real life

EM: The biggest mistake women make in their marriages?

women marriage
‘Back in the day, we married someone who helped meet our basic needs. Now? We’ve become a bunch of wankers.’

I bet you think things are going pretty great in your relationship, don’t you? You’re feeling a bit smug about the holiday you just booked, he/she remembered your birthday and you even managed to have the sex once last week.

Well, WAKE UP DUMMY. Your relationship is bullshit and you should probably just end it now.

Yes, due to the unstoppable tsunami of personal growth assistance requests you have been making of your partner, your relationship is gasping for air. Air you are selfishly using to fan the sails of your narcissistic and endless voyages of self discovery.

How very dare you. I can’t even look at you right now.

US psychologist Eli Finkel (who’s the director of Psychology at North Western University, thank you for asking), claims that high divorce rates and low marital satisfaction are a direct result of partners’ inability to meet psychological expectations.

He has called this the “suffocation model of marriage” and says the majority of us are guilty of it.

Basically, back in the day, you married someone who helped you meet your basic needs. All you needed was a roof over your head, food on the table and some occasional naked time and that was enough. Now, we are looking to our partners to help us find ourselves. We want a deep psychological connection and assistance in pursuing our dream careers and recognition of our core selves.

marriage mistake
Can we make our marriages stronger by asking LESS of them? Em thinks so.
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What a bunch of wankers we’ve become! Can you imagine what would have happened back in the 1800s if we carried on in this fashion?

“What’s for dinner, Mary?” (I went with Mary as that seems like a Ye Olde name. I did briefly consider Gertrude but felt that would be trying a bit too hard.)

“Ben, I am more than just a cook. I want you to be able to see my food as an extension of me. I feel as though you just eat my  meals and don’t appreciate that they comes from a place of love. They are not just for your physical nourishment, but your spiritual appetite as well.”

*Ben runs off to find a priest and set up the pile of wood he will be needing late to burn Mary on. She is clearly, a witch.*

Finkel says: “In 2014, you are really hoping that your partner can help you on a voyage of discovery and personal growth, but your partner cannot do that unless he or she really knows who you are, and really understands your core essence. That requires much greater investment of time and psychological resources,” he said.

“A blissful minority are in marriages that fulfil these deeper demands, and those marriages are better than the best marriages of yesteryear. But the average marriage falls short because the time and effort required were impossible for most to meet.”

He is saying that the change in demands on unions are making things pretty tough going out there. That it now requires more of an investment in the marriage in an age where we’re all very time-poor.

Preach! I barely have time to tend to my own needs let alone carry the hopes and dreams of my man.

You know it was our loosey-goosey parents who did this to us. Back in the “free love” era, those flaky fools made us want deep love and connection in our partnerships. BOOOOO hippies.

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marriage mistake
‘It was our loosey-goosey parents who did this to us back in the “free love” era. BOOOOO hippies.’

Obviously they were high, drunk and possibly in a polygamous relationship at the time, but we listened to them and now we all want more, more MORE! Before acid trips and tie dye, everyone was just pretty happy to find someone to live, feed and make babies with. Back when starch, corrective underwear and family values meant something.

So basically, Finkel says, the solution is to stop being so damn needy, you desperadoes! Give your other half some space and maybe let them get off your journey of self-discovery and find your own damn way.

Okay, what he exactly said was that couples could improve the quality of their marriages by allowing them to breathe, and by lowering their demands on the relationship in hard times, such as when the couple had young children or faced work or money problems.

“Some people will realise they are asking a lot of their marriage, given the 30 minutes a week they spend talking to their wife,” he said. “The irony is that asking less of the marriage when resources are scarce will actually make the marriage stronger.”

SO. In summary…

Don’t: Tell your partner you need more “me” time when the kids are off their heads, the dog has spewed and you’re both tired.

Do: Get on with it.

Are you married? Do you think it’s natural for us to expect too much from our partners?

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