7 Sincere suggestions from marriage counselor
1. Don't be afraid
“What should we have for dinner?”
“How much does the new purse cost?”
These questions may sound trivial but they are the most unbearable ones among couples in general. This may reflect the existence of issues that prevent one from being honest, which may be criticism, reprimand and regular rejection of suggestion, etc. Feeling fear, we want to escape and refuse to speak our mind with our partner, hindering further growth of relationship. Therefore, we should not be petrified by the reaction of our spouse. We may invite our partner, at appropriate moments, to listen to our thoughts. Honesty refers to revealing the inner side that we feel embarrassed about. To encourage our partners to express their innermost thoughts, we should cultivate a secure and tolerating atmosphere and keep our shirt when we are feeling discontented.
2. Don't underestimate small talk
“What did you have for lunch?”
“How’s work today?”
“Is the fish sufficiently cooked?”
These seemingly trivial topics are significantly meaningful for relationship between genders as it escalates gradually through small talks. If we have no idea about one’s basic situation, how can our understanding deepen? During our dialogue, we should listen attentively to show our sincere concern and interact with a relaxing and trustful manner. Furthermore, allot at least one hour for chatting with your partner in quiet venues such as parks and coffee shops. You may bring up any topic and share your thoughts with each other.
3. Don't give in reluctantly
When opposing views arise between couples, it is necessary to let go of your ego and compromise, so as to show respect to your loved ones. Letting go of the ego is an act of modesty; it is not the same as giving up integrity and submitting reluctantly. Bottled up frustration will only intensify ad burst out eventually, leading to quarrels or even break offs. Conflicting views between couples should be dealt with respectful and modest attitude and tolerant mindset. If you feel discouraged by comprising, you could notify it to your partner and state your intention plainly. You should not regard your act of comprising as a “term of trade” for other disputes.
4. Don't make unreasonable expectation
Many of us unknowingly look for a perfect match. However, everyone is unique. It is not realistic to expect your partner to own all the attributes you wish. Instead, we should concentrate on his/her features that we find agreeable and accept his/her shortcomings. Remember that nobody in the world is perfect.
5. Don't compare to others
Don’t compare your partner to others. Avoid saying such thing as “all of your former classmates are more successful then you are.” Such sour comment does not only hurt the feeling of your partner but also engenders resentment and discontent for your relationship. What really matters is to confront the unsatisfactory aspects in our relationship and ask our partner to iron them out together. Meanwhile, we have to reflect sincerely on the style of relationship we are seeking and be truthful to our core values. Additionally, some of us would compare our current state of relationship to the past by saying “when we were dating we used to be …but now…” Such comparison, which inspires our partners to wonder why, is actually beneficial to our relationship.
6. Don't put money first
Living in an international city like Hong Kong requires financial means. However, putting money first will ruin our relationship or even alter its nature. For examples, there are couples who pursue their career together. During the process, they gradually treat their partners as means to acquire material gain or wealth rather than their life companion. This explains the prevalence of couples who can sail through tough times but separate amidst prosperity.
7. Don't judge people’s feelings
It is common that we would expect our partners to think and feel the same as we do, deeming it as a “compatible” quality. When s/he disagrees, we feel alarmed and believe it is “incompatible”. Unconsciously, we begin to criticize and look for reasons to rebuke their arguments, with the intention to gain their approvals. However, there is no right or wrong about feelings; they are beyond agreeing or disagreeing. Instead, we should acknowledge our partners’ feelings and let them feel respected. This also prevents us from being overbearing, which leads to reluctance for further communication.
Content consultant ｜Mrs. Ada S. Y. Pang (Individual, Marriage and Family Counselor)
Original article from BOKSS’s Newsletter