Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I'm new at this marriage mullarkey.

Having only been nuptialed for just over a year, I'm hardly going to tell you what it takes to have a happy marriage.

Then again, I've seen approximately 447 marriages disappear down the Chute of Permanent Pain, so I might offer a few hints.

Better, though, listen to some expert marriage counselors.

They took to a Reddit thread to bare some tips, hints and notes of sorrow at some of the reasons for failed marriages.

There were quite a few, so here are some of the highlights.

1. Keeping Score.

This is so tempting, especially for business types. For them, everything has a number and winning is, well, everything. As one poster explained: 

A partnership is a team, not a competition. Whether a person keeps score of everything they have done, or everything their partner has done, it is a death knell for the relationship. This is one of the most common causes of resentment in a relationship, and you see it often when people use absolute terms to describe themselves or their partners.

You know, it's the I-always vs. She-never sort of thing.

2. Not Listening. 

How many times have you heard this? Oh, you've stopped listening? Well, there you go. A counselor put it like this:

Most people listen to respond and don't listen to hear. This is what I spend the most time teaching couples how to do.

That must be quite a tiresome job.

3. Don't Expect Your Partner To Read Your Mind.

I fancy this has got worse as we've become more buried in the self-regarding world of technology and social media. Yes, your partner may love you. No, that doesn't mean they're brilliant at knowing precisely what you're thinking and what you're needing. Because, you see, they're human. And very busy on Twitter.

As one guilty party explained: 

I banned the phrase 'you should just know' from my vocabulary after experiencing how stupidly frustrating that sentence is.

4. When You're Hurting, You Try To Hurt Back.

Who hasn't been guilty of this? And not just in high school. As one wise counselor explained it: 

Much of the relationship damage couples endure is the back-and-forth 'hurt each other' game that snowballs out of control, causing a ton more damage.

No, marriages aren't like episodes of Billions. Indeed, look at the main characters' marriages and ask yourself: "Would I really like to have a marriage like that?"

5. It's Not About The Money, It's About The Values.

A troubled one this, often confused with money issues. One wise helper observed: 

They say people divorce over money, but they don't -- they divorce over values. And nothing brings out someone's values -- or lack thereof -- like money. If you can't understand the person's priorities, fears, hopes, dreams, goals, and what drives them financially, if you look down on them for any of that, or if think you'll be able to fix any of that, don't marry them.

6. Having The Same Patterns Of Arguing. Over And Over Again.

One expert offered: 

Problems arise from a lack of humility and the challenge of getting out of deeply engrained patterns/cycles of conflict (which generally requires both partners to accept fault and extend grace). 

7. Too Much Defensiveness.

It goes like this, according to an expert:

Number one problem I see is overactive threat response creating anger and rigidity. People don't stop to turn down their defense mode, and lose sight of love because all their energy is going towards being right or controlling the outcome. Of course that control comes from a place of fear, but fear and vulnerability feels too dangerous, so it typically gets expressed as anger, frustration, or rigidity.

8. Not Responding To Repair Attempts.

This from someone whose wife has a degree in marriage and family counseling (so he married well): 

One of the bigger factors in a successful marriage are couples responding to 'repair attempts' during arguments/conflict. Rescue attempts are often little jokes or olive branches to help overcome issues and arguments.

Naturally, readers wanted an example. So he offered this: 

My wife didn't buy movie tickets in advance for date night this last Sunday and it was sold out. It sucked! She laughed and sheepishly said, 'well, at least we get to spend more time together staring longingly into each other's eyes!' That was her rescue attempt. It works two ways though, I also have to respond positively to it... which I did. We did a lot of staring longingly into each other's eyes last Sunday.

That must have been an interesting Sunday.

9. But My Favorite Solution Came From Someone Who's Happily Married.

This beats everything. For simplicity, at least:

I go to bed much earlier than him because I'm a teacher so I have to wake up very early. Every night when I go to bed, he takes a break from what he's doing and comes and lays down with me for about 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I fall asleep with him there, sometimes we just lay and talk about our day without the distractions of our phones, work, etc, and sometimes of course it turns into sex. Either way, we do this every night without fail, even if we're upset with each other. It puts things into perspective, it's hard to stay mad about something like not doing the dishes after dinner when we're laying in the dark in each other's arms.

Published on: Jun 12, 2019
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