11.15.2012

The Psychology of Marriage – is forever impossible?


    
Marriage Day
Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)
        Marriage is a sacred institution, blessed by God and symbolizes a union of souls who are compelled to stand together, through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others, till death do them part.  A series of statements such as this will bring to mind the debate of what is considered marriage, whether or not it is between a woman and a man or two genders that are equal and this article will not address either of those specific gender topics, but will address the psychology of what it takes to make marriages last or at least be able to withstand the majority of the “requirements” that surround the “institution” of marriage.  Occasionally, we are fortunate enough to see or hear the stories of couples that seem to have lasted forever in their marriage realms and seldom understand what causes those others to end; critical thinking skills and some open air will hopefully educate us in this aspect and attempt to discover “secrets” of longevity.


            First, we will “define” a few parameters in regards to the term, marriage; the first encounter is from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, where it states:  Marriage (1) the state of being united with a person of the opposite sex as husband and wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law and (2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage and (3) an intimate or close union.  In reviewing these definitions, we can extract the key element union and clearly see that no matter the gender, when two persons join together in a relationship, it is considered a union of persons, which means that each party brings their own backgrounds, quirks, health issues, finances, environments of extended family and problems to the table, same for their partner and each decide it is acceptable and combine them and combat those issues as one.

     
{| class=
{| class="description en" lang="en" align="center" width="100%" style="width:100%; vertical-align:top; border:1px solid #ABD5F5; background-color:#F1F5FC; margin-top:2px;" | English (en) Laws regarding cousin marriage in the United States First-cousin marriage Allowed with restrictions or exceptions Banned with exceptions 1 Statute bans first-cousin marriage 1 Criminal offense 1 1 Certain states may recognize marriages performed elsewhere. |} derivative work: Khin2718 ( talk ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       This particular parameter also suggests other elements are involved, items such as trust, faith, hope, commitment and support are also involved in the union process that occurs after the “I do” dust has settled.  For example:  The first day after you are married, without giving it a second thought that means waking up to one person everyday who is a part of your life permanently until you are departed or the dissolution of the union has taken place, this could mean several years or few months but in either it means together.  This example only supports the fact that in saying “I do” we do not consider this example a major role or major item as we are willing to forego the fight for covers that will inevitably take place at some point.  Point of safe play #1: Rather than argue or struggle the debate of covering ourselves when we are chilly, why not snuggle, it is a nice benefit of being married, no matter the partner, it brings us closer and helps us to involve ourselves in being comfortable with our mates.  This also adds to our growing list of items that are a part of marriage, along with those mentioned earlier, comfort levels are also a part of the puzzle.

            Trust is a key element in any relationship, trusting that our partners will be there for us through the richer and poorer, sickness and in health and other items not listed or “vowed” becomes essential in healthy function of the marriage.  What is trust or what it includes could be about faithfulness in bad life events, non adulterous actions, taking out the dog or even that you won’t suffer a cover shortage but it is not exclusive to these items alone.  So many times trust in a relationship is broken due to a communication gap that exists and when we get angry or upset, clouded thoughts can cause us to miscommunicate what we mean and start other avenues that hurt our feelings, which could break the bond of trust that much further, trust has weight, power and conviction rates that are sky high, but necessary.  How important trust is depends on the person asked, but according to Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, trust is important and it is dangerous.

            Trust is important because it allows us to build working relationships with persons on a variety of levels and this is done with no real pressure or undying force being applied, usually accepted as a part of life’s journey.  It also means accepting the consequences of when someone is not there for us, including infractions of communication, finances, work and home as well as a variety of others and this level of acceptance or betrayal is earmarked as we forget there are no guarantees in any relationship, other than signing a marriage license - you are not signing into a contract that states specifically, “no mistrust or misguided actions allowed” because we are human and are prone to making mistakes, judgments of character are among them.  This is where a test (or testimony) of the strength of the union is focused and how the couples handle that stress is again reliant on themselves combining their efforts to ease the impact and hoping that miscommunication among them will not drive a larger wedge into the picture, though seldom does it work out this way.  It is no secret that sometimes “the world” is a scary place, full of uncertainty and unions of marriage suffer these items only when trust is shaken, not broken.  When trust is broken, that is when the individual or the situation becomes “dangerous” as it can cause human emotion to emit hurtful or angry words that only complicate the process of healing.
"MARRIAGE AND PISTOL LICENSE" office sign, Dekalb County, Georgia (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            In all of these items, trust involves being optimistic about the situation, the person and the environment as a whole and each part becomes a necessary thought in everything we do, say and approach.  This makes us somewhat vulnerable in that if the person we trust does not carry out what they say or the circumstance leads to the opposite outcome, we feel betrayed, so a piece of our framework for longevity in marriage or unions is trust and all the aspects that come with it, including knowing in the forefront or back of our minds that trusting that individual for a lifetime also makes us vulnerable and susceptible to the after effects all relationship long.

