broken … relationships

WIIFM … What’s in it for ME.   We live in a “ME” focused society and wonder why relationships at work and home don’t work.

50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage. — National Center for Health Statistics

A 50% failure rate in business would get serious attention, yet for married men and women divorce is nearly routine an acceptable way out.    It may be that the cultural differences between men and women are not being adequately addressed so the default has become, “separation” or “divorce”.   What could change the outcome of a relationship that is going in the wrong direction?

If both people took 100% responsibility for making the relationship work then perhaps there would be a higher success rate.   Not only is taking responsibility important so is knowing what the other person “needs”.    Most people enter a relationship with the intent of making it work and sometimes the “communication” between the man and the woman gets so bad that both people want the relationship to go away.

So, let’s look at what things might need to change to get a relationship back on track.   Men need respect.  Women need love.   Men speak in the language of respect and miss the need to communicate love to their wife.   Women speak in the language of love and miss the need to communicate respect to their husbands.   It is a classic model of having a good intention with a poor outcome.

For men it means listening to their wives and not trying to fix anything.  It just means being understanding and caring vs. a mechanic, engineer, or repairman and trying to fix the problem.   The problem men have is that they feel that anything that is brought to them needs a solution and listening and being empathetic isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind.

For women it means speaking to their husband in terms of appreciation.   What may happen is that wives will notice an issue that needs to be addressed but bring it up in such a way that it sounds disrespectful and that leaves the man feeling like he doesn’t matter.  When the man feels like he doesn’t matter he responds to his wife in an unloving way.

So, it may start with disrespect and then to unloving, the cycle begins and before long the argument has peaked and the man walks away and quits talking which only angers the wife even more.   Both people want what they want (WIIFM) and that makes it difficult to stop the cycle.

Men could stop the cycle by responding, “When I hear that it sounds disrespectful” and the wife could stop the cycle by saying, “When I hear that it sounds unloving”.   Instead of generating more tension and more anger it takes one person to stop the cycle and say, “I feel ______________ when you say _________________”.

Is it easy to stop the cycle?   It does take some maturity and discipline to recognize that an argument is starting to spin out of control.   It takes courage to stop bringing up things that happened months ago as fuel for justifying how one feels.

Simple first steps:

1. Women speak in a language or respect to your husband or partner.

2. Men speak in a loving way to your wife or partner.

If you don’t know how, ask,  ask the other person what it means to speak in the right way and then listen to the response.   Work on it and see what happens.

“caring is a tacit agreement to take care of each other”  Zig Ziglar

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