Discord in the World, Discord in Marriage

Anxiety on a national level is putting our intimate relationships under stress.

If there was any doubt that we are all connected, the terrorist attacks of September 11th brought home the reality of our unity in both shocking horror and transcending nobility. Even the aftermath of this tragedy continues to teach us about our oneness.

Yet in our relationships, especially with our partners, many of us now see heightened evidence of what divides us. For instance, many couples are noticing a tendency to indulge their irritations, to feel misunderstood, and to forget the purpose of relationship, which is to come together to give comfort, to share burdens, and to make life easier on one another.

Today much of the world's population shares in a conflicted mindset that operates on several levels-it is affecting our marriages, health, motivation, job performance, and parenting attitudes. It is a complex of thoughts and feelings that includes unity, patriotism, tolerance, and generosity, all of which are much talked about in the media. But it also includes somberness, anxiety in the present, increased fears about the future, and, interestingly, an overall decrease in motivation. These combine into a single mood or mindset that often results in distraction and preoccupation. As one of our talk-show listeners said, "My idle thoughts are much louder than usual."


In addition to our contacts with our friends and the people we counsel, our radio program has put us in touch with people in disparate locations and walks of life. Almost to a person, they are having difficult and contradictory emotions. On the one hand, they feel more closeness with their family and friends, and on the other, they experience more discord with many of these same people. Their ordinary day is also affected. They feel a spiritual unity at unexpected moments, as if suddenly they catch glimpse of great wings of love sheltering them and all others. Yet at other times nothing makes sense, nothing seems important, and there is a nagging feeling that everything in their life is going to pieces: circumstances, relationships, emotions, health.

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Hugh and Gayle Prather
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