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Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: ] #96677
04/21/11 06:25 AM
04/21/11 06:25 AM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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The Policy of Radical Honesty

One of the most basic emotional needs Harley identified is that of openness and honesty. So for someone who has this as one of their top needs in order to feel safe, happy and loved, telling the truth can make massive deposits into their Love Bank. But Dishonesty is also a Love Buster for many, even those who do not have honesty as a top need. Lying can for these people cause huge withdrawals for their Love Banks, destroying the feelings of romantic love they have for their spouse.

Few of us would say that we value lying above honesty. Most of us would claim that it is important to be honest and say that we strive to be honest in our daily life. At our jobs, when dealing with friends, when we get that extra dollar back in change at the Walmart we just about all would say that honesty is the best policy. Lady Grey even suggests that honesty is paramount when interacting with our lawyer for legal issues. So, it seems, honesty might be important enough to consider in our marriage as well.

When we have a romantic relationship with someone, we find that honesty can be a bit more difficult than in situations where the only thing at stake is our integrity. Suddenly we find ourselves finding areas where things don't always seem so black and white when it comes to truth and sharing that truth with our spouse. We find all sorts of reasons why a lie would be of benefit to us while truth could have a cost we aren't always willing to pay.

Quote:
The Policy of Radical Honesty:

Reveal to your spouse as much information about yourself as you know your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future.


The Policy of Radical Honesty, sometimes abbreviated as PORH, can be seen in four parts.

  • Emotional Honesty
  • Historical Honesty
  • Current Honesty
  • Future Honesty


There are times when dishonesty appears to be a good short-term solution to a problem. It can prevent a conflict; let you off the hook for thoughtlessness, keep a hurtful action from being discovered. But if you lie to your spouse one time, in order to prevent that lie from hurting your spouse or to keep your spouse from discovering your lie and hurting you in return, lies will need to be maintained, layering one upon another to prevent the truth from appearing.

Sometimes the truth can hurt us. This applies to the person sharing the truth and to the person finding out the truth. We even find ourselves saying that we wish we had never known about things, preferring to live in a fantasy than to understand that the person we have given our heart to is capable of hurting us. Even the most negative reactions to truth however do not destroy intimacy. It is the lies that prevent real intimacy from being built. And when a lie is discovered, it makes massive Love Bank withdrawals. So might the act that is being hidden, but if the act is covered with a series of lies in order to prevent its discovery, the lies simply compound the hurt for the person being lied to.

Let's look at the 4 parts briefly.

Emotional Honesty Reveal to your spouse your emotional reaction to the things he or she does and to those things in your daily life that can affect you emotionally. Share both positive and negative emotional responses, especially to the behavior of your spouse. Positive reactions shared with your spouse demonstrate what you would like more of while the negative emotional reactions can show them what to avoid to prevent hurting your feelings. To withhold this kind of information just about insures that you spouse will not be able to act in ways that enhance your love for them while making it more likely that they will do things that will hurt your feelings and make your love for them diminish. So lying about your emotional response to the things your spouse does can prevent you from getting what you need while making it more likely that he or she will end up doing something that will hurt your feelings.

Honesty does not require brutality, however. Even radial honesty does not have to be brutal. Being honest does not mean being disrespectful or making demands or lashing out in anger. Expressing your feelings is not the same as demanding something. Trying to coerce or leverage your spouse into doing something he or she is not enthusiastic about is not sharing your feelings, it is acting thoughtlessly.

If you judge your spouse and tell them that they are wrong, or that their feelings are wrong, that isn't honesty either. It is disrespect. Of course if you lash out in anger to punish your spouse we aren't talking about honesty but rather about Angry Outbursts, which can hurt your spouse and so is a Love Buster; that is, it withdraws units from your account in your spouse's Love Bank.

Historical Honesty You should reveal to your spouse information about your past, especially those events that demonstrate a personal weakness or failure. In a marriage, you and your spouse will have to make many choices and decisions together that can affect your life in many ways. Understanding how your own weakness, for example, your inability to hold down a job, might make your spouse less willing to take out a mortgage that requires two incomes to afford. Or if you have an addiction to alcohol, your spouse might not choose to build that wet bar in the basement.

But what if it was a moral weakness? What about when you had an affair since you were married? Telling the truth could end the marriage. Telling the truth could make your spouse hurt you in return. And it would surely hurt them. So maybe telling them looks like a bad idea. Yet failing to share that kind of information prevents you from being known for who and what you are and accepted and loved anyway. It prevents unconditional acceptance and prevents being loved in spite of your failures.

Now some revelations should not be made lightly. Perhaps a professional should be present or a trusted friend. In such cases safety is the overriding factor and is more important than the message itself. The revelation might have to be made after separation in some cases.

Yes, I can make a serious case for times when "confession" of an affair or other transgression should not be made. But the likelihood of a long happy and healthy marriage is pretty much negated by something that would fall into such a category. Yet in some cultures confessing an affair could cost you your life. The trade off in such cases is true intimacy between you since a lie, once established must be maintained and will forever stand as a barrier to developing the strongest of connection.

And there might be case where abuse is the order of things in the relationship and confessing something as serious as an affair might cause you to be harmed, even killed. I suggest that you not confess under such circumstances until you have made provision for your safety. But even then, failing to confess and remaining in the relationship simply delays the abuse if the truth were to ever come out, at which point, not only would the original lie be involved, but the maybe years of lying required to keep the secret will also be in play.

So if you really believe you might die (or even think it could be possible) by being honest, please don't tell all. But if you live in such a relationship, I would think you have a bigger problem than how to confess some transgression and perhaps you need to look into another change in your life.

Current Honesty In strong marriages, couples become interdependent and sharing schedules can be essential. Knowing what time to have dinner ready, who will pick up the kids from soccer practice, or drop them off at school in the morning is pretty much required to make the family work smoothly.

In weak marriages, coupes fail to share what they are doing with each other because they are engaging in thoughtless behavior. They know their spouse would not approve of what they are doing so they hide their actions.

So what do you have planned for Saturday? Does your spouse know about it? Is your spouse in agreement with that decision?

Future Honesty Failing to share what we plan to do can cause all sorts of havoc in a marriage. Most often, when we hide the plans we have from each other, it is in order to avoid conflict. We already know that our spouse will have a hard time with what we plan to do, so we keep it hidden. So know we not only act in a thoughtless way, but by hiding what we plan until after it is done also shows our spouse that we have no empathy for his or her feelings.

But when we hide our future plans from each other we are being dishonest. We are acting without regard to our spouse's feelings and showing that we don't care for them at all. We are demonstrating that our own selfish desires are more important than their feelings. The truth is, we don't want our spouse to know what we have planned because they might do something that prevents us from getting to do what we want. So we end up living parallel but separate and secret lives where thoughtless behavior and selfishness can reign supreme.

If dishonesty is a Love Buster, honesty is the only real alternative for those who hope to maintain a romantic relationship.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #145335
08/11/11 02:30 PM
08/11/11 02:30 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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Three States of Mind In Marriage The Giver and The Taker


Have you ever felt like you were married to someone with multiple personality disorder? Or that your spouse was really one of twins, one good the other evil, one selfish and the other giving and caring?

Some of us seem to be able to negotiate in business and accomplish nearly anything. We are patient, willing to compromise, able to hold out for those things most important and could bring about world peace if only the governments of the world would learn to negotiate like we try to do. Then we go home from work and either we need something from our spouse or he/she needs something from us and our negotiating skills go right out the window. We end up having a huge fight, the reasons for which get lost in the hurt we heap upon each other and perhaps spend the next few nights sleeping on the couch in the family room, the dog and the big screen TV our only close companions.

Inside each of us, in that part of our brain that Al Turtle calls our lizard, dwells two sides of our personality. One side is dedicated to protecting us from threats, making us feel safe and trying to make sure we get what we want and need from others. This part of us wants to be happy, content, and safe and doesnt care what anyone else wants or needs right now. It is willing to make anyone unhappy in order to gain happiness and fulfillment. Dr Harley calls this side of us our Taker.

The other side wants nothing more than to give to others. It wants other people to be happy. In fact it wants so badly to make other people happy and satisfied that it is willing to sacrifice what we want or need in order to bring it about. It is even willing to sacrifice our own safety so that someone else can feel fulfilled. Harley calls this part of our personality the Giver.

When someone provides something that we need in the way of making us happy or showing care for us by making us feel safe and fulfilled, we want to keep that person around to get those things from them. If however, a person makes us feel unsafe, fails to provide what we need and want or causes us to feel less than satisfied, we would rather that they just go away and leave us alone. This is the way the Love Bank model works. The more a person does to meet our needs and avoids making us feel neglected, the more we feel safe when with the person, the more we want to be around them. We are even willing to sacrifice or to compromise in many ways in order to keep them near.

The other side of this is also true. Whenever someone makes us feel unsafe or if the person fails to provide the kind of things we want and need, we begin to separate ourselves from that person and are unwilling to give much of anything to them.

In marriage, in large part because of our commitment to each other, these two sides of us can cause a great deal of conflict in our interaction with each other. When our Love Bank is full, we are willing to give and give up almost anything in order to keep our spouse happy, connected and around forever. But when our spouses account in our Love Bank falls below a certain level, we start to see only what we are not getting, what he/she is not providing and if we begin to feel unsafe in the relationship, typically due to thoughtless behavior by our spouse as they try to take more than we are willing to give at the moment, we withdraw our support from them and distance ourselves until we feel safe or until we start getting what we need from them, or in the case of an affair, from someone else.

Harley describes what he calls Three States of Mind In Marriage as a way to demonstrate this. He calls these three states Intimacy, Conflict and Withdrawal.




If our spouse does things that make us feel safe, secure, satisfied and provided for, we share ourselves with him/her and are willing to provide for him/her what is needed in order to feel the same. We feel close to each other and feel like we are sharing the deepest part of ourselves in truly intimate ways. We feel as if we are in a true state of intimacy and everything we do revolves around getting even more of that kind of feeling.

This is the State of Intimacy. We feel fully connected, satisfied with what our spouse is giving us and it is when we feel this way that we become more willing to give so that we might get even more from him/her. We are even willing to sacrifice our own happiness in that moment in order to make our spouses happiness more certain. We become unselfish to the point of being willing to give up almost anything in order to provide for our spouse. Our Giver runs all negotiations between us and we even start to give with little expectation of anything in return. We become selfless toward our spouse, often to our own detriment.

If our spouse does something that causes us to feel threatened, we pull away. If we still feel connected, bonded and committed to the relationship, we start to look for more from him/her and want more than we are getting. If they suddenly fail to provide what we need and want, we react the same way. The simplest threats and the most prolific are not the result of our spouse wanting to cause us harm, but simply the result of thoughtlessness. Our spouse does not consider our feelings and desires or needs before doing something and that thoughtlessness indicates to our deepest emotions, inside of our lizard brain, that they do not have our best interests in mind and could actually do something to harm us. For most relationships, we could quickly set aside our reaction to such things and move past them to find common ground or simply walk away. However, when we are committed to each other, we cant do those things so easily and must balance what we need from our spouse in order to regain that feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment and safety.

This is when our Taker shows up at the negotiating table. Our Taker doesnt really care what our spouse wants. It wants us to be safe, secure, satisfied, fulfilled and happy even if it means that he/she will be unhappy, feel threatened or be unsatisfied with the outcome. We want more from the relationship that we are getting and we demand that we get it. Compromise is difficult, giving is almost impossible and until we feel safe and happy again, we are going to be like that two year old that wants something at the checkout in the supermarket. We will make our desires and our unhappiness known and will make everyone around us, especially our spouse, miserable until we get it.

If thoughtless behavior or unmet needs continue long enough, we start to widen our boundaries in subtle ways and prevent our spouse from gaining access to that part of us that feels threatened or unsatisfied. If the emotional distance between us becomes wide enough, we simply shut our spouse out of our lives. We begin to seek what we want, need and those things we desire to feel satisfied from other sources. Not only are we unwilling to give anything to our spouse, but we are unwilling to accept anything from them as well. Our Giver stops giving and our Taker gives up caring. We become emotionally disconnected, are unwilling to share ourselves with our spouse and if the cause of our withdrawal was thoughtlessness that made us feel unsafe, we once again start to feel safe since we are no longer allowing our spouse to have access to our emotions.

If you look at the chart above, you can see that these three states are a sort of continuum. We move back and forth across the scale from one state to another as our underlying emotional state changes. If our spouse does something that makes us doubt his/her commitment to the relationship or shows a lack of care by failing to provide something we move toward self-protection and self-gratification. If however, he/she does something that makes us feel good emotionally, gives us a feeling of safety and security or provides just the right things to meet our most basic need of the moment, we move into the region that best describes our current emotional state.

