Daphne de Marneffe: "The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together" | Talks at Google
Okay. So. The. Rough patch. Why. Do they call it the rough patches they're a rough patch in every, marriage. Simple. Answer yes all right more than one usually I named. The book the rough patch was which is obviously a very common, term. It's not only, applied to what I'm writing about but, because, what I was noticing in my practice as, I see couples and individuals was, people, having this sense that they had. Created. Their life they had partners they had houses, they had children they had a structure, but that sometime. In the middle period, they were finding, themselves feeling, kind of lost or, confused. Or, stuck or feeling, that something, about their emotional life wasn't working so that's what I use. The. Term for, but. The book is structured, so that each. Chapter, is about a different kind, of rough patch or crisis, or struggle, so, there's a chapter on, money. Issues, there's a chapter on affairs, there's a chapter on alcohol, use different, things that people confront. Over the course of a long, relationship. And so, are these the. Types. Of topics that that, are covered in the book are, they are, they changing. Over time are they the same problems, that our parents have dealt with and our grandparents, dealt with or is there something different now well I think people. Now live, longer than our parents our grandparents, do so people, are trying. To have. Close. Relationships. Over longer lives and our, model, of marriage has also changed in other words it used to be more of an economic, arrangement, and the 60s it was more kind of find yourself arrangement. Now it's more of a you know how can we have a close intimate. Partnership, that helps carry, us through and, support each other in that process and so, the model has changed and our lifespan has changed so that's a fact of living today, um, there. Are obviously, the time-worn, problems, that people have in relationships, in terms of emotional, vacation and the, other things I've mentioned I think a couple things that probably. All of you can relate to that are new and different are the way. In which technology is completely seeped, into every, aspect of our lives, and, all the possibilities, for connecting, that, have been, created by social media and my. Understanding of that is it's new and old I mean it's a new way in which we deploy our time but it's also often, used. In very. Common. Ways namely to disconnect. To avoid difficult emotional situations, to have an a moment of escape and privacy, I mean all the things that people are always trying to balance a marriage anyway. What. About the. Trends, in terms of when people are having children or. Kind. Of some of the historical.
Gender. Roles and relationships are, those having complexities. As well right. So a couple of things are really interesting about that one is that if you look at the statistics. On longevity of marriage now the, people who are staying married, and not getting divorced are people who have education and, economic, resources which. Makes a lot of sense because often, they have fewer stresses in their lives they have fewer economic, stresses they have more opportunities it. Also usually. Means that there's more egalitarian marriage. And whereas. In the past and those even. As recently. As the 60s and 70s women's. Education, was actually a risk factor for divorce now it is a protective, factor for marriage so in other words you can see that an egalitarian marriage. Tends. To offer certain opportunities, for collaboration, of partnership, of course it also means we're all taking all roles all the time right, so everybody, is trying to be a full partner, in every way work childcare. Money. Household. Chores etc, so that means a lot of collaboration. A lot of negotiation, a lot of, conversation. And often, conflict. Around division of labor a fairness who does what that sort of thing and so. Talking. About children how are children hard on a marriage right. So children, are known to be one of the hardest, stresses, on a marriage obviously it's one of the reasons people get married it's one of the reasons people want to stay married having, a family. It's a high aspiration. For many many people but but, research does unequivocally. Suggest that, when you have your first child your marital satisfaction goes. Down and the, way I think about that because I teach a class to, young. Parent well not so young in the bay I live in the Bay Area and I teach a class for people who are about to have their first child and it's basically how to keep the couple relationships, strong when you have a child and if this demographic may be similar to that one the people's big worry is I've had this great life I've you know done all the school stuff I'm, a fully, formed, individual, we have this great partnership is this kid gonna kind of ruin, everything right, I mean that's a whole different model. From when people had their kids that you know 21, 22, 25 whatever, and. So, there is this feeling, that you know children are going to disrupt, my life often. With with, people today, but, the rate the way I think they do disrupt. Your life because I think and all the great children are wonderful but the, that, it depletes resources, I mean that there's basically more. People that everything has to go around so if you think of that pure certainly. Economically, but also emotionally. And time, wadis and so I think what happens with children often, is that, the to-do list and, the hierarchy of things that have to happen you. Know your emotional, needs and your your need to connect, those lower lower lower on the list because of course there are much important.
