Monday, April 27, 2009
The Half-Dead Marriage
This past weekend I took advantage of gorgeous 90+ degree weather to do some spring cleaning in my yard. As I worked on cleaning leaves from one of the mulched beds around my home, I was struck by one of our bushes. No, I wasn’t literally struck by it. But, I was intrigued that buds are only forming on half of the bush. The other half appears dead. Perplexed, I looked for an explanation. It didn’t take long to notice that half of the bush was mostly uprooted while the other half was still firmly planted. While I’m not sure what to do about my half-dead bush, it triggered in my mind an email that I had just received from a couple that alerted me to some marital problems they are having.
You might ask, what does my half-dead bush have to do with marital problems. Fair question. Here’s the connection. My heart is really tugged by half-dead marriages. What is a half-dead marriage? It can be a marriage where one spouse is giving most (or all) of the effort and the other one is failing to hold up his/her end of the bargain. It could also be a marriage where spouses just go through the motions with little to no real emotional connection. In some ways half-dead marriages are particularly dangerous because they lull unsuspecting couples into a false sense of security (for example they see their half-dead state as better than a divorce).
I want to challenge those who feel emotionally disconnected from their spouse to make another genuine effort at moving closer together. I don’t necessarily expect a miracle—just a step. What can you do today to take a step towards your spouse? Remember that half-dead means that it is also half-alive. There is life in your marriage. The question is how to make it more abundant.
Posted by Harold Arnold on 04/27 at 05:10 PM
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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Your Marriage is What You Think
As I contemplate what makes marriage work, it is no surprise to me that I come back to the way we think. What comes to your mind when you think about your marriage? Are your thoughts about your marriage mostly focused on successes and accomplishing shared goals or repeated stumbles and failures? I’m not sure how Descartes would look at contemporary marriages. But, in his new book “Think and make it happen” author Dr. Augusto Cury offers a powerful suite of tools sure to impact any marriage. Although Cury’s focus is not marriage specifically, he tackles its most vital marital issue—overcoming negative thoughts. Cury offers twelve principles to control your thinking. While many of his principles offer practical advice to take control of our thoughts, his admonitions to doubt, criticize, and determine (DCD) what goes through our minds is key. We must be critical of our thoughts about our marriage. Marriage is filled with peaks and valleys. A cacophony of negative thoughts experienced during the valleys can derail even the most solid marriages. We married couples must realize the power we have to steer the relationship, mostly by honoring our spouse’s needs. I also strongly appreciate Cury’s suggestions on how to take charge of our emotions, which of course are triggered by our thoughts. Couples that are able to avoid the emotional meltdowns avoid the negative escalation of emotions during conflicts.
In the chapter titled “Learn to listen and dialogue”, Cury advises married couples to ask four important questions of their mates: (1) When have I disappointed you?, (2) Which of my behaviors annoys you?, (3) What could I do to make you happier?, and (4) How can I be a better friend? Now,there is something for all of us to think about. The future of your marriage is what you think it to be.
Posted by Harold Arnold on 01/18 at 05:18 PM
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