse tells you that you can’t spend money we haven’t budgeted, you re-experience your cheap dad who would never let you have anything that all the other kids had.Men and women are designed to love differently. Women are designed to love through nurturance and promoting interdependence. Men are designed to love through achievement to provide for loved ones and promote autonomy. So:When you want your husband to be at home nurturing you and the family and he is working extra hours to provide for the family, you feel resentful and he feels unappreciated.You feel frustrated and resentful with your wife and want her to make the make your college age children do their own laundry. Your wife keeps doing their laundry because it helps her to feel lovingly connected to the college kids and offsets her sense of loneliness that comes from being an empty nester.Probably the most powerful factor that makes it hard to keep love alive in a marriage is that we draw to ourselves people who balance us. As individuals, we are out of balance because of over pronounced traits, our quirks. Driven by forces outside of our awareness, we tend to pair with people, with complimentary personality traits, who balance out our extreme traits.Marriage…The Most Intimate Community is a Real Life Collection of many of our columns related to managing the complex nature of marriage, organized and sequenced to be most useful. From our most intimate community to yours, we hope you enjoy these stories and find them helpful in improving your marital unity and joy.