Things To take care of and there's a mature functioning, adult you have to take care of the kids first the job second and so, it's this sort of subtle, demotion, that starts happening about. The relationship. And I think people try really hard to work on that but what's so tricky about it is that, the emotional, relationship. Is something. That is. Complex, is messy emotions. Are inconvenient, you might feel things you might feel angry or sad or disconnect. It and need to actually take time to talk about that and sort it through and that's, exactly what people are missing is the time to do it so that just takes takes its toll over time I, imagine. Too that that, things like sleep deprivation probably. Play into it at least in my own personal, expense. And. And things like wanting. To have those conversations but maybe not in front of the children yeah right, less. Time alone obviously, I sleep, deprivation is. Murder, for your moods for your sense of resilience right, all your worst qualities. Stur totally. On display, so, yeah all of that so, then like. Once, a week date Nidal fix at all right yeah, of course yeah, now. One thing I do tell couples which sounds incredibly, pragmatic. But I think it really can help part of the problem with date night which, I write about in the book is, that. What. You want on date night is fun you. Want romance you, want fun you want not, to be worrying, about the kids problems all the time and that can be hard because if that's the hot top stress on your mind and your only time to talk it's like well now's the time but. I recommend, that people decide. On a time of the week like 8 o'clock Tuesday, morning, that's not when you're about to try to go to sleep that's not when you're gonna try to have sex it's not on your date night and it's, like let's just take a minute to check in how's, the division of labor how are you feeling about our relationship, just sort of like almost like a meeting because. It's what, I find is so pernicious and, couples over time because. In this book is really about this, thing which, is that our emotional, life is who we are and our, relational, life is who we are and yet it sort of gets put on the sidelines, right and so easily in terms of all our other roles and so, I think that it can be very hard to be the person who has to bring up the conversation or, has to be the person to say let's talk you know some people are like no, no I don't want to talk right so if you know that it's Tuesday morning at 8:00 that you're gonna have this back and forth it can take the pressure off of one person, to be the initiator of discussion.
Or Or, when, when, your spouse hears hey, we need to talk that they don't like to start having a panic attack rates bad right exactly, they everybody, knows 8 o'clock Tuesday morning we're gonna you. Know touch, base so. You talked about having, more resources can, actually, contribute to better, outcomes. So. Then how, can money, be such, a such, a problem if you have more money isn't. That better. It's. Certainly better than not, having money right I mean you. Know again on this sort of two Americas, thing where people with education, and economic. Resources are doing better in terms of their marriage than people I mean that's sort of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer I mean it's them we live in right so people, who are at the poorer and less educated. Part. Of the demographic. Tend to not get married as much not stay married, Center marry more often etc, and obviously economic, stress is a huge. Difficult. Thing when, you have it but. You, know just like everything, else I mean it reminds me of the fact that people come into couple therapy and they say I can't believe we're fighting about you know the toothpaste tube or who takes out the trash this is so trivial it's so stupid like why are we fighting about these things but, of course life is those things right and it's this constant navigation. Of those things and money is a, really, charged, issue even, if you have a lot of it because I believe, the reason that the charge of issue is because it's so, close to our sort of primal sense of survival and identity. I mean, especially in this country perhaps but how you spend, money what money you have where, you're allocating, it it's, very close to people's, sense of who they are and, so. In a marriage you, know the ideal picture of a marriage in my mind is there's one individual, another individual, and together you create this thing this, living breathing organism called, the marriage and so it's not just what, do you want what do you want or if you get what you want I don't get what I want it's what is the marriage need what is the family need what do we need together, to make this thing that we're creating together and I think money lends itself to a sort of zero sum mentality, you know where people are kind of if you get yours I won't get mine and it breaks, down very quickly. So. Are. You of the opinion and, that all marriages, can work. All marriages, can be made to be good marriages or are there situations where, you, kind of need to know when. To say when, so. When I started, writing this book I. Had. The hope I had the thought that, if. People work enough. On themselves, they. Can work out their relationship because, I felt in my in my work one, of the things you run up against, a lot of times and a couples having problems, is they, come in and each one wants you to fix their partner and make, them a better partner, but it's very very hard for people to really take, stock of themselves and think what am i contributing to this so part of the work of a couple therapies, you're both creating, this you're both taking a role, so.
