Sunday, September 14, 2008

Relationship Training 101

I heard recently that 49% of marriages in North America end in divorce. I’m not sure how accurate this statistic is, but its enough to make a person think about why is the rate so high?

Why don’t they teach children in school how to live in a relationship? Why don’t they teach children in school how to be a good parent? The skills that they teach in school are important – arithmetic, reading, writing but there are more skills that are so basic to our human survival that I think they should be taught when we are young.

Relationships are so important to having a good life and to raising a well adjusted family and yet we get little formal training on how to live or act in relationship.

Women and men are wired differently from each other. We don’t think, feel, act or mature in the same ways. And so when we are in relationship with each other we are often confused about what will work best for us.

Biologically we are made to need each other. We are wired to keep our species going. We have learned that babies who are fed but not loved die from that lack of love. We know that relationships are not just a convenience of our modern day but a biological need to survive.

We also know that people who stay married and don’t divorce are financially better off.

And mostly there are the children to consider: I remember my 23 year old son saying to me at the time of my divorce to his father…. “I was the only one of my friends who had parents who weren’t divorced. I was always so proud of that fact, and now you are letting me down.” My daughter’s children are young teenagers now and she is divorced from their father. The boys go back and forth between homes. Fortunately both parents live in the same neighborhood but I have seen the difficulties that it causes.

So why don’t we spend more time learning how to do our relationships right? That’s why I have become such a strong advocate of good communication skills and why I have been focusing on “how to keep my wife happy dot com”.

Here are some thoughts for this morning about what we need to keep our relationship healthy.

1. Some people expect their spouse of the opposite sex to be just like them and then get frustrated when they aren’t. Here’s the morning news: The sexes ARE different.

2. Some people don’t take responsibility for the relationship. Each partner in a relationship needs to take 110% responsibility for its health and happiness.

3. Don’t just know who your partner is but understand who they are. Take time to listen to their hopes and dreams and reasons for their hopes and dreams.

4. Realize that quitting the relationship isn’t an option – working out life’s troubles is the better way to go.

Thanks to Deborah Tannen, Gloria MacDonald and Eric Berne for the work that they have done on this subject to help me understand how to help others.

No comments: