Should we glorify marriage to our kids?

3D debates 5 Dec 2019, personal notes :

So, what do we know about happy marriages and married people?

Let me give you a quick rundown of the facts:

  1. Married men are generally healthier and live longer.
  2. Surprisingly, married people have more sex than their single counterparts
  3. Married couples raise happier, stable, and more successful kids.
  4. They make more money (Apparently, when you have a family, financial failure is just not an option).
  5. If you end up in a jail or hospital in most countries, your spouse has a legal right to visit you…

Have I persuaded you to get married yet? No? Then please continue reading:

1. Marriage increases commitment to a relationship; not only morally, but also financially. So, in effect, it is “more expensive” to cheat compared to engaging in ‘no-obligations’ dating.
2. When there are troubles in relationships, deeper commitment motivates people “to repair things”, instead of simply “getting a new one”.
3. Marriage provides guaranteed financial protection for kids and often includes inheritance rights for them in the future.
4. Kids with married parents, who we can consider to be better role-models, learn from this experience and apply it to future friendships and romances. They thus form more secure emotional attachments later in life.
5. Your kid won’t be asked at school, “what’s wrong with your mom? Why didn’t your dad want to marry her?”.
6. Married people have a better social image and higher chance of success in job interviews.
7. Getting married gives you a chance to throw an absolutely unforgettable party!
8. It’s a pride-ride. You declare your love to the entire world, including God. And, in addition to this, you get to say that THIS person is Sooo good, that until the end of your days you will have sex with only him/her. If you are a girl, you will get amazing pictures for Instagram wearing your white dress and a nice ring.
9. If you are a guy, you will still get the same pictures, but they will make your parents happy. They will be then be proudly sharing your wedding pics with distant relatives and cousins (some of whom you’ll never meet in your life).

Conclusion: All the benefits I have mentioned above don’t just come with a nice ring to wear on the finger, but also lead to happy marriages, which you build over time. You heard right – “build”. Relationships used to be treated as magic and chemistry, but not anymore! It is now a well-researched science, with formal education, rules, cycles and measurement tools. The Gottman method test can predict which couples will stay together and which will get divorced with a 90% probability rate. We can thus quantitatively and qualitatively measure a couple’s strengths, weaknesses, and points for improvement.

So. If you are not “in it to win it” then don’t bother getting married. But if you do decide to get married – do it right. And enjoy a longer life, better career prospects, and happier kids.

 

Sub-topic 1: Should parents tell their kids marriage is a ‘must’ in life?

I really like this joke:

A kid is 5 years old: “Wow, mommy knows everything…”

A kid is 13 years old: “Hmm, maybe mom doesn’t know everything…”

A kid is 21 years old: “Mom knows NOTHING”

A kid is 35 years old: “I should have listened to my mom…”

 

Our kids are watching us 24/7 live. It doesn’t matter what you say, they will learn what they see.

 

The only thing I will tell my son is that there is only one thing he MUST DO. He must live a happy, fun, fulfilled, and successful (by his definition) life. I want him to see, experience, and enjoy all areas of life.

I hope that at a later point in his life, he will seek deeper meaning in his life and will propose marriage. I hope it will be a girl, as this is the only option which gives me biological grandchildren (which would be nice to have).

And what if it doesn’t, some of you will ask… Well, then I will buy a big dog…and I’m still gonna love my son regardless!

 

onclusion: The only “must” in life is living a happy and fulfilled life. Love your kids the way they are. Share your hopes and your thoughts, but accept your kids the way that they are – even if it doesn’t fit YOUR plan for their life. There are many points of view and all of them are relevant depending on how you look at the situation. But, there is only one mom (and dad), who are supposed to be the source and the very definition of love, support and understanding. It doesn’t matter what happens outside of this.

 

Sub-topic 2: Should parents pretend they still love each other when they don’t anymore?

