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MARRIAGE COUNSELING MATTERS

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (1896-1986) and the Duke of Windsor (1894-1972) outside Goverment House in Nassau, the Bahamas, circa 1942. The Duke of Windsor served as Governor of the Bahamas from 1949 to 1945. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Wallis Simpson and Edward, onetime English King, via dailyfinance.com

Who can explain a thirty year marriage. One woman? One man? Thirty years?

And no one talks about it. No one wants to talk about it when Time Magazine asks if monogamy is dead.

That’s part or the deal, or at least part of what I understood when I took the vow.

Took the vow. It sounds so noble. Like the Knights of the Round Table taking a vow.

When I said I do, I said it loud enough for all husbands to hear. From current news on infidelity, also known as screwing around on your spouse, they didn’t hear it.

You’ve heard the stories about marriages that almost made it? Probably not.

No one tells how their marriage almost made it. The reason is obvious, right? You’re talking to a divorced person explaining how their marriage almost made it.

It’s almost as hard as talking to a married couple explaining how they ‘saved’ their marriage.

Marriage CPR is usually called counseling. If you’re married and haven’t gone to marriage counseling, you’re missing something important.

Maybe it doesn’t sound fun, and maybe you don’t need marriage counseling, but it can’t hurt.

Everybody thinks they’ve got a good marriage, from potential in-laws to actual parents.

One parent with a marriage on the horizon suggested the two fiances take a pre-marriage compatibility test. The mom suggested it to her kid, who said no. The dad agreed with the kid. The mom said she and the dad might need to take the test instead.

Very crafty, don’t you think? As in, “Let’s find something to pick at, you look all healed from last time.”

Some marriage compatibility questions from professional-counseling.com:

  1. Does your partner constantly criticise and undermine you?
  2. Do they deliberately ignore and stone-wall you?
  3. Do they physically hurt you – punching, slapping, pinching, shoving?
  4. Have family and friends expressed concerns about your well-being in this relationship?

See the numbers? 1-4 starts out the compatibility quiz with abusive relationship questions.

I gotta tell you, one marriage counselor Mrs. Boompdx and I visited started out on a similar track with, “Lets see if this marriage is worth saving.”

First thing out of his mouth with a big smile. Maybe it’s an inside marriage counselor joke and I didn’t get it, but I told him, “Yes, doctor, we came to learn about more communication tools we can use in our marriage. If that’s the saving you have in mind, good.”

Just because you decide together to go to marriage counseling doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed.

Let’s breakdown the first four questions.

image

The Honeymooners via ravepad.com

 

Does your partner constantly criticise and undermine you?

If one partner says yes, then it’s yes. It’s like no means no. Goes for yes, too.

Let’s say your partner feels it and you say something like, “They talk more trash than I do and I’m not sitting here all butt-hurt about it.”

You’re in counseling, it’s okay to express your feelings and listen to your partner’s feelings. It’s not a competition.

If the other person says it’s true, then you need to learn how to be more supportive and uplifting. If you’re married thirty years, chances are neither of you are the biggest losers.

Tune up your love valve and be the person you think you are, instead of a critical, undermining, a-hole.

Novelist-Ann-Beattie-imagines-Mrs-Nixon-BEJJ6JD-x-large

The old Stonewaller himself, via usatoday.com

Do they deliberately ignore and stone-wall you?

Again, this depends on which side of the fence you’re on. The Eagles drummer Don Henley was asked if he understands women better now than he did when he was young.

“I think we’re basically the same, except women want to talk about things more. A lot more.”

Speaking to guys here, be a good listener. That’s it, be a good listener. You don’t have to fix something, change something, or even do anything but be a good listener. It’s not asking too damn much.

Who hasn’t been in a room where one man dominates the conversation while his wife sits quietly? Would you guess it’s any different when they’re alone?

Married baby boomers have been in that room. Soon to be married millennials are just getting a taste.

Be strong and silent with your jerky friends, be a good listener with your wife.

Quick story: I went to dinner with my wife at one of her friend’s house. The friend had a gay brother who’d died and left a circle of friends. My gay uncle was one of them. They would all be at the dinner.

Just before dinner my wife asked me to join the gay men sitting in the other room. She announced to them, “BoomerPdx is a coach. He’s been coaching for years.”

With that said, each of the guys explained how they came to hate sports. It was all about one coach who bullied them. Quite an indictment coming from the group, and embarrassing to be the straight coach in the room.

They probably weren’t all looking at me, it just felt that way. It seemed like I should say something.

Came out like this, “All I know is this: if I was gay I’d fight Joe Buck for Troy Aikman.”

If they weren’t looking at me before, they were now.

On the way home my wife asked, “What were you thinking? Troy Aikman?”

“Just trying to fit in, dear.”

emaifeatures

Fatal Attraction via nydailynews.com

Do they physically hurt you – punching, slapping, pinching, shoving?

This one goes both ways. Men, don’t hurt your women. Women, don’t hurt your men then tell them to man up. Men, man the hell up.

If something bothers you, if the love tap didn’t feel like love, the love pinch didn’t feel very loving, tell them. Don’t stonewall your feelings, don’t clam up, and don’t retaliate.

Keep it consensual, husbands and wives. Ignore this stuff at your own risk. And no spanky jokes.

Have family and friends expressed concerns about your well-being in this relationship?

Listen, if no one has expressed concern about your well-being before marriage, you’re headed to a union with a Stepford Wife. Or husband.

The_Stepford_Wives-016

via coolwallpaper.com

“Oh, you two are perfect.”

“No one is better for you than they are.”

Before my wedding my father in law offered me two hundred bucks to quit right there. This is the same man who said when my future wife took me home for the first time:

“You may sleep with her where you two live, but not here. That would make this a whore house, me a pimp, and her mother a madam.”

And he said like he’d said it before. I made a note to ask later how many guys she’d brought home before me. But I didn’t. Why? Because I knew I’d be the closer.

Taking a marriage counseling quiz shouldn’t be a challenge to your relationship. Instead, look at it as a tool.

It’s okay to laugh, be honest, and cry, just not all at the same time.

About David Gillaspie

Comments

  1. who took the photo of Wallis Simpson and Edward ? I think you should identify the photographers !

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Good catch, Alex. If not identifying the photographers, at least note the source. Wallis and Edward via dailyfinance.com.

      Other than that, how did you like the post? Marriage is a lot like photography, especially when one partner has a photographic memory, or says they do.

      Thanks man,

      DG

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