Monday, May 14, 2007

"The New Rules of Marriage" by Terrence Real

I think it's a great idea to sit down every once in a while and read a "marriage how-to" book. Let's face it, nothing prepares you for being married. You don't get an owner's manual! I've perused some books over the 6+ years that I've been married and have yet to find the "perfect" one for couples. However, all of them have some good advice, so I take what works and leave what doesn't.

Mr. Real's book is pretty much the same as the rest; there's the good, the bad, and the "what on earth is he talking about?!" He gives some nice examples of couples that he's worked with and their cases, presenting the arguments themselves and how they are eventually resolved. I like when authors do that because you will almost always be able to relate to one of the couples and their problem.

One of the points I didn't agree with was that we all "marry our parents" in order to hopefully resolve some childhood issue we had with said parents. Maybe some people do this, but I had a pretty good childhood - no abuse, no cold fish, no overly authoritative tyrant, no yellers, etc. I would have been OK with this advice/information if he hadn't made it sound like everyone who gets married does this - I don't think you can label anything at 100%.

I will agree with his advice on arguing, as it's been said by several therapists before him. How you argue reveals a lot about your marriage, especially whether or not it will survive. People who lower themselves into name calling, using "always" and "never", and those that bring up issues from years past do not often have what would be described as happy marriages. Often those same people end up getting divorced, I think because they tend to have no respect for each other as human beings. That, after all, is the most important thing to remember in a fight - no matter how angry or "right" you feel, that person you're yelling at is not just your spouse, they are a human being who deserves your respect as such.

The biggest point that I really liked and felt was important was that people often forget to cherish each other. I call this taking your spouse for granted, but however you want to word it, I think it's probably the number one reason people get so nasty when they fight. While you don't have to thank your spouse for every little thing they do, you DO need to thank them. I know how much I like it when someone tells me how much something means to them, whether it's something big like an important presentation done well, or my hubby telling me how much he appreciates that I made sure he had clean work clothes. No one likes to feel unwanted, or perhaps more important, invisible. So go home tonight and tell your spouse or significant other just how much they mean to you. And don't just tell them tonight - tell them as often as possible. That is what true love is.

No comments: