MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIPS

Posted By Tina Dubin, Ph.D. on August 25, 2013 at 3:34pm | General, Tina's Musings
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Some thoughts on Marriage:

–          Consider that love is necessary but not sufficient.

–          Ask “Is this someone I want to do life with?”

–          Remember it can take about 10 years for you to become more alike.

–          One effective model of marriage is where the husband takes care of the wife and she takes care of everything else.  Not everything, but a lot.  And he really has to take care of her.

–          Husbands feel most successful when their wives are happy.  A lot more can be said about this one.

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Romantic Time

Just as the Sabbath is supposed to be set apart from the everyday in terms of creating a special mood – by altering the environment and our frame of mind – I think it is nice to set apart romantic time as well.  Here are some ways to do that:

–          Un wind by yourself first in ways that contribute to the right mood

–          Get into the mood together with fun, games, and laughter (Big meals and long movies make for a relaxed but sleepy mood; not the goal here)

–          Titillate all 5 senses:

  • Sight – Romantic lighting/candles; appealing clothing
  • Sound – Appropriate music
  • Smell – Perfumes and lotions
  • Touch – Massages; baths; soft fabrics
  • Taste – Delectable foods and drinks

Close your eyes and use your IMAGINATION  – not to imagine that he is someone different but to imagine that you are someone wild and sexy.

 

An Exquisite Complement  is when your partner loves what you feel is special about you.  Bill insists that he’s long had a fantasy of coming into his home to find his lovely wife gloriously playing the piano; my image of myself , of course.  I didn’t really believe him at first but then realized we’d both seen the same movies of the ‘30’s and ‘40-‘s.

[This is very different than An Exquisite Dilemma]

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Learn about why “it” makes a difference to your partner that the toilet paper unrolls from the top or bottom, for example.  Or that the dishes must be loaded this way or that way, or that the money in your wallet must all be facing the same direction.  It may be interesting, funny, quirky or irritating – but well worth understanding if you’re in a relationship.

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Fight Trance – This is what we get into with our partners when we are each intently focused on getting our point across and being heard.  By the next day, the content of the argument will be forgotten (“What were you fighting about?”  I would ask.  “We don’t remember” –  the answer).  But that feeling of not being heard;  not being understood just keeps us at it.

Using the “Floor Technique” of communication is about being heard and listening to the other’s words.  As is the idea of separating when emotions get too hot and coming back together later when each of you is calmed enough to listen to the other.

It can be hard for one person to really understand another.

And it can be hard to accept certain things about ourselves.

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Engineers as Spouses:  I’ve had some Engineer related issues come up in therapy latterly.   Though I don’t like to stereotype, I do think there are certain brain types.  What I’ve found is that Engineers tend to be inherent Scrutinizers.  It’s not their fault but it can drive a partner crazy because Scrutinizers tend to focus on what is wrong rather than what is right.  They are more likely to tell you what to do because they are more focused on the problem than on your emotional state.

Scrutinizing is a good ability to have if you are developing products.  But it is bad for romantic bliss – which can be a problem anyway as Engineers tend to lack in emotional expression.  They  are, however, steady and reliable and that means a lot.  The man who makes you feel safe isn’t always the man who makes you feel beautiful.  Engineers can be like that.  Of course, it’s great when they are one and the same.

What’s to be done?  Any ideas, strategies or rebuttals?

I received the following response from a female client:

“On the topic of Engineers, I think your observations are correct.  I’ve spent an entire career being an engineer, so I have the same characteristics (e.g., scrutinizing, problem-focused).  And I was married to one too.  Communication of feelings is very difficult for us.  I think the core problem is it’s hard for engineers to figure out what the6y are feeling to begin with, let alone communicate it to someone else.

It’s helpful if engineers get out of their logic box to explore other parts of life.  Being in nature can be helpful, as long as there is no goal, such as running 5 miles.  Looking at art of listening to music is also helpful.  For spouses married to engineers, I’d suggest these types of activities.”

Any stories, strategies or comments are greatly appreciated.  Sharing such is one of the best things we women have going.  (Guys should feel free as well).

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Men and Women

Don’t underestimate how much men are motivated by convenience.

Women tend to be story-weavers, particularly about relationships.  Men are more direct and task-oriented.  While  you may be thinking that he’s wondering why you chose that outfit or why you’ve been so quiet tonight, his mind is likely focused on the game, the car or his job.

 

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Posted by Tina Dubin, Ph.D.

I received my doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977. I completed my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling Center. Since then, I have been a research associate at the Institute of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Texas, a founding associate of Family Eldercare, and have been in private practice with my husband, Dr. William Dubin, at Psychological ARTS since 1980.

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