When a couple get married, they expect to only love and have a romantic life together. And when reality hits, then they retreat into their shells and throw poisoned arrows at each other. They hurt each other and only think about consolidating their respective positions and will be hell bent on getting the partner to change.
Each feels his/her way of life is the best, the partner has to toe the line. In the process, the families get involved and the mess becomes murkier.
One lady had come to me with the usual problem of incompatibility with her husband. That was her presenting complaint. They were married for less than a year and they had differences. Each felt he/she was right, there was no attempt at compromising. Things went so bad, there was an episode of physical violence, and they separated on this issue.
The parents were involved, and it even went to the extent of sending each other lawyer’s notice. And they dug their heels in and refused to budge. Finally after a lot of heart burn, they agreed to get back together.
But the man had laid down certain rules and conditions. One was the usual one of not contacting her parents. They have settled into an uneasy pattern and are continuing their marriage. Now the lady is chafing at the conditions and wants to know how to over come them.
She is a working woman, so contacting her parents is very easy. She has to be in touch with them, so calling them up from office is the only option. If calling them from home is a problem, she does not do it. She has to work on her marriage and so she has to be patient.
As for her parents not being allowed to come home, it will take time for him to cool down. I have suggested to her not to push the issue, if she wishes to work on her marriage. Not because a woman’s identity is marriage, but since she has made a commitment to the relationship, she has to give it all her best.
He seems to have calmed down, in fact he has told her she can contact her parents. Her parents too must have patience, they have to stay away if that will help their daughter’s marriage. Parents do get flustered when their daughters have marital problems. But they must stay away and encourage the daughter to find solutions. She can call them to vent, but actually that adds to the problem.
It is not that a daughter should not contact her parents and complain. If she does so, it involves the parents in the marriage, and in the heat of the moment, words can be exchanged that can cause damage. Rational thinking is what is needed here, but most times, rationality flies out the window.
This young lady is impatient to have her way in the marriage. She did not seem to realize there was no need for hurry. She has to first look to see if she has to change her attitude, expectations and her style of thinking. She can only change herself and in the process get her husband to change.
Right now he is smarting under the insult of the lawyer’s notice. Things spiraled out of control very fast. Both were immature and decided to hurt each other. Now that they are together, he is taking time to relent. Here she has to analyze her priorities and see how she can influence her husband to change his outlook and attitude.
It is not to say that he is completely blameless. He did what most men do, raise their hands without thinking of the consequences. He is well educated, well employed and seems to be possessing good social skills. Then how he resorted to such a behavior, is not understandable.
The wife loves him, she wants her marriage to succeed. Then she has lots of work ahead of her. Not all marriages have it easy. There are plenty of problems in most marriages. Her problem is she is hoping for a good change in a short span of time and he seems to be digging his heels in. They do need counseling to make them see how their behavior is detrimental to their relationship.
Marriage is not about keeping scores. That is competition and childish. Marriage is all about accommodating each other and being there for each other. It is also about opening yourself to feeling and moving towards your partner for bonding. But fearing pain and not wanting to be hurt again, will not allow you to experience the joys of a good relationship. When you guard your heart, you are in pain. Moving forward with determination and being positive, need not bring you pain. How will you know till you have tried?
I have suggested to her to continue her counseling, we can work on her expectations and improve her coping skills. After all, like I have pointed out, she is talking about 40-50 years of life together with him.