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Tips to get over post-marital mismatch

Is a mismatch with your spouse eating into your marital life? HT Style tells you how to get over it.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 13:55 IST
HT Style
HT Style
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Are you so fed up with your marriage partner that you’re ready to call a divorce lawyer? Maybe you can’t think of one more way to fix your relationship. But you’re out of ideas. You’ve tried everything from yelling to giving each other the silent treatment. Perhaps you might even have tried couples therapy, not to mention an impromptu session with a psychic.

You now realise, however, that nothing has changed. Your marriage is just as hopeless now as it was a year ago. But, the truth is, you still want it to work.

Can your marriage be saved?

Experts say most marriages fail because two people are mismatched in many ways. Being mismatched causes each of you to feel the other is not a good friend.

Experts say that most marriages fail because two people are mismatched in many ways. Being mismatched causes each of you to feel the other is not a good friend.

But before you write a goodbye note or file papers, stop to consider if you can be friends with your mate.

Think about ways to build common ground. Ask yourself, “Is it possible to find or create areas we feel matched in?” You should try downplaying the areas you’re mismatched in. Stop focusing on those. Focusing on what isn’t working will make you feel you’re married to your worst enemy.

No one can really work on a marriage relationship. Instead, they must work on basic friendship. To find common threads of interest, start small and keep building.

Learning to become a good friend to your spouse means taking charge. You can’t allow other people or problems to erode your basic friendship.

A couple started with listing 10 things they had in common to revive their friendship. They are focusing on doing small things together such as watching the evening news, checking out travel films at the library just so they have something upbeat to talk about. They also make an effort to avoid hot topics that result in heated debates.

Learning to become a good friend to your spouse means taking charge. You can’t allow other people or problems to erode your basic friendship.

“My husband and I had too many debates,” says a psychologist Joy.

“Before long, our friendship was gone and we divorced. “I'm in a second marriage now,” she adds. “It’s working because we work on the friendship and don’t debate!” Joy says her second husband is not superior in any way to her first husband. “It’s just that I’ve paid more attention the second time around,” she insists. “I don’t neglect the friend ship part of marriage, even if I have to drive to my husband’s office to take dinner for the two of us.”

The reason any marriage survives half-decently is that a couple finds more things to agree than disagree. The trick is to “match” up goals, plans, and dreams to those parts of the spouse's personality that support their own vision of happiness.

Making a marriage work means figuring out the upside to everything. There are advantages to almost any situation imaginable.

“My wife had a car accident last year,” says an associate of ours, Henry. “The two of us got a lot of reading done while she recuperated. We grew closer during all of this because she and I tried to read many of the same books.” Friendship means helping the other person feel good as much as possible.

Ask yourself, “How good can I make my mate feel? How can I explain to my mate the good feelings I need in return?” If you can make good feelings flow, you are having a true friendship.

These tips can help:

Avoid people who cause negative feelings: This means you must scale back time spent on in-laws and others who bring bad feelings into your home. If necessary, screen your calls and don’t return certain messages.

Tackle tough problems together: That’s what friends do. If, for example, an ex is trying to divide you and your mate, don’t allow this to weaken your united front. Never put your spouse out on a limb. Get out on the limb with him or her Make sure fun times outweigh bad times. Never allow your marriage to become chiefly a problemsolving forum. Avoid debates altogether.

(Names changed)

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 13:48 IST