I Sort of had this somewhat, hopeful, I guess idea. That you know if people really grappled. With their own stuff. That. They can come to the relationship. On. A better footing and they can we'll be in far better position to work out all of which I still agree with but, I do believe also that some marriages, are, in some sense fatally, flawed and I think part of what the rough patch is about the book is about the thinking is about is how do you figure that out and. So. That that taking. Stock of yourself and and and personal accountability for improvement is that what, you refer to in the book as ducks that's. An aspect of it you know I think people have the illusion, that. If. Their relationships, working, well it's, peaceful, and serene and I, don't think that I mean I've been married for 26 years and I would say every, day we have some kind of difficult conversation, I'm not necessarily about our relationship, with each other but. What about and what about the kids or what about something we have to solve and I think I talk, about guts because they say it's always gonna take courage to have the difficult conversations, I mean the fascinating. Thing about being a human and this, has really come through with attachment, research in the last thirty years is we, never get over being dependent, and attached. And so like you know I it's not okay that my husband said I love you yesterday, or last week, or said goodbye then. He has to keep doing it in other words you keep have to feeling, the feel that the person keeps turning toward, you and giving, you appreciation. And gratitude and affection and, warmth right that's never done right. And so I sort of feel like similarly. The, hard conversations, are never done if you're trying to get through life if you're trying to figure out are we gonna retire you know what's, our budget, like, you know you know are we drinking too much you know how is our sex like all these things are not gonna be easy to talk about they're actually, vulnerable. To, talk about and I sort of want to help people shift their paradigm, it's a good day for you if they have the guts to talk about the hard things and so. You you have a part. Of the book that you talk about where you say that, that you need to get a life, mmm-hmm, can, you explain yeah, so, um the, this. Book. Is is about you know how do you have a close. Relation. Over a long life and I, think sometimes people have the notion that. You. Know in order to get along with another person over a long time you sort of have to suppress, yourself, or somehow just, adapt, yourself, and I, really believe that it's, only gonna work if, you, feel you can keep keep developing, and growing as an individual. That. You bring more and more into, the partnership, and I think sometimes people feel I was just talking to a friend yesterday was, you, know husband is a doctor and he had all this training and the whole family life was really geared around his his, life, and his profession, and she said it's been so hard for me to sort of step, out of that and realize I need, to start, having you, know a voice and, assert, what. I want, and we're always trying to balance that you know how much do we have to compromise how much do we have to suppress in order to get along but, I really think over the long haul, suppressing.