            The next item that comes with trusting an individual is communication as in talking, not calling someone or texting them or even sending an email (unless you don’t have any other way and in some cases its quite nice to receive), but talking to each other and doing so in an open platform can spark all kinds of good things.  Memories of childhood friends, situations, encounters help to build the trust bond and fuel love as well as compassion and yes talking does all of this.  In comparison, when we examine the following phrase, “I’m so in love with you” unless we know the context of the conversation taking place, in text form can mean and usually does get misinterpreted, but if we hear these words, our hearts leap, our minds become stimulated and we know how to interpret what we hear.  In much smaller ways, when those persons who have or thought about “sexting”, whether or not they accomplish their own goal of gratification, without the touch, compassion and moment with their preferred mate, all they are left with is empty words, pictures and imagination, this in itself shows how absence isn’t making our hearts grow fonder, mostly seeing this type of behavior in relationships usually causes strife.  This supports the bonding, trusting and realness of what talking can bring or just simple communications that remind us of how human we really are.
Trust Worthy
Trust Worthy (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

            So far we have seen that communication, trust and a certain level of dependence play a major role in our quest to see if matrimony is indeed possible in forever talk.  Certainly we can understand the negative effects of these items as we in our relationships argue debate and sometimes say hurtful things to each other, especially when we are confused or aren’t clear on the communication being presented to our eyes and our ears.  This brings to mind the original term we used in our opening thoughts, union.  This not without knowing that when we commit to the quest, problems will come with them and this includes each being master of their own philosophies when it comes to handling stress.  This is another facet to longevity, understanding each other’s needs and the willingness to work together, teamwork.  When we participate in events with our friends or take part in some sort of organized undertaking, we easily recognize teamwork or kindred spiritedness is a part of the environment, however, many times over in relationships when life’s struggles get too tough, we often forget our partner has to (1) try and comprehend what is going on while (2) thinking of something to say or offer that will not make their partner angry.  A majority of the static that forms when couples undergo stress in their combined world is from seeing the “true” form of the person they are with when frustration or anger overwhelms them, again not something that comes to the foreground of thought when saying “I do”, not that it should but now that it becomes a part of the path, it 
NYC - New York Public Library - Astor Library
NYC - New York Public Library - Astor Library (Photo credit: wallyg)
needs attention.

            If our partners were attacked by someone in front of us, our natural reaction would be to defend them, but what if the attacker is one that attacks emotion and not physical body?  The easy answer is just to listen and try to console them, when in reality that partner may be in need of something more.  A majority of listlessness in times of strife can be thwarted simply by combining or relying on the union of the relationship, or more simply go back to what got you to the altar in the first place, the knowledge that your partner will understand and may not have the answer and not using that as a platform to argue about whether or not they support you the way you see it, sometimes support does come in the form of a hand that is held or simple “I love you” gestures that are attempting to ease the stress, not inflict hurt.  So personal perception of the individual also is a play maker in longevity that means realizing each person is human, capable of mistakes of tongue and thought but in all cases, trying to be supportive and open.  Good food for the hungry relationship.

            Communication, openness, faith, hope, love, trust and insight, all human traits that when combined can last through any storm, especially in matrimony, regardless of gender.  What eludes us in divorce is recognizing that first, we are human, next we are together in the thick of things when life gets heavy and mostly due to trusting each other to help each other, not to hurt or dominate.  In reflecting in our thoughts of this complex item known as matrimony, we have revealed lots of facets that contribute solidly to longevity of relationships and this author wants to share a thought about fixing a broken relationship with our readers.  What it takes is talking, not avoidance, what it takes is understanding and clarity while not adding to confusion, what it takes is teamwork, not placing an “I” in the middle, what it takes is listening and not just with your ears, but with your open mind and full hearts attention.  This author knows that many will argue about divorce rates and problems of domestic abuse in initial loving relationships, my only response is this, when it comes to love, longevity of relationship or however one wishes to proclaim it, isn’t it much easier to work together than to argue apart and aren’t problems easier solved when thought out and not being compounded by personal hurt?  I think if we put on our critical thinking caps, we will see that not all the world’s problems are solvable, but if we put our trust in someone to help, we owe them at least the opportunity and should never scold them when they do as they too are human and mistakes come with the species.
*The only reference:  If you are struggling in a relationship and the environment is abusive, get out and get help, but if you think forever is impossible or ever wonder how couples go half centuries, a bit of food for thought, maybe they realize how human they are.

            

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