Relationship advice – Men & Women are Different. Now There’s a News Flash!
1) women are not just men who can have babies
2) men are not just women who spike footballs
Some differences are in the brain before birth and are not taught by society. Typically, women have a keener sense of smell and play worse chess than men. Women stand more pain than men, write less music, and do better in elementary school.
Boys do not study to get short attention spans, nor are they taught to squirm and to run into walls. Girls almost always walk and talk sooner. Few men learn that mystical thing called “woman’s intuition” — an ability to pick up and process subtle clues. Men seem to play chess better and to be better mathematicians.
No one can promise us “tomorrows”. Just don’t lie to your partner, and never do anything to hurt them. If your marriage does work you’ll be fortunate enough to find what everyone hopes for.
It is a paradoxical fact of life that the things that draw us to one another in the first place are what causes us to break up. It is also a fact of life that we are – barring major traumatic experience – more or less what we always were (what we “built”). BUT, we all have the ability to change, if we really want to!
The heart of marriage is memories; if the two of you happen to have the same memories, and savour your re-runs, then your marriage is a gift from the gods. There are no “rules”… you just have to wing it. A wing and a prayer, that is what marriage is.
The Most Typical Stages of an Intimate Relationship (a living process)
Moving toward a more realistic relationship
Becoming a parent
Pursuing a career (#5 & 6 are known as the productivity stage)
Redefining relationship and goals (while parenting)
Empty nest (reintegration after the kids leave)
A marriage is a lot like a journey, the best way to be wrong is to think you can control it.
Could A Happy Marriage Be Worth $100,000 A Year??
A happy marriage is apparently something you can bank on! It may bring you as much joy as an extra $100,000 in annual income. At least that’s the conclusion of a study by two economists (Canadian, David Blanchflower [Dartmouth College], and; American, Andrew Oswald [U of Warwick]) who surveyed 100,000 people on their relative happiness.
Psychologically-related studies have suggested that married people are happier and live longer than their unmarried counterparts. It is also suggested that having a lot of money doesn’t automatically bring happiness. Having a lasting, happy marriage apparently does. So, you may be rich and not even know it!
The study by the two economists suggests other conclusions:
Money does buy happiness – but, only to a point. A certain amount of money apparently reduces stress. Not having to worry about paying bills lessens stress. But, once you get the necessities covered and have some extra money, having a lot more money won’t make you happier.
Happiness levels are apparently lowest around age 40 and increase after that. It seems that, at around 40, people with high expectations realize they’re never going to reach some of their goals. It appears that, as these people move into their 50’s they become much more realistic. Apparently, as expectations go down happiness goes up! This could result from their life experiences; they have probably survived some personal tragedy, such as a parent’s death, and they have probably gained some resiliency.
North Americans don’t seem to be getting happier. A study in the early 1970’s apparently showed 34% of us as describing ourselves as “very happy”, whereas by 2013 that figure has supposedly dropped to under 30%.
Could the apparent increase in our measurable stress levels simply be because our lives are very busy, and getting even more busy?
Ten Questions for Clarifying An Intimate Relationship
Definition of “relationship”: connection or the condition of belonging to the same family
What Is My Number 1 Priority (in this relationship)?
What Do I Want That I Am Not Getting (in this relationship)?
What Am I Getting That I Don’t Want (in this relationship)?
What Am I Giving That I Don’t Want to Give (in this relationship)?
What Would I like to Be Able to Give You If Things Were Better Between Us?
What Am I Getting That I Do Want (in this relationship)?
Will I be better off with him/her or without him/her?
What Are Three Reasons For Us To Stay Together?
What Is One Thing That I Am Prepared To Change (in myself)?
Am I prepared to do anything (within reason) to get what I want (from this relationship)?
When Trouble Strikes
An important step in untangling potential trouble spots in our intimate relationship is to identify the hidden expectations each of us brings to it. We expect things of intimates that we don’t expect of anyone else. The understanding we expect of our partner and the expectations we assume our partner has of us are very specific to love relationships. In large measure they constitute the hazards of intimacy. All of these expectations rest on hidden assumptions that often don’t emerge into our awareness until we find ourselves angry, upset, or disappointed. We may not realize that we expect something until we don’t get it – and suddenly feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under us. Only when we experience a totally surprising feeling of betrayal do we realize that what we expected is not what our partner expected or is even capable of responding to.
Wishes, Hopes and Dreams
If your expectations are different from mine, it doesn’t make one of us noble and the other ignoble. It just means that we are all different and in being different we have different expectations. The more we can bring these expectations into our awareness and talk about them, the more possibility there is that we will reach some accord. If we have rules that say we shouldn’t let ourselves know what we’re thinking or feeling or wanting, much less let you know, then it’s almost impossible to work out a comfortable, close relationship. Our hopes and dreams are integral, vital parts of who and what we are. If we don’t share them with our partner (as information, not demands or complaints), we are depriving them of an important part of ourselves.
Do any of these sound familiar? (if they are, you’ve got a problem)
“If you were what you should be, I would be happy, successful, popular, attractive, virile, potent, sexy. I’m not, therefore it’s your fault.”
“If I were what I should be, you would be happy. I would be able to solve/fix everything. Since I can’t, your unhappiness makes me feel inadequate, guilty, angry at you. I distance from you.”
“If we don’t agree, one of us must be wrong. If it is me, that means I am bad, stupid, ignorant or inadequate. So it can’t be me. I must prove that it is you so I won’t feel like a failure.”
“If I tell you how I feel, you interrupt, correct, give advice, judge or dismiss my feelings. I feel betrayed, angry, frustrated. I won’t tell you my feelings. I distance.”
We are all vulnerable. We need to be recognized and to know what’s good about us, and nobody is better equipped to tell us this than the person who is closest to us. Whatever you feel good about, let your partner know. We hear so much about what’s wrong with us — the world tells us, and we tell ourselves all the time; we’re usually our own worst critics. When you see something in your partner you appreciate, express it — with words, or with a gesture, but express it.
Hearing appreciation regularly is an important element in our self-esteem. Self-esteem shouldn’t come only from outside ourselves, but we do need to feel appreciated, loved and accepted by our partners. It’s also important to know what we are appreciated for. And we have to learn to listen to our partner’s appreciation, accept it and internalize it. Too many people have a conditioned response of pooh-poohing compliments away (“oh, this old thing?” or “it was nothing.”).
So much of what goes wrong is because we are not given the information we need to understand what’s going on, so there is too much room left for assumptions. Intimacy thrives only when both partners know what is going on in each other’s lives. It may be related to work (“I finally got that new contract”), family (“The dentist says Mandy’s teeth are perfect”), gossip (“Helen’s divorce was finalized yesterday”), fears (“I’m worried about the mole on your neck”), interest (“There’s a great article in the Parade section that I think you’d enjoy”) — anything and everything, trivial and important, that helps keep your partner up on your state, mood and, generally, what’s going on in your life.
Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct about things. What (women) like is to be a man’s last romance.
When people get married because they think it’s a long-time love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But, marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
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