Yourself, Isn't going to do the trick you have to be, developing, yourself and evolving, yourself and maybe that's gonna mean saying look I'm changing. And the way it was 10 or 20 years ago or five years ago isn't gonna work for me I mean sometimes people got upset that they feel their spouse has changed the contract on them and we agreed under these circumstances and, now how come you suddenly want this and in my new it's like of course that happens times. Passing, you're growing, you're changing, and so you. Know my idea of get alike is you have to sort of bring a lot of yourself to, this and you have to keep developing yourself and that can always be a kind of messy balancing, act and so, the, the, old adage about how marriage is work and. It and it takes work to make a marriage. You're. You kind of challenge the idea of what work, means yeah in that. So. Um. You. Know there is this idea marriages work and everybody roles arrives on us like us and I. Mean what, I see is the work of marriage is being. Open and emotionally vulnerable that's the work it's hard to show up every day and be, honest. And be say where you're at and express your feelings and communicate about them and I happen to believe that it's not a tenable stance in a marriage to say I don't like to talk about feelings basically. You. May not like to talk about feelings you may be a person who finds it hard to talk about feelings it may be that you feel you're person who's not an expert, yet at talking, about your feelings but, the the the job that work is to cultivate the. Ability to, know, how you feel and to express it and that's, not easy and every, day you wake up it's like you the easy thing to do would be to watch my shows and get on my phone and, go a workout and not really deal with this other complicated. Person who's like wants things from me and I want things from and I can't really figure out how to get along with right, your job is to go like no my job is to keep trying to turn toward this person keep trying to figure out the relationship keep, trying to be close that's. Not easy how. Do things like, communication. Differences, and style and things you. Know one. Example being that. You. Know somebody may, simply. Be wanting, to talk, about what they're thinking or feeling and, the other person thinks, they're being asked to solve the problem, right right and so when, you when, you are you. Know how do you overcome those, kinds of things in that and that work. Yes it stay open well so it's a complicated, question but I'll just say one thing about it which is in I think chapter three or four of the book I I use, this phrase called feeling, with and thinking, about and, it, comes out of a whole tradition. Of psychological, research that you can read more about if you're interested, but, basically we've all had that experience of being in a couple situation. And one person coming home just, trying to pour out their feelings and talk about what happened and sort of process their emotion the other ones saying well let me you know well let my sleeves and help you solve the problem and then the first person is like I don't want you to solve my problem, they just want you to listen to me right so, I believe, that in a loving relationship if. You look at emotional communication, it has two, parts, it, has you feel with the person and you think about the person and, so, you both, have the experience. Of saying oh I'm listening to you I'm trying to understand, how you feel I'm trying, to sort. Of empathize with you or you know you had a horrible day and I'm trying to like listen, and support you and then. There's you know let me think about you let me think about the problem let me help you solve it do you want to help solve it and sometimes, couples break down you, know sometimes it's a long gender line sometimes, the roles are reversed but, basically it's like one person's fixing. And the, other, just wanting empathy, right so I think everyone, should be cultivating. The ability to both feel wet and think about and love is expressed, through that combination. So. If you, could. Give everyone. Like. One thing to either go back and think about or, practice, at home tonight what would that first, set be okay. So I. Think.
There's Two things that, are kind of in my mind like the wonder, drug of marriage like basically it can take two relationships, that are identical, and all their different problems. And dysfunctions, but, if in one situation, the. Partners, are able to say I'm. Aware, of my part in this and I'm. I'm, trying to change so, in other words what I call in the book of self awareness and self responsibility, so what I mean by that is. If. You can. Look. At what you're doing together, and really, say I know. I have a part in this I'm. Trying to understand, what I'm doing and I don't you know and I'm sorry if it you know bothers. You or whatever and I'm tragic that, is the key element everything. Else can be equal but, if people can do that if. They can look at themselves and, and take account of their behavior and then be responsible about it no matter what they're doing you, know that, is just the critical, difference that gives people hope or hopelessness if you're married