Since much of our time together is spent in that middle ground called a state of Conflict, what we do when in that state determines if we move back into intimacy or throw up walls to separate ourselves further from the relationship. It is called Conflict because this state is marked by conflict as we seek to gain what we need from our spouse and as negotiations center on getting what we want without much willingness to give or give up anything in return. Our Giver takes a back seat and our Taker runs the show.

There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about this. First is that because our Taker is unwilling to sacrifice or give anything as we seek what we need and want from our spouse, it can stand in the way of resolving conflict and prevent us from moving back into Intimacy. Secondly, if we are in a state of Intimacy, our Giver can cause us resentment and dissatisfaction as the result of being willing to sacrifice just about anything including our own happiness in an effort to make our spouse happy. It is then our own actions and choices that cause us to begin to feel unsafe and dissatisfied moving us into the place where our Taker seeks to balance the books by taking what we need at our spouses expense.

Because what happens when we are in Conflict determines whether we return to Intimacy or separate ourselves further, what we do to resolve conflict becomes of primary importance to the state of our relationship. If we fail to negotiate fairly or if we demand satisfaction at our spouses expense, we move them further away from Intimacy and toward Withdrawal. Likewise, if we sacrifice our own happiness in order to avoid the conflict or in order to give believing that it is somehow more noble or better than taking, we can push ourselves further apart instead of bringing us closer together.

What we do to resolve conflict then becomes more important than resolving the conflict itself. How we go about finding resolution matters more to a strong relationship than finding a common solution to a disagreement. It is better to disagree than to impose a solution that makes one of us feel threatened or unhappy with the outcome. This is true even when we find ourselves in Intimacy since our Giver can sabotage our own happiness and safety when we seek to make our spouse happy and we write an emotional check our lizard refuses to cash.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #145367
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Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #153139
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The Policy of Joint Agreement

Perhaps the most controversial of all of Harleys work is his Policy of Joint Agreement often called POJA. The reason it is so controversial is that it seems to go against our very nature as individuals. Our individualism is key in our society today and anything that appears to relinquish control over our own destiny is at odds with that view. The Policy of Joint Agreement says this:
Originally Posted By: The Policy of Joint Agreement
Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.


The entire idea goes back to Harleys most basic assumption, that is, when we are married, nearly everything we do affects our spouse (emotionally) and that effect can be either positive or negative. POJA then strives to minimize the negative while optimizing the positive. The question then becomes, how can we insure that what we do will not have a detrimental affect on our spouses emotional response and the resulting loss of feelings of love while making it more likely that what we do will bring our spouse closer to us instead of driving him or her away?

The first trigger for most in looking at the POJA is the very first word, the word Never. Being one of those absolute things that we all so loathe starts us right off with an idea we just have a hard time with in that it seems to be saying that our spouse will have the final say in everything that we will ever do. We are giving up our own right to choose our own life and actions we might undertake and giving our spouse the right to make all choices for us. In a dysfunctional marriage this is the way the POJA would operate. It is no small fear and requires more fully understanding the process by which an enthusiastic agreement is reached in order to get to what we are really trying to get at here.

The problem we face whenever we want one thing and our spouse wants something entirely different or simply does not want the same thing we want is that we see two possibilities: 1) We get what we want or 2) Our spouse gets what he or she wants. We see only a zero sum end game where one wins and the other loses and for one to get anything at all, the other must give something up.

In the context of our Giver and Taker and the way each operates in the three states of mind we find ourselves in within the marriage, POJA is designed to allow our cognitive abilities and processes to override our emotions. Since our Giver is that part of us that wants to make our spouse happy and our Taker is that part of us that wants to make us happy, both our Giver and our Taker should see the benefit in POJA. Both our Giver and our Taker can be satisfied by adhering to POJA . Because our Giver is willing to make us unhappy when in a state of intimacy in order to make our spouse happy and our Taker is willing to make our spouse unhappy when we are in a state of conflict in order that we might be happy, POJA prevents our Giver from making us unhappy and also prevents our Taker from making our spouse unhappy. It lets our Giver give by enthusiastically agreeing and it lets our Taker get while preventing us from doing it at the emotional expense of our spouse by requiring enthusiastic agreement before we act.

What we usually fail to see is that in almost every single case there are not two possible outcomes or even two possible choices. There are in fact many possibilities, some of which we find less desirable and some we find more so. The process of arriving at full enthusiastic mutual agreement requires examining the possible and available choices to try to discover one such option that is most likely to give us what we want while at the same time giving our spouse what he or she wants. The problem we face is not so much one of my way or not my way versus my spouses way or not my spouses way, but finding a perhaps different way of each getting exactly what is actually wanted. This usually requires redefining what it is we are each looking for in order to prevent it from being a matter of mine or yours without understanding entirely what mine really is and what yours really entails.

We might be able to negotiate world peace with little problem focusing on the real issues or negotiate a contract with a vendor or client that we both find to give us both exactly what we want. We might be able to do it so easily that we believe we are supreme negotiators yet when it comes time to negotiate with our spouse for something that we want or need, we find ourselves unable to articulate our real intent, unwilling to give anything we hadnt already chosen to give and unwilling to give up the thing we are seeking. We resort to that compromise we believe solves all such impasses and find a way to get what we want while promising what our spouse wants later or simply give up all possibility of getting what we want and find resentment growing inside us over being made to submit to our spouses demands. Ultimately, one of us wins and the other loses. The winner feels triumphant, energized and thrilled only to pay a price later of loss of intimacy, lack of support for other things in the future and finding the loser unwilling to even consider any arguments for what they want the next time negotiations are needed.

The loser feels threatened, unsafe to remain tied to this person who can act selfishly in spite of how I feel about something, sad, hurt, unloved and adamantly certain that no further submission is going to take place... ever Resentment remains in the aftermath, perhaps for years and depending on how big the loss is perceived might be found one day on a list of times you were being an uncaring jerk as you negotiate again, this time for division of assets in your divorce settlement.

Future negotiations also become bleak prospects as we begin to refuse to negotiate fairly and each seeks to leverage the other to be sure that our views are heard. If we lose often enough, we stop offering to negotiate at all and start simply doing whatever we want to do without considering how it might affect our spouse. We simply take with no thought of giving in return until we each end up living as if the other doesnt exist, moving farther apart daily as neither of us feels safe in the relationship and the only way we see ever getting what we want is to get it on our own.

The problem is that our normal way of dealing with each other is based on our emotional state at the time. If we are in a state of intimacy, our Giver is willing to give up almost anything, since our Giver is that part of us that wants to make our spouse happy, even if it costs us our own happiness. If we are in a state of conflict, our Taker is in charge of all interaction between us and our Taker is that part of us that demands we are satisfied, no matter what it might cost our spouse emotionally or otherwise. A single failed negotiation can cause our Giver to step aside and our Taker to reign supreme in all future attempts making us each totally selfish in seeking only what we want from the other without regard to what it might cost our relationship or our spouse.

