Relationships

8 solutions to make married life easier

Author: Canadian Living

Relationships

8 solutions to make married life easier

During the long phase in the homestead you accomplish the essential work of your life. Here you create what lasts. But this involves work and effort, and every now and then the long road will feel too long for you. We've compiled here the typical complaints and with them, tips for better, happier ways to deal with these complaints - ways that are time-tested and ready to use. Simplifying your love means there's always a way. It's always worthwhile to struggle on. No one has to sacrifice themselves, no one has to give up. At the end of every struggle you will look back and be able to say, "Yep, it was hard. But it was worth it!"

Escape the nagging trap
The classic complaints from mothers are, "I feel left all alone with the children. Everything depends on me. My partner isn't around enough. He never asks how we're all doing - it doesn't interest him at all." The classical complaints of fathers: "I give it my all every day for her and the children, bring home the bacon for everyone, but that doesn't count. She just nags me. I never have time to do anything fun." More and more, the solution to the dilemma seems to be, "We'll separate and then we'll both be free." The serious disadvantage to this is that life is even more complicated by divorce. There have to be other solutions. Here are some:

Translate the accusation. The woman's sigh, "You're away from home too much," corresponds to her inner feeling, "I'm too tied to this home." A study at Harvard University showed that feelings of overwork and discontent are especially severe for women who have no or little activity outside of the household. Working mothers with household duties are just as exhausted, but don't blame their partners for it as much. Women who work primarily from home are just as discontented as full-time housewives, because the home becomes a demanding space that she is more at the mercy of than the man and which she never escapes - women still do 80 per cent of the housework, even when both partners work full time!

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Excerpted from How to Simplify Your Love, copyright 2008 by Marion Küstenmacher and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher. • Women must defend their equality. When the children are still small, many women feel especially "tied up," "locked in," and robbed of their personal freedom. Being a mother is a round-the-clock job. The woman is also less financially independent at this time, because she is at least partly going without her own income. At the same time, she sees that parenting doesn't have this same effect for the man. Despite his burdens, her working husband has it both ways: children and flexibility, which she painfully misses. When they have children, most women lose some of the equality (e.g., control over their time and money, mobility). So she complains to him and demands compensation: he has to help out more in the family. He defends himself against the bad mood at home, which takes away the last bit of his refuge: he's not allowed to relax at home or anywhere else. And he always has to feel guilty because he "gets" to go to work.

Recognize the warning signs. When it starts boiling inside of you like a volcano ready to erupt, and you start to feel resentful of your partner, it's a sign that you're not taking care of yourself. Constantly sacrificing yourself is the worst thing you can do, according to therapists (and husband and wife) Patty Howell and Ralph Jones . Resentment is you soul's way of telling you that your batteries are empty. No matter how much you take your silent anger or loud rage out on your partner, your children, or your whole surroundings, resentment will stay as long as you don't establish balance between caring for your children and caring for yourself.

Give yourself some freedom. Swiss relationship therapist Rosemarie Welter-Enderlin has formulated an important equalizer for a fair partnership: both parent partners must be able to continue to operate as adult individuals. Use the following two-part question to check how much freedom each of you really has:

Question 1: Can the woman leave the family now and then to retreat to her private sphere without first having to arrange child care and meals? Does she have ready access to time and money when she does?

Question 2: Can the man do the things he likes to do now and then without it involving either work responsibilities or negligence toward his family?

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Excerpted from How to Simplify Your Love, copyright 2008 by Marion Küstenmacher and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher. • Negotiate a fair arrangement. Using these questions, talk over your needs. Work out a reasonable treaty that gives each of you enough individual "adult freedom" every month. Talk openly, but be tough. For example: one day during the week he must be home at five so she can have a free night, and one evening a week he doesn't have to come home right away, but can do things with friends or go play sports as long as he wants. At least four days per month are just hers alone; on two weekends he takes care of the children and takes responsibility for the household (including grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning), on the other two she does. Divorced fathers often find that the obligatory weekends with their children mean that they actually spend more time with them than they did while married!

Be absolutely reliable. This schedule must be rigidly followed and heroically defended against threats from the office – it is an opportunity for the man to demonstrate his manliness to his boss of customers! Respect this schedule unconditionally: reliability is a cornerstone of love. The more reliable you prove to be to each other, the more your love will grow despite the burdens of everyday life. Once a year, stop and check whether the agreement still makes sense or whether it's time to renegotiate.

• Divide up obligations
. First there's career, education, raising children, and managing a household; then tack on elderly parents, a dog, or a garden to take care of, plus problems that arise at kindergarten or school and you can easily reach your limit. Health problems and arguments are the consequences. Here the only help is an objective analysis with everyone involved, where obligations can be reduced, delegated, or removed altogether: the smaller the children, the simpler you should make it. The older the children get, the more obligations can be taken on and divided up fairly.

• Build a network
. Get connected to other families who have children around the same ages and who live nearby: form carpools with other mothers to bring children to soccer practice or music lessons, and take each other's children for a weekend now and then. Involve the fathers, too: who can do what especially well and contribute? Call the other families about a special sale you notice at the store to see if they want one, too. Put together a "contingency plan" with these partner families in case one of the mothers gets sick. In the long term, this kind of network stabilizes your relationship, because everything doesn't have to depend on the partner.

Read more:
How to know if you're ready to have kids
How to get your spouse to clean the house
8 things no one ever tells you about being married

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Excerpted from How to Simplify Your Love, copyright 2008 by Marion Küstenmacher and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
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Relationships

8 solutions to make married life easier

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