to a person where the story always is it's your fault that I'm doing this if you would just change I would be different, that, creates. A very corrosive. Toxic. Hopeless, atmosphere, so that's the one thing I would say okay. You, have your marching orders and. We, are going to take questions because. We are recording. This please. Make sure that you make your way to the microphone, if you would like to ask questions today. I'll. Talk about one more thing here and then we'll go ahead and take questions from the mic so I, keep. Waiting for the. Age, of, my children to arrive where it gets easier and. Yeah. Okay and. And. What I get is this kind of reaction especially, for people whose kids are older if they're like no it's it's, not easier it's just different and so I mean navigating. Those. Changes. Over the years, the. Communications got to evolve to well it reminds me of when you have really little kids you're like someday, this will be over they'll be in school right and I'm like what, I thought my, kids are 25, 21, and 19 and and everyday we're, worrying about something right and and and every. Day we're having our conversations, about what should we do about XYZ so it doesn't ever go away but, there's a gratification. And actually being able to talk in, a productive and collaborative way that's kind, of a hope right so. Yeah. The physical exhaustion, I would say changes, but there's always something, mistakes, only get higher now we're worrying about can, they support themselves and, will, they find happiness, and love or we're, worrying about our parents, yeah or that the decline that happens there right so you kind of get, out of one situation, and you start to take on another and that shift is and. One thing I say because I have a chapter on the empty nest which I've just, become. One of and I, say, you know it's. Okay to be a beginner you know when you have first have a child you're a beginner when you first have no kids at home you're a beginner like what do we want now who are we what are we doing you know I think sometimes we feel by that age we should know what's, going on and I think life's, not like that you're. Always you're, always learning are. There any additional. Like, considerations. Or. Tips. For when you go through really, big life changes, whether it's a change, in career or you're, moving to a completely different place or you've, lost a parent like the big big life changes. Where. One. Of one or the other partner, may not be kind of on, their best Yeah right yeah so what.
Other Things can, can people throw in to kind of help through those patches I think, there's a couple things I think one, is to keep reaching out toward each other but to respect, what the other person, needs and that can be hard sometimes because, sometimes if you've got your, partner's gone through something they're very absorbed, and they're, not that available to you and you feel kind of right but, part of the thing is to keep, offering support, the. Other is to, sort, of accept that, I mean the point is I talked about the widths with a metaphor, the golden ring but the point is that you're standing next to each other looking. At life and trying to help each other through right. And there going to be these things and so, how you know to be able to just accept that there gonna be times when you're not available to each other when one who's terribly, sad. When, you know and and to sort of understand, that that's kind, of part of part, of the deal. But. I do want to say and I talk about this and I have a chapter called love sickness and longing, about people, who sort of have these very absorbing, crushes, you know even if they're happily married but they become and one, of the things I've noticed about that in my own clinical, work it's anecdotal, but I'm really interested in studying it further is, I think when people go through a big loss of some kind maybe lost a parent maybe lost a job maybe. Their child has a big problem it depletes, them and sort. Of hollows them out and sometimes then, they look they try to grab something in the world that will cite them that will distract them and so, I think also just to know your own vulnerability and, the vulnerability, of your, partner when you're going through something very devastating. Hey. Do. You have any advice or thoughts on being in a relationship with, someone who has either significant. Order. Some magnitude more income, and wealth and I'm, asking for a friend. Wow. That, is so interesting I mean. In. My own experience. You know you realize an adult life you often end up around, people about, your level of wealth because it's not uncomfortable. You sort of know what everybody can do. But. My best friend from high school is extremely wealthy and so that's sort of my only real it's, fascinating, I haven't given much thought to that I mean can, you say anything else, specific. About the struggle, or the difficulty, there. Do. You want me to make it up. Okay so one thing I could imagine coming, up which comes up with my friend is you know she's like hey let's have a spa weekend, whoa I can't, afford this all weekend right so it's like are, you paying, and, you know then in a couple I would imagine they're.
