Chapter 3.Relationships: Conflicts


For Moments of Marital Crisis

There will be times when you will feel very bleak about your marriage. You will wonder why you got married. You will feel you made a disastrous mistake in tying your life to this person. Those moments won’t necessarily last long but they are bound to arise – and we need to be a little prepared.

Here, therefore, are some bits of stiff, kindly consolation for the periods of agony.

1. Everyone when known properly turns out to be unbearable in some central ways.

There is no-one you could be married to that would not – at times – leave you feeling desperate. You too are tricky, you should remember.

2. Your sorrows are very normal.

Many people are suffering in similar ways, and have done so in the past, and will do so again in the future. It’s miserable, but you are participating in the common experience of humanity. Maybe they don’t talk about it much – but millions would sympathise deeply with what you’re going through. You feel completely alone; yet you are in a vast (shy) majority: a thoughtful, well-read surgeon screamed at his partner through the bathroom door late last night and woke the children. Right now, a level headed, nicely dressed IT consultant lives in dread of her partner finding out she’s been having an affair online.

3. Your worst thoughts are only thoughts.

The feeling that you wouldn’t mind if your partner were to die swiftly and painlessly leaving you to start again doesn’t make you a monster: it’s a very common thought that passes through the heads of obviously sane and reasonable people. It doesn’t mean you wish your partner any harm. It will pass.

4. No-one really understands anyone else.

That your spouse doesn’t grasp you in central ways is entirely unavoidable.

5. It’s not strange if you would like to have an affair.

It’s so reasonable and natural to want to. It would be wonderful to be wanted, to be held and loved and properly appreciated in bed. But an affair wouldn’t solve the underlying issues, which have to do with frustration and lack of connection.

6. Your heightened feeling of despair will probably pass quite soon.

Your anguish is very real at this moment. But later it won’t seem quite so bad. We get used to things.

We cope better than we think. This too shall pass.

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