POJA seeks to overcome this by ensuring that we do not gain at the expense of our spouse. What is often missed is that it is also intended to prevent us from losing at our spouses gain. It seeks to find win/win solutions to all conflicts rather than to find any resolution that costs one emotionally while the other gains at his or her expense.

The reason we so often find ourselves being incompatible is that we make choices that lead to incompatibility. POJA can create a lifestyle that leads to compatibility by preventing our Taker from using thoughtless and selfish, even abusive behavior, in order to gain at the expense of our spouses emotions. It also stops our Giver from acting from the purely emotional side of us in an effort to make our spouse happy and so give more than we can give emotionally and remain happy. Harley says it this way:

Compatibility is building a way of life that is comfortable for both spouses.

Another word that should jump right off the page and hit you squarely between the eyes is the word enthusiastic. The word should make your Taker happy because it means that your spouse will agree with you whenever you want to do anything. It should make your Giver happy because it means that you will agree to make sure that your spouse will get what he or she wants in order to make them happy.

Your Taker will also notice that it means that your spouse can prevent you from getting what you want if your spouse does not agree with it. It will also make your Giver unhappy because it means that you will not be able to just give your spouse whatever he or she wants unless you agree that it is something that makes you able to agree enthusiastically.

At first following POJA seems like it would be impossible. Based on our emotional state at the time we will either not care what we want or not care what our spouse wants. Once a couple starts to follow POJA however they often find that it becomes much easier as both spouses are more likely to benefit from nearly every choice that has to be made. This is because it removes that emotional basis that keeps us stuck in acting from our Taker or our Giver alone and returns the decision making process to that part of our brain that analyzes things, looks at real data and consequences and keeps us from making the choices that affect our spouse as well as ourselves from purely emotional condition. It is when we act from emotion that we are not really acting at all but merely reacting and those reactions are not rational thoughts resulting in clearly defining and making choices but simply responses to current circumstances and the stimulus currently present around us. It is a short sighted way of making decisions and sacrifices future happiness for one or both for limited short term satisfaction.

POJA keeps us from making the choices we face and the consequences of those choices that follow in all cases based entirely on the part of ourselves that is ever changing, unstable in the best of times and is not thinking about the choices or consequences at all but merely responding to how we feel in this second in time. It lets us choose from our thoughts instead of thoughtlessness and feelings.

Next well look at using POJA to make decisions.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #299464
06/01/13 10:23 PM
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Mark: " Next well look at using POJA to make decisions."

Is there any more to be added?

AITL

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Am I Too Late] #299492
06/02/13 12:17 AM
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I'll be waiting for that one!


Accept what is,
Let go of what was
and have faith in what will be.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: 20yrsdone] #299779
06/03/13 09:57 PM
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The Castle Aaaggghh...
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The Castle Aaaggghh...
I started reading this awhile back and just finished it - some excellent stuff here.

I have a question. Recently I was reading on another forum and I read a statement that went something like this:

Once someone has become wayward they need to deal with the fact that whatever they do or say can be questioned or considered suspect at any time for the rest of their lives.

While I do understand questioning things that are actually suspicious, I would love, Mark, to hear your take on this....behind the 8 ball for life feel of the above sentiment. Because I have to say, I w9uld be very uncomfortable with a spouse who felt that had that type of "hold" over me forever. It would feel like less than forgiveness, to be sure.

Any thoughts?

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299791
06/03/13 11:42 PM
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Hmmm. I am working through some of this right now. Questions come up, years later, about some event that now takes on new meaning. (That night you got up without telling me and left the house to go watch the eclipse? )

I'm making it a point just not to ask those questions any more. I KNOW. I don't need to dwell on it, it really was what I didn't want to believe. We don't have to talk about it any more, talking would just be a way to punish you further.

I think once I get the acceptance thing down, I may have more to say.


Chrysalis
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299797
06/04/13 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted By: herfuturesbright
I started reading this awhile back and just finished it - some excellent stuff here.

I have a question. Recently I was reading on another forum and I read a statement that went something like this:

Once someone has become wayward they need to deal with the fact that whatever they do or say can be questioned or considered suspect at any time for the rest of their lives.

While I do understand questioning things that are actually suspicious, I would love, Mark, to hear your take on this....behind the 8 ball for life feel of the above sentiment. Because I have to say, I w9uld be very uncomfortable with a spouse who felt that had that type of "hold" over me forever. It would feel like less than forgiveness, to be sure.

Any thoughts?


I just read something similar this morning from an e-mail from BAN.

Quote:
"When youve been unfaithful and you answer questions about the affair truthfully more than likely your betrayed spouse will not believe you. You have proven yourself to be untrustworthy and right now they are therefore not likely to believe much (if any) of what you say. Thats normal. This said if you are telling the truth, you will be just fine. Truth stands the test of time. Just keep telling the truth, in time, they will trust you again. Of course telling the truth means your behavior matches your words. If your behavior doesnt match your words youre in trouble."
End Quote

In my opinion, both Time and Consistency are paramount to bringing down the alarm signals, going from Defcon 1, down to Defcon 5 eventually.

If the BS can not, or is unwilling to offer as much forgiveness as warranted, then why bother trying to R?

AITL

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299901
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Rather than spend a lot of time delving into why I think that lifetime blame and shame are not productive, let me give you a portion of an article that was written for professionals who work in the field. FTR, I think each view of infidelity listed here has some merit. I think the individuals involved in each case has a lot to do with how a couple must deal with the affair. To reach a new and better marriage, the resentment and anger must be put to rest and a true relationship of equals must begin.

Quote:
Researchers, psychologists, anthropologists and clinicians significantly differ in their approaches to dealing with infidelity. Their views on infidelity effect their rationales for the causes and significantly color their proposed solutions. The different approaches are not mutually exclusive and, except for # 2, the moralistic view, complement each other. Following are brief descriptions of the different approaches to marital affairs.