Sort Of like what. Are the feelings around. One person having all this money that. They can sort of fund. Things that, can't be equitable, right now what I do with my friend is she gets this huge you, know small week and then I'd buy two like pizza on the wait at the spa so, I guess, there's got to be some discussion, I mean money is it's. Obviously a huge hot button issue there's old 50, page chapter on it but but, you, know there's, not to be some discussion, of what the understanding. Is there I think because I think this stuff's so, complicated. To talk about we're all so bad at talking about money that I think the, main advice I would have is like make, it an explicit. Conversation. Now that doesn't mean everybody's. Gonna know what their feelings are because it's an incredibly confused. Area. For people and very conflicted, and very complicated but, at least to be having, these sort of. Conscious. Explicit. Conversations. Of like you have this I have that how, are we gonna do this so everyone feels fair I'll just say one other thing I think, one, of the very most important, things in a long-term relationship is. A sense of fairness and justice and, if. People start feeling that's not working, it's, very corrosive, to the bond so, I think you have to try to understand, what is the money mean to each person, what. To what extent do they feel you're kind of freeloading like, even if they don't want to feel that they kind of do like try to really get all this stuff out on the table so you can be kind of. Conscious. About, the, agreements, that you're making I think that would be really useful. Would. You happen to have any advice or, choosing. A partner in the first place so, that when, it proms you appear they're easier to work through. Great, question, I mean I feel like my next book because my kids are kind of getting, to be that a just, like you know how to choose, a good partner, where's, my kids no one hear from me about it right but um. You. Know I would say that, the, most important, thing I don't think it's shared interests. You, know cuz actually, you can bring a lot of different interests and it's important have your own interests anyway I think sometimes people think well we've checked all the boxes on all these compatibility. Things and I think that's beside. The point actually, I think. It's about emotional, communication I, mean.
Obviously It's, about the obvious thing subtraction, and they find, them fun and like being around them whatever. Good. If there's not a ton of mental illness and their family just on a purely genetic level but. I would say that it's. About, whether. This person is, able to talk through problems and and. I wouldn't get married till you've had some opportunities, to talk through problems weddings are great opportunities. To talk to your problems just be willing to like bag if you can't get through the problems, but, um but, I think you know sometimes people get together with, I'm highly. Emotional. Dramatic. People. Who sort of excite, them and activate, them only, to find out later the. Person is a total. Piece of work can't, regulate their emotions to save their life and it's driving them completely nuts so I would try to really. Look at can this person manage, their emotions and talk to me in any sort of reasonable, way about, you, know what they feel and can I do the same so volatility. I think is something to avoid addictions, or something to avoid I could, go on and on but that would be my main advice, so. If you have a couple where, both, parties, have a tremendous, amount in common and just do like everything, together but. Then later on they realized that they do need to get a life and sort of like, cultivate, themselves what. Do you think a good framework for that discussion, would be you know how do how would the couple find, the ways in which they you know can and should develop. Themselves in individual, ways. So. That's interesting, um I. Mean. I'm, I'm. Getting a feeling that that question, might have within it something, like one, of the oh it's. Feeling a little bit of a need for more of that because if both people are feeling like we just love doing everything, together and have only shared, interests, I can't, really say. That's a problem right I mean life will. Introduce. Difference. Over time it just will you might have different parenting styles you might have different things you like to do with the kids you might have different families. And different places that you're visiting I mean it will introduce it but say you're in the early. Courtship, you've been together a while and you just love doing everything together that sounds great I think, it's probably more though when one person is realizing, it's a little claustrophobic here. It's a little too much like this I need to have more, outside. And I think people in certain relationships. Feel very threatened, by individuality. And I think that's something to really take, on I don't think it's a tenable position in a long-term couple to be like you can't go out with your friends, or you know you can't go I mean, that's a problem, I think everybody, there. It's important, to hold, a space for something. Like you, know I love, doing everything together we're incredibly compatible. But sometimes, I feel I just want to get out and do stuff with so-and-so or go do this and I want that to be okay, with, us I don't want it to feel unsafe I don't want it to feel insecure I don't want you to be too anxious and, anxiety, is a huge thing in relationships, and part, of relationships, is working through why you're anxious what, can I do to make you less anxious but, claustrophobia. And having, to always be together is, usually. Over. The long haul of problems so if I were the person who is feeling like I just want a little more elbow room here I would, just try to introduce it as you know I.
