Q: I have been married for five years, but I feel there is something grossly missing in our relationship. We hardly disagree or have altercations. We both come from very rigid family backgrounds and rarely saw our parents argue. Though moving along well, I would not call our relationship very passionate. Please help.
It is possible that one or both of you fear that any kind of conflict would be dangerous to the relationship, so you avoid it at all costs. This results in a consistent but monotonous relationship. Children from very strict or dogmatic homes often are not given permission to feel or express “negative” emotions. You may have developed a habit of suppressing all your unpleasant emotions, like anger, irritation, hurt, or sadness, and end up cutting yourself off from love and passion. There may be a tendency to ignore significant issues to insulate against pain. You may also be hesitant to express strong positive feeling of love, passion etc.
You can make the commitment to building a renewed relationship now. Its never late. Avoid blaming and try to use “We” statements instead of “I”. Articulate exactly what you want to. Have faith in your marriage to know that it will not only withstand disagreements and arguments, but that it will grow stronger with time.
Q My son is 17 and has recently started attending a lot of parties. He is getting addicted to alcohol and becoming secretive about his drinking at home, too. How can I help him?
In these times when alcohol is so freely available and socially acceptable, many youngsters get into early and heavy drinking ignorant of the dangerous consequences to life. Mostly it begins from social drinking and moves to an intractable habit. Its time to speak to your son. Make sure the timing and the mood is right. Be patient, consistent and polite. Do not accuse him of being an alcoholic, but do express your concern.
Communicate that you want him to be aware and responsible. It is important to let him know that you are caring and understanding. Be prepared for denial and anger. When confronted, he will defend himself, blame others for the problem, or give excuses for the need to experiment. Enhancing social skills will resist the social pressures to drink. You can take your son to support groups like Alcohol Anonymous, where you can learn more about other people’s alcohol and associated problems. If the intervention starts early, he will soon be responsible with your care and support. Seeking help of a counselor will be very useful.
Q Though I have been married for the past 11 years, I have just found out that my husband has been cheating on me. I did suspect this but was not sure until a friend of mine informed that she knew about it. I confronted him with this information, but he denies it. How can I keep my family together?
You have every right to be hurt, upset and angry with him. These feelings would not placate until your husband tells the truth about what happened and acknowledges the pain he has caused. Since your husband is reluctant to do this, it is best to deal effectively with your feelings, rather than just be tolerant, as they may turn more intense and influence other aspects of your relationship.
Most couples lack the communication skills necessary. You need to build up communication. Monitor the relationship with your husband closely. Set new ground rules, new goals for yourselves, renewed channels with which you can create a healthy communication and intimacy. In order to experience a complete healing on this issue is to see the situation truly as it is, and to start treating yourself with the love and respect you hope to receive from your husband.