Monday, March 30, 2009

Random Marriage Advice

Do whatever it takes to laugh as much as possible together - not at each other.

Practice Lamaze outside of pregnancy. Deep and slow breathing actually works as a relaxation technique and helps you avoid saying things in stressful situations that shouldn’t be said.

Never raise your voice in anger at each other. Walk away for long enough to let the emotions cool before tackling an issue of dispute or disagreement. Then, if neither party can accept the other’s wishes fully, practice acceptable compromise - or postponement of resolution. Remember, not everything has to be resolved right now.

Oh, and if a sauna isn't an option, a shower or bathtub works just fine - individually or together.


Jen said...

To your list I would add... NEVER talk negatively about each other and ALWAYS speak positively and with respect about your spouse, especially in front of family and friends. Protect each other's reputation with your love.

Make non-verbal signals to one another when things are difficult and you need a break. Come back together within 5 minutes and pray on your knees together each taking a turn. After that, try again to work through the difficulty.

Try to always have mutual friendships and hobbies together. Remember to enjoy life TOGETHER, it can be a blast with the person you adore.

Lastly, unify yourselves with each other and the Lord. Learn the differences between men and women in how they communicate and what makes them feel loved and then apply what you learn in your relationship. The Lord will bless you for your efforts!

Oh yeah...Make lots of love!! (can I say that??) :)

Papa D said...

Great additions, Jen - and if I can recommend mutual baths and showers, you can mention frequent "wholesome (marital) activities". I'm certainly not going to argue with you. *grin*

adam said...

That is some sound advice Jen. I would only add that for many couples 20 min. breaks are better than 5, as it takes at least that long for one's heartbeat to get back down to normal.

As for speaking positively, I agree. There is actually a term for intentionally speaking negatively about one's spouse / trying to damage their reputation. It's called "gaslighting" and is very toxic.

Chas Hathaway said...

Well said, guys. I think both the advice in the post and in the comments are great. If we do those things, we'll have great marriages.

- Chas

Papa D said...

adam, I hadn't heard that term. Thanks.

Chas, glad to have you comment. I hope you contribute regularly.

Jen said...

Adam-maybe in that 20 minute cool off it would help for both people to write down or type all the negative feelings they are having to help release them in a harmless way. I have written in what I call my negative feelings journal all the feelings I am having when I am very upset, angry, etc. I don't go back and read them and I either delete them or destroy them in another way if they are written by hand. I never allow anyone else to read them and knowing this allows me to get rid of all that I am feeling safely. It has been useful to me in helping me to cool off and gain perspective again.

Also, interesting term "gaslighting". I haven't heard of that before.

Chas-I will be checking out your blog. Thanks for sharing!

adam said...

I was reading up on the gaslight term, and I think it has more to do with trying to make one's spouse think they are crazy. That can involve damaging their reputation with others I think, but apparently it has more to do with making your spouse feel like their thoughts or feelings are ridiculous or abnormal. Apparently this behavior is common with controlling men.

Jen - If the journaling helps calm a person down, then it may help, because that is the point of it, for sure.

adam said...

re: gaslighting - if you are trying to convince your spouse that their feelings or thoughts aren't valid, a great way to go about that is to convince everyone around you of the same thing.

Jen said...

Adam-I actually lived with a parent who used "gaslighting" tactics a lot. When people are good at manipulating others it can be very difficult to detect that someone is doing this unless you know them well. The person on the "receiving" end can feel completely helpless and it creates feelings of despair and a feeling that you have no worth. In my experience, when a person is willing to consistently behave this way, they don't typically change and you can't have a trusting, loving relationship with them. It can be very dishearting and the person on the receiving end of it can really start to feel like they are going crazy. When the parent of mine that used these tactics died, I didn't really miss them. I wondered why but I realized it was because there was never a relationship there to begin with, so there was nothing to miss.

There is a book called "How to Hug a Porcupine" by John Lund and it describes some of these types of difficult behaviors in others and how to deal with them. What I like about the book is it teaches the "victim" how to love others, but to also protect themselves from being hurt over and over again and helps them to know it is ok if they have to leave to avoid further abuse.

Papa D said...

I just want to tell everyone how much I appreciate all of the excellent comments on this thread - and on the thread about becoming a forgiving person. I'm not going to comment in any detail, but I do want everyone to know how grateful I am for your contributions.

Anonymous said...

Thirty years married,admire and adore each other.Married in the temple.Appreciate the counsel,but guys,if I couldn't vent my frustrations from time to time with my homies I think i would bust.That's my survival strategy,and how i get some perspective on my difficulties.I just could not do family without my friends.

Papa D said...

"if I couldn't vent my frustrations from time to time with my homies I think i would bust."

I respect that, Anon - as long as EVERYONE knows it's simply venting and you really love each other. If they can listen and let it drop (forget it in all practical ways), that's cool.

R. Gary said...

Re: venting frustrations from time to time at home.

Spencer W. Kimball's son Edward tells about a golden wedding anniversary party for another couple: "When a speaker said that the couple had never raised their voices at one another, Spencer leaned over and whispered to a friend, ' It must have been dull.' " (BYU Studies vol. 25, no. 4, pg.61.)

Papa D said...

R. Gary, I love it! Thanks for sharing that quote; it's priceless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the soothing words guys,sometimes I feel the air will just be too thin for me in the celestial kingdom!
I think maybe the distinguishing factor is intent. As a rule ,we vent in order to support and explore best practise,there's no malice involved,because it's a given that we love our DHs.
Also,DH and I have very little in common other than our children and our commitment to each other and the gospel.I figure that's a lot,and for the other stuff we get to let each other off-that seems like the kindest thing to do.There are many ways to be a couple.Some people have a mismatch as regards the degree of intimacy that they can tolerate,others find a match that may be different again from another couple.I think that it's great that you guys have such an instinctive understanding of one another .For many others their own reality has to be lived with as creatively as possible.

Papa D said...

"For many others their own reality has to be lived with as creatively as possible."

I appreciate and respect that, Anon. I really do. God bless you are you create in your own circumstances.