By Chandrama Anderson
"All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward . . .Uploaded: Nov 8, 2021
that causes all the trouble."
- Raymond Hull
Yesterday I came up with the “elevator pitch” for my nonfiction couples graphic ‘novel’ I Do, I Don’t: How to Build a Better Marriage, and it goes perfectly with Hull’s quote:
‘You went to school, but no one ever taught you the tools needed for healthy interpersonal relationships. Here they are, in graphic detail.’
I read these in a novel that tie in as well:
“She may have a genius IQ, but when it was her own life, she was as clueless as everybody else.”
“Being brilliant doesn’t mean you’re always smart.”
Everyone needs to work on their relationship after saying, “I do.” At times, being smart, or even brilliant, actually gets in the way of working on a healthy relationship. The mentality of “We’re smart, we can figure this out” doesn’t necessarily hold true when it comes to emotional intimacy, or dealing with issues in a marriage.
When did you learn tools for a healthy relationship? If you were very, very lucky, you saw your parents treat each other in respectful and healthy ways. From what I’ve heard over the years, you learned something watching your parents, but most often it wasn’t useful or helpful for an emotionally intimate marriage. Parents who always “got along” or “never fought” didn’t teach you how to deal with issues when they came up. You didn’t learn how to make emotional repairs. Either they dealt with it all in private, or didn’t deal at all.
Unfortunately, being successful at work or in your career doesn’t necessarily translate to being emotionally successful with your beloved. Fortunately, there are skills that carry through healthy marriages and good work relationships and success.
Maybe you were taught the “Sandwich” method of communication at work: say something positive, then state the issue, then say another positive thing. That could work at home.
When you plan to do something new, you do research and/or take classes to learn it. That’s why you’re reading CouplesNet. To learn about ways to have a healthy relationship.
When I was in grad school, we had one class on marriage therapy! Yikes. That’s why I sought further couples training (six years) after I graduated. And I still learn.
Where am I going with this? The “living together after the wedding” brings out many facets of you. Among them, the amazing, joyful, painful, unhealed parts of yourself. Now what? You thought you were signing up for happiness, coupledom, support, etc. In truth, you signed up for all of it. Which on the one hand may be daunting, and on the other hand you have an amazing opportunity to help each other grow and heal from past issues and deeply increase your emotional intimacy at the same time. People are wounded in relationship, and heal in relationship.
Don’t worry about the fact that there are issues that arise after you’re married; that’s the case for everyone. You’re normal!
Keep reading CouplesNet and find other resources for growing and learning. Not every moment will be happy; and overall you can be happy with your marriage. Make sure you stake out time to be and do things together that you enjoy so your life together doesn’t devolve into only logistics interactions. There will always be chores to do; make time for each other anyway. There will always be too much to get done, even with each of you contributing. Relax into the overwhelm and have fun together.