We live in a very difficult world

We live in a very difficult world. We are surrounded by criticism and nonsupport and so we are always on the defensive. It seems most of the time we are faced with challenges; prosperity and happiness do not come naturally to most people, they have to be fought for. Yet when people enter into a relationship with the intention of settling down with someone permanently, there is an expectation the relationship will provide a respite from the world and its difficulties. Virtually everyone has an underlying expectation the relationship they get into will be a safe haven. Is this a reasonable expectation? I think so. Actually, I know so.

Others don’t think so, and it is reflected in the processes relationship counselors typically invoke on those who come to them for help. When people are having difficulty in their relationship they sometimes go for marriage or relationship counseling. In their first meeting with a new counselor the couple is asked to explain what brought them there so the counselor can get a handle on their situation. Although it is possible, I have never heard of a case where a couple goes in to see a counselor and the counselor asks them what is good in their relationship. I would guess that approach is pretty rare. After all, we live in a world that focuses on the negative. Most people focus on the removal of obstacles that block the path of the achievement they seek. Counselors typically ask what’s wrong. People who have gone in for help because they are not getting along are now asked to complain about their relationship and their partner. Doesn’t this seem like an odd way to help people get along?

It is a wise and rare relationship counselor who begins the very first meeting by announcing, “The past is over, now is the time to learn the correct behaviors and attitudes required for a healthy and happy relationship.”

Assuming People Know How To Be Married Is A Big Mistake

It’s nobody’s fault when they are not getting along in a relationship or marriage. None of us, or maybe I should say the vast majority of us, had no access to the vital knowledge of what is required to have a good relationship, a good marriage or how to maintain a good family. A lot of people joke about it and many people can give anecdotal tidbits about it, but very few have a manual for marriage. I finally wrote one (Lessons For A Happy Marriage) but it will take time for this essential knowledge to spread. In the meantime the struggles are great and the rescues are few and far between.

Here are 5 tips for those who are thinking about relationship counseling:

  1. Choose to focus your attention on the positive attributes of your mate.
  2. Hold your tongue. Never criticize the person you love.
  3. Recognize your spouse (if you are married) as the most important person in the world.
  4. Determine if your mate’s flaws (if you are not married) are deal breakers. If they are, stop torturing each other and make a friendly and clean break.
  5. Know for sure that a marriage is meant to be a piece of heaven on earth.

Although both of you have flaws, issues and problems, don’t think it is your job to fix or point out those of your mate’s. Appreciate your mate for who they are rather than for what they can do for you. The next time you see them smile, look in their eyes and say, “I love you.”

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