Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Marriage: sometimes merry and sometimes not

Live and Learn | May 23rd, 2018

Marriage - photograph by Hisu Lee

By Melissa Martin
melissamartincounselor@live.com

And they lived “happily ever after.” Many people in the U.S. believe in love and matrimony, but marriage takes consistent effort and time to weather the ups and downs.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 88 percent of Americans cited love as the main reason to marry with making a lifelong commitment and companionship, respectively.

What are top issues that may cause conflict in marriages?

Communication. Marriage doesn’t come with a manual. Communication is about how you talk about the problem and how the problem is solved. And that means discussing issues without screaming, name-calling, blaming/shaming, walking off in a huff without returning to solve the problem, bringing up past hurts, refusing to compromise, and attacking each other’s character.

Expectations. We have an idea on what we think marriage should look like, and when it’s different than what we expected—fireworks! Or we try to change how our partner thinks, feels, and acts.

Money. Individuals are either savers, spenders, or somewhere in-between. And opposite viewpoints can spark conflict. Debt can be detrimental on a marriage. What happens when one partner is a credit card junkie or gambler? What happens when one partner is tighter than bark on a tree or fanatically frugal? Major fireworks!

Discipline of children. People come into marriage with different methods of how to discipline children; usually it’s how we were raised. What if one parent wants to spank and the other is adamantly against spanking? Add a blended family and tension may ensue over boundaries and rules.

Sex. Who wants more? Who wants less? And how do couples solve this issue? Females usually want more nonsexual affection (i.e., conversation, romance, holding hands, hugging, cuddling) and males usually want more sex. A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center cited 61 percent of married people reported a satisfying sexual relationship is important.

Household chores. Who does what? Who doesn’t help with dishes, laundry and cleaning? More than half of married U.S. adults say sharing household chores is important for a successful marriage, according to the 2015 study.

Problem with in-laws. Is mother-in-law nosy? Is father-in-law overbearing? Families are a mixture of relationships. Add rude relatives on both sides and hurt feelings can cause ruptures. “I can talk bad about my family, but you cannot talk bad about my family.”

“Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me?” Dr. Sue Johnson is the founder of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. www.iceeft.com/.

The following are two of my favorite books for couples:

"Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married" (2010) by Gary Chapman, bestselling author and marriage counselor.

"The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts" by Gary Chapman (2015 Reprint).

Marriage counseling, also known as couples counseling, relationship counseling, or couples therapy, is an option for marriages without merry. Counseling includes: helping partners learn how to communicate and listen to each other; understand and manage human emotions; repair ruptures and initiate forgiveness; implement problem-solving skills and decision-making methods. And how to address issues that cause conflict.

What is one way to keep the merry in marriage?

“I think one reason for a successful marriage is laughter. I think laughter gets you through the rough moments in a marriage.” –Bob Newhart

[Editor’s note: Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist.]

Recently in:

By Laura Simmonslaurasimmons2025@u.northwestern.eduHowes Township is frustrated with a court decision and a 2019 bill that lessened local control, giving it back to the state. Howes Township has been fighting the addition of a…

By Michael M. Miller  michael.miller@ndsu.eduPhoto credit: Sabrina HornungIn May 2022, the Rauter family of Wisconsin visited the Germans from Russia Heritage…

Fargo City Hall, thru Sept. 30  Fargo City Hall, 225 4th St. N.  …

By Faith Dixon  Faithshieldsdixon@gmail.com Guest editorial: ‘I am here to create, make and sustain true change’Being an activist is my purpose,…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com From Mansion or Hovel, We All End Up DeadWe are now living in the Divided States of America, which has been developing for more than 240 years. Economist Frederic Bastiat has come up with the main…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gion  rickgion@gmail.comIn this land of hotdish and ham, it used to be a real pain to find something satisfyingly spicy in the…

By Chris Larson  cjlarson75@gmail.comDuring a short break in their Wheels of Soul Tour with Los Lobos and the Gabe Dixon Band, I had a chance to…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMaking her English-language feature debut, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczyńska fails to replicate the quality and originality of either of her previous two movies. Both “The Lure,” which…

By HPR Staffsabrina@hpr1.comTour the studios of some of F-M’s most popular artistsThe Fargo-Moorhead area’s largest art event, the Studio Crawl, is just around the corner—October 1 and 2. The members of the Fargo Moorhead…

By Jessica M. Hawkesjmhawkes84@gmail.comIt wasn’t long after the founding of the railroad and river town of New Rockford that entertainment venues started to put down their own roots. Its population bolstered by booms of nearby…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

By Donna O’Shea  submit@hpr1.comWith the back-to-school season in full swing, the start of this academic year may…

By Andrew Alexis Varvelmr.a.alexis.varvel@gmail.comWill our congressperson be Cara Mund or Kelly Armstrong?Back 75 years ago in 1947, American radio stations played the hit song “Feudin' and Fightin'.” Its refrain went,…