The First Years: Marriage Advice

Cindy Voohees LAMFT The marriage clinic of Utah in Sandy Utah.
1. I’m hearing the most lately, that they go into this knowing this is the right person. Then when hard things come along, they think it must be wrong since it’s so hard.
“Marriage by design is supposed to be hard, as humans that’s how we grow and develop. We develop when things are hard, we hate it, but that’s what we need.”

Every couple wants communication skills. WE don’t know how to talk about hard things. Newlyweds or longtime weds.
Newlyweds, power struggle – Dating is a wonderful vacation. Before the responsibility, there’s a period where reality is suspended. You’ll pay the $5 for the churro that you’d never pay anywhere else -Disneyland.

Kids and feel stressed. You can have islands of time that you decide this is for us. This is for you and me to connect.
Young couples with no kids, the disconnect comes when you don’t spend time together. – Feeds into the big push on love languages, communicate about those.
Women feel that men don’t care. Keep communications in the I messages. i.e. I’m afraid you don’t care v. you don’t care.
You’re taking accountability for your feelings.
Assume good intent. I’m thinking my husband doesn’t’ care because he doesn’t have a date planned, assume that he does care and then ask him. Approaching as in, I’m feeling lonely and I miss you because we haven’t gone out on a date.
One of the things that Scotman (?)
Marriage communication fails when you’re emotionally hijacked.
Arguments, fights and conflicts are not death threat to the marriage. Repairs ar important need to come back to that. That’s hwere the marriage gets healthy. GOTMAN.
Healthy marriage v. unhealthy
Unhealthy marriages don’t make repairs. Sweep it under the rug.
Pulse is more than 100 beats per minute, you shouldn’t be flooded. Men will shut down when they flood and try to protect the relationship.
Women see it as they are being abandoned, she’ll come at him harder.
Have a signal. I need time, come back to it within 24 hours, no less than 30 minutes. It takes 20 minutes for emotion to leave the body.
“women feel abandoned. If they understood that they were protecting the relationship it woldn’t be so scary when they walk out.”
Men say, if she would come to me and not at me it would end differently. Look, I’m feeling lonely, I haven’t seen you, and I’m scared that maybe you used to?
At: you don’t even care, and you work all of the time.
I’m overwhelmed and I need someone to listen to me.
Relationships have stages, the first stage is honeymoon: everything is wonderful, married this person who is everything you’ve ever wanted.
2nd noticing things about them that you never realized. Spontaneous and fun  Peter pan.
Hot button, i.e. I’m never enough, man that feels it’s never enough. Healing thing, it gets brought to your attention. Stuck elevator – challenges you in a way that you need to be challenged. Forces you to grow. Polar opposites, you come to a more balanced center and balance each other out.

Encourage people to get counseling sooner vs. later. You form your beliefs about what your spouse is thinking without ever asking. Then you’re looking at your spouse through that lense. Based on an event the first year of marriage, even though there was good intent.

Not putting years and years of resentment, a long time to undo damage. Newlyweds can use skills without baggage.
Not feeling happy, go in. May take a few sessions v. long term.
3rd stage Withdraw, turn away from each other. Divorces happen here. Pushes each other away.
4th stage, look at them. They aren’t who they thought they were. NO one is. Not prince Eric, this is who you are and how do I want to make this work? Is this someone I want to stay with.
Married 39 years, not a touchy-feely, I have to tell him what I want. I need you to hold me. Doesn’t fill my well, outside his comfort zone and does it because he’s asked.

The formula is, you are responsible to meet 75 percent to meet your emotional needs. And you can’t expect someone to meet 25 percent of your needs. You will never fill their cup. Partners get burnt out.


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