Think It would be really healthy for a relationship, hey let's read this book it says it would be healthy for a relationship to. Have a few things that we do alone just, to have more interest, and more I mean because as life goes on I see, couples who are in the middle of life and they're like our life's really boring and under stimulating. Cuz I feel like my spouse doesn't have any interests. Or they're always sort of watching TV or whatever so to sort of talk about it in terms of the benefit to the relationship, of bringing. More stuff in I think might help, hi. I was wondering if you could speak to living. Together before marriage a little bit I, in this situation, where a lot of my friends and people I know who are in their mid-twenties Allen Seattle they. See and living together before marriage as, a good trial, period, to see what it's going to be like to be with this person, for. The rest of your life but then on the other side I have my parents and people, their age who say no, you, can't do that because living, together without a, bigger sense of commitment just makes it too easy to, kind, of run away at. The earliest sign of trouble so, I was wondering what your thoughts were on that that's yeah that's a great question and I think the research on that it's kind of all over the map so I'm just gonna talk kind of from my own. Got. Kind of about this I think that um you. Know, living together will, confront. You with. The. Problems, of living like someone said like just you know you'll have to work stuff out and that can actually help you figure out can we work stuff out right so that's on the plus side I think. That. On. The negative, side is, I, now, at my age looking, back because you know some. Of my friends are divorced some aren't it does seem to me that people kind of who backed into relationships. Who. Weren't really wild about this person who maybe felt persuaded by the other person oh let's live together we're not really marrying it's just a step toward, you know if in your heart you. Don't feel like I really. Want to be in this to. Live together to see if you might then be, more in love I think is a bad plan. Because once your lives are merged. And then we've bought furniture together and we have a dog it's so hard to ever really, see things clearly and say well I got into this in, a sort of half-hearted, way and now how am I kind of possibly get out so, I think it takes a real reckoning, with yourself, like I you. Know am. I loving this person like do I really want to be with this person they, may want to be with me more than I want to be with them I got to be truthful about that now because gonna be way harder to get out of it in five years so I think the parents, are thinking that way they're sort of I mean you, know whether you have a marriage contract level license, it's, like in my mind kind of who cares but if you're emotional, feeling, is, not that this is really like the one I think it's very akin, very costly and more. Costly to women just in terms of biological clock frankly, so I mean I would be more if I my daughter I would be more worried about moving in with someone that my son probably. Couples. Strive, for. Happiness. Or, contentment as. Individuals. I was. Kind of vague so I don't, know if there's really a distinction research semantics, what do you think well so wait when you say as individuals. Like. No. I'm I'm, happy I'm good then he's, happy she's content, we're good yeah, is. There if there's distinction there or is. There like you. Mean. Like if we wait, for content, with each other is that enough. Or. Like yeah content with our relationship, yeah, family or just, happy. I thought they really, well. Right so this is so fascinating, right because we live in this culture where there's so much written about being happy right and, there's sort of this standard, like you know are you happy, and then you feel like you're falling short if you just actually have a like calm happy you know Pleasant. Seeing life. You. Know again I'd almost say it's similar to my answer to the other person. In, terms of do. You feel something's, missing right. I mean in some subjective sense I mean I think some people are just much calmer much. Happier. In a domestic, or you know much more contented, in a domestic, arrangement, where they get along and they appreciate. That and they they. Feel. You. Know satisfied, with that and other people need, a lot of like excitement right and it's sort of knowing yourself seems, to be the important, thing in terms of you. Know what do I need in my life I have a friend his son just got married very young and basically. They both just love nesting, like that's who they are they like a home they like me home together they, like you know buying. Little robes and coaches, and that's who they are other people would be like oh I couldn't stand that I need to you know - mount everest or whatever i mean so it really kind of depends - one sort of how you're made and how, you're made together.