1. Family or Systems View:
Infidelity, in this view, is seen as a "family affair" that must be understood and treated within the marital system rather than from an individual perspective. Therapists who have taken this position use marital therapy and Systems or Communication Theories to understand the relational dynamics that led to and/or sustain the affair. They shy away from blame and focus on issues of intimacy, communication, expectations, agreements and conflict management in the marriage. They look carefully at the familial legacy of each partner and pay attention to the phases of the marriage, i.e., years of marriage, ages of children, empty nest phase, etc. This approach contends that strengthening the marriage and increasing the quality of communication and intimacy can reduce the chance of infidelity. This approach also views the infidelity crisis as an opportunity for individual growth and a chance for strengthening and solidifying the marriage. The systems view also takes into consideration that the affair may serve the supposedly betrayed spouse. Some partners may even encourage the spouse to have an affair, as is the case with gay spouses who wish to avoid sexual entreaties from their partners by encouraging them to instead satisfy their sexual needs with others.

2. The Moral-Puritan View:
Affairs, in this view, are seen as primarily individual, sinful and immoral acts of betrayal and therefore are likely to irreversibly damage marriages unless the betrayer fully confesses, repents and atones. Authors and therapists who take this puritanical-moralistic, often religiously based, position, generally view the betrayed partner as an innocent victim and put almost exclusive emphasis on the spiritual, emotional and relational rehabilitation of the betrayer.

3. Individual View:
This view focuses on the betrayer's emotional deficit, personality, addiction or phase of life issues. Men often philander as a way to affirm their sense of masculinity by "scoring" with as many women as they can. This approach looks at issues of sexual addiction, early history of abuse, personality disorders and exposure to parent's infidelity. It also attends to issues, such as middle-aged crisis, and often does emphasize marital discord as a significant causal factor in the affair. The focus in this view is on the individual's stage in life, development, history, culture and personality rather than a moral or familial focus.

4. Cultural View:
Affairs, in this view, are not seen as inherently pathological but are a quite normal and even a healthy part of marriage with some people or certain classes in certain cultures. Unlike the puritan or the pathological views, this anthropological approach cites the Japanese's "love wife" practices, the courtesan of the 16th century era in Europe (as depicted in 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons) and many other cultures where extramarital sex has been an accepted norm. Along these lines, the anthropological view also cites the Middle Eastern harem and many polygamous cultures as examples of cultures where multiple or extramarital partners are an accepted and normal practice, especially and often only for men.

5. Anthropological View:
Most anthropologists have documented that humans are not biologically designed to be monogamous and while they may be able to "civilize" themselves to monogamy, nevertheless they will follow the "be fruitful and multiply" tenet at every possible opportunity. Monogamy in the animal kingdom is so rare that those romantic Hallmark cards with pictures of swans or other types of lovebirds should more accurately feature the flatworm. Swans may mate for life, but they're not necessarily faithful to their mates. To a degree, on the other side of the debate is anthropologist Dr. Fisher's claim that human beings are among 3 percent of the world's 4,000 species of mammals pre-programmed for monogamy. With a handful of researchers, she has been investigating the "monogamy gene."

6. Modern Culture and Media as a Promotional Culprit of Infidelity
Affairs, in this view, are seen as a result of a permissive, modern, mass media culture that subtlety promotes affairs in the same way as it promotes violence. We live in a society that is preoccupied with sex and commercializes this sexuality in any way and form possible. Along with the obsession-fascination with sex, there is titillation surrounding other's affairs. The media has been sensationalizing affairs such as those of Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and Prince Charles. Similarly, movies such as Same Time, Next Year, The Bridges of Madison County, and Prince of Tides and TV shows, such as Desperate Housewives, Sex in the City, normalize affairs and create a permissive atmosphere. The Internet and its booming pornographic and sexual businesses have probably contributed not only to an epidemic of online affairs but also to real life affairs, as well.


Full Article Here

From the same article:

Quote:
  • Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process.
  • To forgive is to pardon, exonerate, absolve, make allowances for, harbor no grudge against and bury the hatchet.
  • The unfaithful spouse can do everything right, be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act in a trustworthy manner, and still, the marriage won't mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of anger and resentment.
  • Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection.
  • A sense of injury is an aggrieved feeling about something or towards someone as a result of real or perceived insult, harm or ill-intentioned actions.
  • One definition of resentment is "when one takes the poison, but hopes the other person dies." Resentment, according to this statement, is toxic to the person who feels it and in turn to the marital relationship.
  • Evidently, forgiveness and letting go of the pain inflicted is of extreme importance in healing from an affair. Holding on to the angry pain is a significant obstacle to mature love.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #300076
06/04/13 11:10 PM
06/04/13 11:10 PM
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The Castle Aaaggghh...
herfuturesbright Offline
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herfuturesbright  Offline
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The Castle Aaaggghh...
Thanks Mark. I did not have to endure "indefinite punishment" because of two things:

I DID confess, answer all questions, prove trustworthy again over time, and give J time

J chose to see the change in me and chose to believe I was no longer the woman who cheated, and he fully forgave.

I don;t see what I did as all that special - I mean, that should be EXPECTED after betraying one's spouse the way I did.

My H's response and recovery, on the other hand, I found and still find to be quite extraordinary.

Last edited by herfuturesbright; 06/04/13 11:12 PM.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #305520
07/10/13 07:14 PM
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The Art of Making Decisions In Marriage

Quote:
The Policy of Joint Agreement
Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.


For a marriage to be a sustainable and fulfilling relationship for both of you, it must become, above all, a partnership between you and your spouse.

The world of business is filled with examples of the way a partnership works. When there are several partners, decision-making often breaks down into a simple vote. Those in favor of a decision and those not in favor of that decision state their preference and the majority wins. It seems clean and so simple that most decisions are finalized rather quickly and movement, for the good of the business and the detriment move ahead. The consequences, if they become negative, are sorted out when they manifest themselves over time. The consequences for the partnership are what can make or break the partnership and determine how long that partnership remains intact.

When groups of people vote to determine the direction of the group as a whole, the members of the group naturally fall into two camps.
  1. The Winners
  2. The Losers


The Winners feel empowered, vindicated and validated. The Losers feel disenfranchised, invalidated and resentful. Those on the winning side see the win as success while the losing side experience it as a failure. If one side loses often enough, the partnership, and the business itself, are threatened. When one partner or group of partners begin to feel disenfranchised enough, they withdraw from the partnership and the partnership is dissolved.

Quite often, partners will leave the partnership or others will seek to buy out his or her share of the equity of the partnership to break the cycle of winning and losing. Many companies that begin as a partnership eventually end up as a sole proprietorship simply because decisions that affect the business affects each of the partners on a personal level. It can become very difficult to continue investing in something that you no longer believe has any personal benefit and eventually, the interpersonal relationships within a partnership suffer when any partner or group of partners feels disenfranchised by what they see as disempowering choices made by other partners. Partners who submit to other partners dont feel like partners. They feel like servants and that dynamic can permeate the entire business. The result is often a climate of conspiracies, clandestine efforts to sabotage projects and power struggles that lead to a less than unified direction for the company.

