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Surviving a mindless marriage

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I’ve often said that staying married for the long haul is a miracle. This statement seems to fit statistics that show over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Perversely, when attending a joyous marriage ceremony, which is almost always followed up with an equally enjoyable reception, one cannot think of how long the union will last. Indeed, during our nearly 31 years of married life, well over half of the weddings that we have attended ended in divorce within ten years.

One of the major pitfalls that I have seen has been that after awhile both partners regress into a tendency which inevitably hurts the relationship. When this happens one or both begin manifesting rather childish behavior toward the other. Dr. Karen Sherman, a long-time marriage counselor who practices on Long Island, New York, attributes this rather mindless behavior to survival mechanisms that we develop during early childhood. She also points out that when these behaviors are combined with unresolved issues from a person’s youth, a tremendous strain will be placed on the relationship. For instance, certain rather innocent behaviors by a wife will trigger childish responses in the husband as they will cause him to begin treating his wife as if she is his mother as he continues an unresolved argument from his childhood.

As a successful marriage counselor, Karen sees an alternative. First, both partners must realize that this mindless, auto-pilot situation is occurring. Then, as individuals and as partners they must develop the ability to function as mindful adults and maintain a relationship at that level.

Marriage is not something that is merely created in a holy or civic ceremony. It is a relationship that must be monitored and maintained if it is to be enduring and successful. This requires that each partner realize that they and their relationship will go through phases. And, in each of these phases they must honor the changes that occur and re-commit to strengthening their bond.

Dr. Karen Sherman will be my guest on “It’s Your Life” at 9 a.m. Central Time, Friday, May 26, 2012. You may tune in through AM 14.50 if you are in the Anniston, Alabama area. Or, you can listen to the show by visiting the Listen Live link on WDNG.net.






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Keywords: marriage, psychology, It's Your Life, Karen Sherman, Tim Brunson, WDNG radio

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