Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Talking with fellow therapist about marital counseling/training/workshops. Ideas just ran out of him. His marriage is good. He has helped others with theirs. It struck me that his and many people I know have a much better second marriage than they had before, despite the statistics which say that second marriages don't last more than first ones. I'm saying that when they do make it, it's because the spouses have learned something.
Of course, their first loves may have been more tender and deep in the beginning, especially in the enthusastic bloom of youth. However, as they made their immature mistakes, gradually wrecking their relationship, the cracks in the relationship, no matter how much the family love became too painful to hold them together.
Then, they grow up, hopefully, and apply their corrective measures to the relationship, if they're stable and wise enough.
1. They don't try to make each other over but accept each other's strengths and weeaknesses. They don't try to turn their spouses into someone they're not. . They change and lower their expectations, as necessary and periodically, to accomodate for life's failures, aging and disappointments.
2. They don't argue on and on, no matter how right they think they are. They realize that it's ok to agree to disagree, to lose the battle but win the appreciation which letting it go brings.
3. They compromise. Each wins sometimes. One may work harder at peace than the other but each stands her/his ground without putting down the other when it's very, very important only. Like integrity or life-and-death important.
4 There's enough humor, happy experiences, and friends to stimulate them.
5. They find the balance of togetherness and personal space which works for them.
6. They understand each other's background and respect it, including each others' families, where appropriate. (Some families were too hurtful, and that's respected. too.)
7. They never use sarcasm, eye-rolling, grimaces and smirks, and ugly put downs or other forms of verbal abuse, even when really angry. They say they're hurt, frustrated or angry and explain, instead. They don't make each other feel unsafe or wounded.
8. When they goof up, they learn from it, think how to improve, and do better. Inevitably, that happens because no one is perfect.