In a partnership with an odd number of partners, voting always results in a decision being made. When there are an even number of partners, ties are sometimes inevitable. Once indecision results, the business and partnership stagnates until the impasse can be resolved. To prevent such an impasse, companies often go to great lengths to establish a method by which that kind of impasse gets resolved so the company as a whole can move forward. Without moving forward, the company is in peril and the point of having the partnership with it.

When there are but two partners, ties can be abundant. Voting is pointless because if one partner wants to move one direction and the other partner wants to go another way, neither side is likely to be willing to compromise on a level that will generate a clear path. In well-planned partnerships, this quagmire is sometimes overcome by selecting one partner as the managing partner while the other is relegated to the losing position. Those who lose often enough begin to feel threatened by the partnership and disenfranchisement again rears its head.

Some partnerships seek to overcome this dynamic by alternating decision making responsibilities and exchanging roles as the managing partner. One partner decides when there is an impasse now and the other partner chooses the direction the next round of incompatible ideas. Most of the time it works and many such partnerships thrive initially. Eventually some choice needs to be made that addresses some core value or vision for the partnership and the process of taking turns to rule ends up delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, someone will be unhappy enough with a decision that he or she will begin to dismantle the partnership in overt or covert ways.

What is often overlooked in negotiations in a two-person partnership is that there are really three important aspects to every decision that is made. A decision might be better for one partner or the other partner and the one who feels like he is coming out on the short end of things is resentful and wants to prevent what benefits the partner at his own expense. Partners want to benefit from every decision and when one person gets satisfaction while the other is left investing in something that no longer satisfies them, the partnership is once more in jeopardy. When a person feels like he or she are not getting anything in return for the investment, that person is less likely to be willing to compromise and will begin to seek ways to balance the power of the partnership by coming out on top until sufficient satisfaction is felt.

What starts to get lost in this sort of struggle is the third aspect of decision-making and negotiation. What gets lost is what is best for the company or partnership. What is best for one or the other might not always be what is best for the business. When each partner seeks only self-satisfaction, the business begins to unwind until it is left unsustainable and pointless. Its value is now such that nobody is willing to invest anything into what is seen as a dying cause and the vision and mission that originally produced the partnership no longer exist and the business become irrelevant.

A marriage is a partnership that has two partners. What we have the hardest time remembering is that it is also another entity known as the marriage. What brought us together might have been what we each got from the relationship. When we forget that the relationship itself must be sustained in order for it to have any lasting value, we start to make decisions based on what benefits ourselves with each partner seeking self-satisfaction, even if it is at the expense of the other. This is where Dr Harleys description of the Giver and Taker sides of our personality shows itself and why the Policy of Joint Agreement is important to keeping the partnership alive.

There is a method of making decisions never produces winners and losers. Choices are made by reaching consensus. Consensus does not necessarily mean that everyone is in enthusiastic support of an idea, simply that no one is enthusiastically against the decision being presented. Everyone does not have to say Yes on every issue being decided, but anyone who is willing to say No can stop the decision from being made and so prevent any movement forward. I have been involved in several groups that operate in this manner and I know that it works well most of the time. The place where it begins to fail is when any person (or group) loses sight of the goals of the organization (the point of making the decision) and begins looking at things from a personal perspective. The concept works well until one person is not willing to support something and then that thing that plagues all interpersonal relationships begins to take shape

In most business negotiations, choices can be made for the benefit of the business. Negotiations are straightforward, with each side asking for everything and willing to accept what is equitable. In marriage, we encounter a problem much more quickly than it appears in business. That problem is how we feel in the moment. When we feel that the relationship is no longer equitable or that there is some inequality is a benefit to one spouse over the other, we feel threatened. This is not a choice we make; it is but the way our primitive brain works. If I am not getting what I want, getting it is the only satisfaction I can see and failing to get it is experienced as dissatisfaction, unhappiness and disenfranchisement.

This is where the idea of our Giver and Taker shows itself. When we feel like we are getting more than enough from our relationship and our return on investment is high, we are willing to compromise and give more readily than when we feel like we are coming out on the short end. When we dont get what we want (or expect) we are no longer willing to give anything that will benefit our spouse because it does not benefit us.

The more strongly we feel we must come out on top, the more likely it is our Taker is ruling our negotiations. When two Takers clash, it becomes a battle of wills (and willingness) instead of a logical function of making a choice. Our Taker does not negotiate well. Instead, our Taker seeks ways to manipulate, control and dominate the negotiations and is unwilling to fight fairly. What we feel is centered entirely on ourselves and our own personal return on investment. We have no expectations regarding what benefit the situation might hold for our spouse, only what is in it for me.

Early in a relationship, we are filled with raw emotion that makes us willing to give away anything to make our spouse happy. Those chemically induced highs and lows that resemble mental illness more than they do any sort of partnership cause us to do all sorts of things that later in marriage we are no longer willing to even attempt. We ignore annoying habits and shortcomings of our new love and see only the benefits of having a relationship. We become obsessed with meeting and meeting his or her emotional needs. We invest everything we have emotionally with little regard to what we might get back, simply because we are getting so much that we feel connected, bonded, special and like we have finally found our true soul mate. This is not sustainable for long, however, since the chemical rush of new love and limerence eventually slips into the shadows and soon we are left with how to work out a compatible and mutual equitable partnership.

Our relationship then becomes more or less important based on how we feel at the time. When we are getting what we feel to feel connected and safe with our spouse, we act in ways that shows our Giver at its pinnacle of power. We want to make our spouse happy and even giving up our own soul is on the table to make that happen. When we feel less connected and like we are giving more than we are getting back, our Taker demands that we are satisfied before we are willing to invest anything more. Until we are happy, our spouse is getting nothing from us that might make him or her happy, since we feel like we arent getting anything back, or at least not enough. It has become an inequitable partnership in which one partner feels disenfranchised.

Therefore, we stand in the way of anything that benefits our spouse. It isnt even that we dont like what he or she wants, simply that there is nothing in it for me. If we let our spouse have this (whatever this might be), things will feel even more unbalanced and our own account will plummet further into the red.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #305521
07/10/13 07:21 PM
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Making Decisions By Following the Policy of Joint Agreement

When we are in that State of Intimacy, our Giver is willing to do anything at all to make our spouse feel happy and satisfied. Our Giver doesnt care if we are happy or not, only that our spouse is happy. When we are in a State of Conflict, our Taker wants only what we want to be happy. Our Taker cares not even a little whether our spouse is happy or even if he or she is unhappy. The Policy of Joint Agreement is meant to prevent either of these conditions from ruining our feelings for each other beyond what our daily interactions can repair.

