We have all been fed images by the media of the happily married couple with two kids who are enjoying the sunshine together. For many of us these images raise the nagging doubt why it is that our own marriage is not quite as wonderful.
The very first step to have a better marriage is to understand that these fairy tale marriages do not exist. Real marriages do not come as good or bad packages but are only as happy as we are ready to work at them.
In my work as a marriage counselor and specialist for soulmate relationships, I have found something that immediately improves a marriage - but I have to warn you that it does not sound very romantic. This something is what I call "the law of an even deal". Simply stated, it says that you will only be happy in your relationship if you make sure that you get as much out of it as you put in.
Many people respond to this advice with aversion because they do not want to go about their romantic relationships with a calculator in their hand. Particularly women are fond of unconditional love and the idea of selfless giving without expecting something back. However, in my counseling practice I have found that it is exactly these women who get angry over time and complain that their partner is lazy and selfish.
How did it come to this? The answer is that many women have too lofty ideas about love and forget to take into account their unconscious mind. In other words, at the beginning of a relationship the woman – being swamped by honeymoon hormones – overcares and overextends herself and believes that this will lead to eternal happiness with her partner. Unfortunately, after the first blissful honeymoon period has ended, particularly when children have arrived, these women get more and more bitter because they feel taken advantage of.
Do men overcare as well? Sometimes they do. But in my work as a therapist I have found that 99% of my female clients act in this way.
What can you do if you find yourself in this predicament? The answer is to sit down with your partner and openly discuss the idea of an even deal and whether you and your partner feel that you both get as much out of the relationship as you put in. An even deal is only achieved when both partners can say a wholehearted ‘yes’ to this question.
In order to get to a better deal with your partner, you need to take everything into account: household chores, money, sex and affection and then work out something that feels good for both of you. I can promise you, as soon as you feel that you get more of an even deal in your marriage, you will feel a lot better.
To learn more about improving your marriage have a look at Tara’s website or refer to her book Soulmate Relationships. Tara holds an M.A. in Education and has post-graduate qualifications in gestalt therapy, body awareness therapy and transpersonal therapy. She is a fully qualified and licensed psychotherapist and counsellor. Tara has worked as a drugs counsellor, counsellor for adolescents and general psychotherapist since 1988. Tara is the author of several self-help books. She has been featured in numerous publications and has appeared on various radio and television shows in Europe and the United States. Visit her website here.