Saturday, June 19, 2010

2 Things That Won't Solve Your Relationship Problems

Two things that won't solve your relationship problems:

1. Getting married.
2. Having a baby.

In fact, the above things almost always increase relationship stress! The adjustments to both these things can feel crushing to both people in a relationship and so it always better to make these commitments from a position of relative strength, not weakness. Yet you'd be amazed by the number of people in my office who are in complete crisis where one or both of them think that it would help to either get married or have a baby! I also see a lot of people who are choosing to depress and think one way to get better would be to get married/have a baby. The problem is that what the person is thinking isn't logical.

For instance, if you in constant conflict with your partner, how will having a baby fix that problem? My theory is that when we start thinking such things we are holding to the principle of distraction - whatever distracts us from our problems is good for the relationship. This principle is self deception at it's best. Sadly the practice of distraction only works, if it does work, temporarily (ask any person with addictive behaviors) and often only makes things worse. Some reasons that distraction is so compelling to us:

1. Fear. This is the big one. We are often afraid of facing the truth about ourselves or our partner because of what that might mean. So we look for creative solutions that will allow us not to face our fear head on. But facing our fears is usually the only way to find a real solution.
2. Procrastination. Need I say more?
3. Low frustration tolerance and other unhelpful beliefs about self, the world and others.
4. Past pain. Old wounds hurt and are not easy to face and let heal.

My advice to people who are experiencing relationship problems and are tempted to either get married or have a baby? Get some help. Even if your partner or spouse doesn't want to come with your, find someone who can help. A friend, a pastor, a counselor - anyone who will be supportive and wise.

1 comment:

Lindsey Dueck said...

Yeah, no kidding. There is a few people I know that think getting married will solve all their life's problems.

I remember when we did marriage counseling with you, I mentioned something about how I couldn't wait to live with Eric because I was sick of everyone stealing my food. And Jobina said "Oh, that will still happen. You will be saving that one last piece of cake for yourself, and he will eat it."

SO TRUE. It happens all the time. And not just with desserts. Haha. Thanks for the heads up Jobina, I often think of you saying that!