When we want something we are not getting from our spouse, we stop negotiating and start trying to manipulate and control the outcome so that we get what we want. This is our Taker running the show and our Taker is a function of how closely connected we feel with our spouse at any given time. Out Taker has specific methods of trying to get what it thinks we should have. Among these are selfish demands (I dont care what you want, I want what I want and I want it now), disrespectful judgments (If you love me, you should give me what I want), angry outbursts (If I dont get what I want, I will make your life a living hell until I get it) and eventually, independent behavior (Ill just do whatever I feel like doing and how you feel doesnt matter one bit to me).

The more strongly we feel like we are connected to our spouse, the more willing we are to negotiate fairly and equitably. This speaks to what Art Aron calls the Inclusion of Other In Self. A graphic representation of this can be seen below:



At the top left is the way we view our relationship with each other when we are in a pure State of Withdrawal. At the bottom right is the way we see it when purely in a State of Intimacy. In between those ends of things, we see ourselves as being more or less connected with each other and it is the way we see the connectedness of the relationship that determines how willing we are to negotiate to resolution rather than resorting to manipulating each other to arrive at getting what we want.

The more we feel that our spouse is part of ourselves (the more connected we feel) the more likely we are to want him or her to be happy and satisfied with what we can give. The less we see our spouse as part of ourselves, the less willing we are to consider his or her feelings at all. Something else is at work here however, that makes staying as connected as the (perhaps ideal) model at the lower right might indicate. The more we feel connected, the more overlap there is between ourselves and our spouse, the more what our spouse does, says or fails to do or say, affects how we feel about the state we find ourselves in and how connected we feel at that moment. The more closely our spouse feels connected with us, the more what we do and say affects him or her as well.

When we have any sort of conflict, how we go about resolving that conflict affects the state of our relationship and the connectedness we each feel as a result more than the outcome of the resolution itself. If we hurt each other by way of manipulation or other weapons in our Taker's arsenal to try to get our own way in the conflict or negotiation, then our spouse backs up one or more levels in the IOS model until he or she feels safe to interact with us to resolve the conflict. What the Policy of Joint Agreement strives to do is to prevent our negotiations from driving our spouse farther down the scale. Winning might seem important at the time, but it is a self-defeating strategy since winning at your spouses expense, will cause him or her to move into a state of being less connected where accepting anything you might present in negotiation from being accepted. The more strongly we hold our ground, the farther apart resolution gets until one or both of us withdraws and negotiation breaks down completely.

By leaving the negotiation until we are more clear-headed and less emotionally inclined to turn it into a fight for control and dominance, we can prevent driving our spouse further into a place where negotiations become less likely to result in what we want. We might then be able (and willing) to seek options or solutions that allow us to get what we need and want without our spouse having to sacrifice (and to keep us from having to sacrifice so our spouse gets what he or she wants). In the ideal decision, both of you get what you want without the other having to pay for it at all. It can only happen when we both keep looking for that kind of solution instead of choosing one side of the debate and working to overcome opposition from our spouse so we can be the winner.

What we must do when we seem to be at am impasse is remember that because we are in a connected relationship, when one of us wins, we both win because the partnership benefits. We need to stay focused on the fact that we are members of the same team. Who has a bad day and who has a bad day matters less than whether or not the team wins. Who sacrifices a few points in batting average by laying down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner to where he might score on an infield groundball is as valuable as hitting a homerun and can mean playing in the World Series or spending October in contract negotiations or transitioning to a new career because the team has decided to look for new talent.

For more on marriage as a team see my article: Marriage Is A Team Sport

I am not suggesting that the way to negotiate is to sacrifice your own needs and wants for your spouse. That is the way our Taker sees the conflict before us. If our spouse wins then we lose. However, marriage is not a zero-sum sort of game. Each of us must be aware of what it takes for the team to win and not just what our contract at the end of the season can gain by trying to be a homerun hitter when the season is on the line.

Whenever we have conflict in marriage, it is more important to avoid hurting each others feelings than that we come to quick resolution of the conflict. What we tend to do, what our Taker convinces us to do, is to get our own way no matter what the cost in our spouses feelings. When things are clicking well and the relationship is close and connected, our Giver convinces us to do is let our spouse have his or her own way in things no matter what it might cost us emotionally. The Policy of Joint Agreement seeks to override and prevent either of these from separating us emotionally from one another while providing a framework for making decisions that affect each other emotionally.

One strategy for getting what we want always fails to work in the end. That strategy, another favorite of our Taker, is to just do whatever we want. We rely on the concept that to seek forgiveness is easier than to gain permission. We avoid the power-play and what we experience as control of ourselves by someone else by simply doing whatever we feel like doing at the time and expecting our spouse to get over it. What this ultimately leads to in our spouse is the disconnection and withdrawal until he or she can no longer receive value from the relationship at which time our spouse either checks out of the relationship entirely or his or her Taker begins to try to return some sort of equity to the relationship by choosing to make our losing a condition of self-satisfaction.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #305524
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Practical Considerations For Following POJA

It is in his discussion of the Policy of Joint Agreement that Dr Harley presents four guidelines for successful negotiation to prevent unwanted disconnection and hurt feelings.

These four guidelines are:

