Do You Know How to be Married?

Submitted by: Lory Ishii

If I could have a quarter for every time someone I knew asked me, “do you think he/she is my soul mate?” then I’d be moving into Bill Gates’ house.   Ellen McCarthy of the Washington Post recently published an article entitled, “The Marriage Myth: Why do so many couples divorce? Maybe they just don’t know how to be married.” The article touches on some really important relational aspects, which I list below…with my own spin, of course:

  • Instead of spending so much time, effort and money on reconciling marriages after they’ve broken up, we should focus on how to prevent breakdowns in relationships before they start.
  • The title is right—maybe the question is not, “did I marry the wrong person?” but rather, “do I know how to be a married person?”   A lot of couples studied responded that had they known of the skills and tools to resolve conflict sooner, they may still be married to their first spouses. About 40% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. Close to 70% of all second marriages end in divorce.
  • Empathy and listening go a long way. Learning to completely listen, with empathy to your spouse, without interrupting so that you can advance your opinion, is GOLDEN. Sometimes your spouse may be saying something illogical. But if you truly listen, you’ll be able to discern that whatever they are saying is not the real issue…it’s about how they feel when you do X,Y, Z or when X, Y, Z happens. The article talked about a “parroting” practice, where each spouse is given the opportunity to talk, uninterrupted, and the other spouse must repeat back what they heard. And they take turns doing that until they reach consensus about what was said and what was heard .

Marriage and relationships are wonderful blessings. There really is no such thing as finding the “right person.” Studies have shown that almost all couples have the same amount of conflict (usually regarding time, money, sex, and kids). But the couples who have lasted to their golden anniversarys just have a healthier way of handling the conflict and finding creative solutions to their differences.  

What are your thoughts on this article? Will you make a commitment today to listen to your loved ones? It will make for a healtheeier you!