2 of the Most Serious Problems in Your Marriage (And They Happen Before You’re Even Married)

There are the difficulties of developing relationships with your new in-laws and learning how to handling fighting with your soon-to-be spouse. The list goes on and on but I want to get back to my 2 concerns.

The first, and to me as a Marriage and Family Therapist for many years, the most serious, is about expectations. If I had a dollar for every time a young woman or man or an older woman or man said to me, “My wedding is going to be the best day of my life” I’d have an awful lot of dollars.

I’d like to break this sentence down. “My wedding (a single event) is going to be the best day of my life.” If that were to turn out to be true, and based on what couples tell me after their weddings are over, it almost never is true even at the time, then what does that say about your hopes of happiness for the rest of your life? Apparently, these people think it’s all downhill from the wedding. Putting such pressure on a single day, a single event causes tremendous stress on everyone to try and make everything perfect, and we all know nothing is ever perfect.

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According to GoodTherapy.org, quoting a book by R.S. Miller (2011) called Intimate Relationships, couples site constant pressure, criticism and opinions from others as sources of substantial stress when planning a wedding. They also indicate that finances, and expectations for perfection (unattainable) are equally stress-producing per H.T. Reis, Rusbult, C.E. (2004) in his work “Close Relationships: Key Readings. N.Y. Psychology Press

Why does this concern me? Because when perfection is not achieved, depression and self-criticism often sets in. I see couples come in and feel deflated. They had such high expectations for their wedding day and then there were problems. The band wasn’t as great as they’d thought. The food was too cold. The flowers were wilted. The guests didn’t seem to have much fun. And even when all these things went really well, many couples feel let down after the day itself. I believe this is because reality has now set in and the real work of being married and learning to live with someone else and be committed to that person forever feels overwhelming. So many brides and grooms feel doubt. Did they pick the right person? Why aren’t they feeling all tingly and excited anymore? Can they really stay with only one person for the rest of their lives? Coming from such a high as the perfect wedding expectation back to the real world is a roller coaster ride and can be quite devastating. If couples had realistic expectations for their wedding day it would make for a much smoother transition.

 

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Is It All About The Tie?

Fifty Shades of Grey hit the movie-going public like a tornado last month.  Even though there was some optimism that opening weekend would go well (based on the over one hundred million books sold worldwide) no one in the movie industry was prepared for the over ninety-five million in box office the movie took in over Valentine’s Day weekend.

Why am I doing a blog about this?  Because as a sex therapist, I am interested in what such an interest in a story about bondage means.  

2000px-BDSM_acronym.svgBDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masochism) are aspects of sexuality that have been around since our species figured out that two bodies together kept warmer than each one alone.  There has been much debate about whether Fifty Shades is about two people role-playing and having fun with sex and with full consent, or whether there is a darker side to this, one that is perhaps troubling to people worried about women’s safety and their rights.

Emma Green, the assistant managing editor of Atlantic.com writes that fantasy is both an escape from reality and an expression of a hidden desire.  She tells us that in culture, it both reflects who we are and shapes what we become.  

imgresViolence and sex walks a fine line …we need to be very careful not to let it spill over to a point where there is no control for both people.  Some guys get turned on by violence during sex, probably a throwback to the days when they had to grab their woman by the hair and drag her into the cave for sex.  Some women like it too, possibly enjoying letting go and feeling the strength of the man running the show.

As a therapist I believe that for people who enjoy this it is crucial to talk about it first.  Make sure BOTH people are really into it, and decide what is acceptable and when to stop.  

Sex is about vulnerability which means, especially for women, you need to be able to trust the man and know that you’re safe. Then you can make room for the openness that lets in intimacy and connection.  So go ahead, enjoy the tie, but don’t overdo it!

DOES CUPID HAVE GOOD AIM?

I recently read an article by Corey Levitan on the Men’s Health website in which the author theorizes that finding love is, for the most part, out of your control. Finding and connecting with someone who turns out to be right … Continue reading