  1. The negotiations must be safe for both spouses. Nobody will be willing to negotiate with someone who is controlling, lashing out to hurt you or who is making the experience so uncomfortable and disappointing that you only wish to avoid any conversation with him at all. Therefore, rules must be present to assure the safety and protect the feelings of both spouses;
    1. Try to keep the negotiations pleasant and as cheerful as possible throughout the process. It can be easy when you are in a good mood but resolving conflict can be stressful and change our moods pretty quickly. We can quickly become defensive and argumentative and lose sight of the point of negotiating and try to take control or simply end all negotiations and put an end to what our spouse is asking of us.
    2. Make it safe to be honest and express feelings your top priority. When we feel that we are not being heard or that our feelings are not being considered as valid by our spouse, we become defensive, even offensive, in the way we say and present things. We lash out in anger, show disrespect and make selfish demands of our spouse in an effort to sway him or her into giving us what we want. If either of you becomes defensive, starts to get angry or becomes disrespectful, agree ahead of time that you will stop the negotiations and return later when clearer minds and less fragile and highly charged emotions are taking over.
    3. If you reach an impasse, agree to give the decision some time and for both of you to ruminate on your respective positions. Avoid seeking immediate gratification at the expense of your spouse and come back to it later, perhaps with one or both having a better or more expansive view or interpretation.
  2. Try to identify the problem from both perspectives. This is really what validation is all about, to empathize with the feelings of the other without seeking to change or modify those feelings in order to win the debate or argument. Another way to say this might be Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
  3. Brainstorm to find solutions to the stand-off. Brainstorming allows us to explore options, look for commonality, and build on strengths instead of responding from our hurt feelings and raw emotions. It lets us explore things we might not have considered at first and gives us more than just the two options of what I want and what my spouse doesnt want. Brainstorming helps us see that there are not really only two choices, but an entire range of options, many of which will still give us what we want. The more options we can come up with, the more likely we will be to finding a solution that gives us both what we want out of the deal. The result is a win-win instead of one of a winner and a loser, the former less likely to get much next time around and the latter much less willing to let you have your way next time no matter what might be in it for him or her.
  4. Pick the option or solution that best follows the Policy of Joint Agreement. Just because you havent found one yet, doesnt mean there isnt one. Maybe your spouse will not ever reach a point where the answer is Hell YES! Just maybe you can take that fishing trip this weekend with the guys if you mow the lawn before you go and agree to take her to dinner when you get back next week. The secret to finding a win-win solution is to keep trying until you find one that works without either of you having to be the loser and resent having sacrificed your own emotional well-being for the short tem happiness of your spouse.


I know many of you (maybe all of you) are right now thinking Well, what about? The kids need shoes, the house needs painting, the roof leaks, the lawn needs mowing and even the trash gets to go out once per week and he wants to take off to the backwoods for 5 days where lies and beer consumption will be the standard investment of the day. The car is in disrepair, the tires are bald, they just cut back on overtime at work and she wants to spend 100 dollars on a pair of shoes she will only wear twice and only once before they are out of style.

Perhaps the debate is a huge one. Where will we live? What car will we buy? What color should the walls in the bedroom be? Will her parents stay with you when they come to visit for three months? Will he get that new shotgun before waterfowl season or will you get those new shoes before they are hopelessly out of style?

The reason these kinds of decisions are so difficult is that you have not followed POJA in the past. You have each taken what you wanted, by broken promises that seemed like compromise at the time or by manipulation or simply by wearing each other down until one of you stops negotiations with the word Whatever! Your experience has been to make sure that you get what you want first, no matter what the emotional cost might be to your spouse. Maybe youve been on the other side and know that unless you put a stop to this nonsense, it will cost you more than you are willing to invest. You have together used control, manipulation and the methods of your Taker to coerce and demand what you want of each other until any connection and care for each other that is left teeters on the brink of disappearing forever.

One thing to consider in all of this is what is called the 24 rule. What you see before you might be monumental from where you are right now, but before you respond thoughtlessly, think about it for 24 seconds. What difference will the debate make in 24 seconds, or 24 hours, or 24 days or monthsor 24 years? Remember that I am talking about the NEXT 24 years and not the last 24. Is getting what you want more important than whether or not your spouse is hurt by the decision? Is your life and plans, hope for the future, the viability of your family less valuable than being right or winning?

What about life or death questions? I hear you asking. Like what, going to the hospital or watching the football game? Or maybe eating dinner for the next week or buying those shiny new pumps? Or are you talking about losing weight to prevent dying from a heart attack by the age of 40 or eating tofu and humus for lunch?

You see, how we each frame the problem determines how important it is to get our way. Happiness is at best a fleeting thing. We each want what will make us happy and that changes minute by minute, day by day throughout our lives. We never have all we want and there is always more we think might make us happy. Real joy and satisfaction comes more from appreciation and remembrance of what we have. What we share together, our marriage, our relationship, can be more satisfying for many years to come if we agree to stop chasing temporary rainbows and act and speak in a more thoughtful way instead of hurting our spouse to manipulate him or her into granting our most recent urges.

The Policy of Joint Agreement is meant to make us think instead of reacting to our emotional condition. It keeps us from writing emotional checks we will never be able to cash or demanding more from our spouse than he or she is willing to invest in our temporary euphoria.

Yes, there may be times when following POJA is unreasonable. If your spouse is abusive, having an affair and wants you to keep the affair a secret while you want his family to know what he is doing, following POJA would be foolish. If your spouse is an addict or drives drunk with the kids in the car, negotiating an end doesnt necessarily mean finding a solution that lets him keep drinking and driving the kids home from soccer while you sit waiting to hear that your family has been killed in a fiery crash. Those might be real life or death choices that demand that you act unilaterally.

There arent a whole lot of those in marriage and when they do appear, they most often are not hard to find solutions to that you can both live with. It is the choices like stopping off at the bar without letting your spouse know about it and buying those new shoes and hiding the receipt because you know he has been working overtime for months to buy that new shotgun and might tell you that your needs are unimportant to him.

A word of caution in implementing POJA in your marriage. Start with day-to-day stuff and work up to the decisions you havent been able to resolve in 20 years of being together. Start negotiating fairly but with a willingness to accept a perspective that might differ from your own. Seek to understand your spouses feelings before wasting so much emotional energy on trying to get him or her to agree with your viewpoint. Is what you are asking for really so important that you must sacrifice your spouses feelings toward you to get it? Is it something that must happen right now; or would waiting until a different time, or place, still get you what you want without making your spouse feel like he or she is paying for your happiness with his or her own?

Begin with What is your feeling about? "What would make you enthusiastically agree to? If I ___, how would that make you feel? Youll find that in almost every case your spouse either wants you to get what you want or has no preference that precludes you getting it. It is when we discount the feelings of our spouse, invalidate the way he or she feels and try to manipulate and coerce him or her into giving in to our whims that we find ourselves at an emotional impasse. Following POJA lets us set aside the emotions and use logic and thought to find an answer instead of thoughtless behavior that causes harm to the emotions of our spouse and makes defensiveness and self protection more important than finding a way to win together.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #305549
07/11/13 12:18 AM
07/11/13 12:18 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
L
LadyGrey Offline
Professional Attorney
LadyGrey  Offline
Professional Attorney
L
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
Plan LadyGrey:

Anyone considering recovery shall be required by law to read the forgoing and achieve a score of not less than 70% on a multiple choice test to be compiled with the input of posters who exceed 3000 posts, or, alternatively, have been banned from any marriage forum.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
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