I believe in transparent and honest relationships with friends and family. People always do the best they can, within any given situation. However, people usually decide to lie when telling the truth feels psychologically dangerous, or when there are expected negative reactions. I believe that the family circle must be a safe and happy place; tolerant, compassionate, and accepting. It should be a space where everything is shared openly; good and bad situations. This includes love, tragedies, happy and sad occasions and big family decisions. So, lying is always a bad solution to any problem, in my opinion.

 

BUT, if the love isn’t there anymore, there is a checklist that parents need to work from:

 

  1. Parents have to ensure that a kid feels loved by both sides, no matter what happens.
  2. The child needs to know that it’s not his fault and that there is nothing he can personally do to change the situation…despite the fact that in many romantic comedies, it works.
  3. Communicate!!! Talk about what this situation means. Explain what happened and why. Guarantee stability and clarity and plan ahead. The kid needs to see that the adults are in control to prevent panic setting in and to stop them feeling like the world is falling apart. Provide constructive and descriptive examples of life after divorce.
  4. It is also useful to clarify what is the status of the family? Are the parents planning to divorce, to try and repair the damage, or simply to leave it as it is and do nothing.
  5. Parents need to ensure that the kid doesn’t have to make a choice between the parents, or to have to pick sides.
  6. The adults also need to clarify if the children’s lives will be affected – like having to change apartment, school, or country. These are big and stressful events in the life of any child.
  7. Prepare a statement to the world. Your kid will have to communicate about this to their friends, teachers, and the rest of the world. Provide divorce statistics, constructive examples, (you will be surprised, but there are some) and adopt a mature angle to look at this situation better. Be honest. Be yourself. Be supportive. Be an example and share things first.

Sub-topic 3: When parents fight, should they hide it from their kids?

Do you know what the biggest myth is about happy and unhappy marriages?

  • People often assume that happy couples don’t have problems.

Nonsense! Across centuries, countries, genders, and social classes, couples have always had a similar amount of problems and disagreements. One wife is upset that her diamonds are too small, while another is complaining that her soup is too thin.

 

Beneath are 19 key areas which illustrate and identify the sources of all marital problems.

 

Details can differ from family to family, but they carry equal emotional importance to the people who experience these problems. The main difference is how happy and unhappy couples deal with issues.

Did you know, that 69% of all issues in couples are repetitive and can’t be resolved? In happy marriages and unhappy marriages, the percentage of problems is the same, even though the problem areas can be different. The biggest cause of these disagreements is rooted into our core values and beliefs. So, how does it all happen?

One spouse (usually the wife) is pushing to influence another’s spouse behavior in order to fulfill their own deeper needs.

IF the husband is not willing to accept her influence, the influencer (usually the wife) often starts increasing the strength of her message through attack, criticism, contempt, and other such destructive methods of influence. The ‘attacked’ partner, (usually the husband) then responds by going into ‘protection mode’ with countback, stonewalling, shutting down or avoidance. It’s a lose-lose situation.

So, a happy marriage is largely about conflict management skills. It is effectively a learned skill. To be successful in business we learn MBA, for success in personal life we learn family psychology – this is no different. I teach many couples how to stay connected and become efficient at influencing behavior without fighting; instead discussing their needs and what they really represent.

 

Do you want to start making a positive difference in your relationship? According to 39 years of research, a happy couples communication has a 5 to 1 positive communication ratio. This means that for every 5 expressions of gratitude, appreciation, or support, there is maybe only 1 negative expression. In dysfunctional couples, this positivity to negativity ratio is closer to 1 to 1. While at first this can appear fair and balanced, it gradually ruins relationships over time.

 

So, invest in learning family psychology; you do it once and you see results for your entire life. Express admiration and appreciation of your partner 5 times more often and accept influence from your spouse. Learn conflict management skills and that you don’t have to fight to bring your point across or to be heard. It’s not just theory, it is a research-proven lifestyle.

 

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