Hey. Hi. So. While. People are dating, like. Like to say, comments, on you know well their day and say oh they're totally pretty I like know that no guy like you should totally date somebody else but. Once, they are you sir don't. Have that kind of conversation maybe, because, you know we supposed are forever who else silence because, we didn't say anything then. Do. You think that is. Okay. Like is that beneficial. To, just now. That they marry just let them be or if, you do notice something that you know I'll be okay with them talking about that spells behind the back wait. So you think should, you say something, to the friend about. Her spouse or should the friend say something to you about response, yes, should we as friends have a conversation. Yeah. Right. So. This is really interesting so I. I'm. F of you that if you have a close friend and you, really have questions, about who they're with, that. You should talk to them about it, so. We're talking before, they get married right before they make that decision I believe that because. I think. Who. Else is necessarily, gonna say it and you. Know them and you may, see something they don't see and in fact I just read a book, that's. Sort of about people, have been married for a very long time and sort of what advice they give for younger people and one. Of the things they say is if your friends or family are expressing, doubts about your partner listen to them and the. Idea there is that you may have, you. Know because you're in love or whatever you have you don't have as clear picture as they do and so the people you trust you, should listen to it and I thought that was really good advice um but. I do think, I mean and I talk about this in my class with them you. Know these couples are having their first baby baby you know part of the issue when you make, a family and a little unit, of the couple. And the child is you, have to create a certain boundary around that you know you have to be have a filter for the in-laws and, everybody else weighing in right and I, do think, it's probably. Risky. To a marriage to feel like you have a closer channel, with your girlfriend's than your spouse. Just. In terms of that family stress Sharan building, something you know it can be a problem unto, itself if every. Time you're having a fight with your husband you're telling your best girlfriend about it like that doesn't create trust with, your husband, but.
I Think it's a really tricky thing to navigate, that shift right, I mean, basically it seems to me when your friend says we've, decided to get married I would, sort, of think it's time, to just stop weighing in but. I would be inclined also, not to then. Continue. To have the same kind of girlfriend relationship about, every complaint she has about it might be kind of like. III. Just, think that's a dividing, line in my mind. One. Of your earlier comments, around you know if there's that one thing we take away and it was basically like self-awareness. Was the thing that kind of sets. Relationships. Apart and, I guess my question is, what. Happens, when one, partner brings something up and the other person, doesn't. Acknowledge it as a problem, so I have two specific examples one I don't know if you've ever heard there's like a New York or Harper's. Article. On like emotional, labor about. How like. Not. To stereotype but like a lot of women take on a lot of like planning. For the family or like doing certain little things or, things, that you know cleaning up a little bit and then a lot of times their, spouses don't, consider, those important, so they don't consider it something they need to do mm-hmm I'm in another example I have you, know some friends, are having. Issues with their in-laws right, so like they have different opinions and they look to their husbands. For support, and they don't get it because the husbands don't see it as a problem so, I guess you know self-awareness, is there, but they have you know how you address, if they don't even see some, rank as an issue right no it's huge those are both really, really common. Things and really important. Things and not easy obviously. So. I think I want to try to answer it from two angles. These. Are deeply emotional, issues that. You. Know division, of labor and in-laws. Sometimes. When we don't see eye to eye on them we try to just manage our own feelings, maybe suppress, them not voice them, you. Know work around, whatever but we come to a point where we feel so challenged, by it that we. Might, express. It in a very strong. Maybe negative way at. Which point the. The partner, is, reacting. Purely to the negativity, and just, then, minimize, this basically I see the partner in that like just trying to survive emotionally. Sort of like tries, to shut you down because it's like oh that's not a problem that's not a problem which is basically like I don't want to feel all the awful feelings. That talking, about this is creating and then. That person shuts down and then the other person starts getting more reactive, and more upset so I just want to differentiate, the actual, problem which are real problems that need solutions from, the process, that gets going when, you can't find common. Ground or you just feel like you keep butting up against a law and what I'd like to suggest is, that especially in these very, emotionally, loaded issues, you. Feel. Unapologetic. For your stance in your emotions namely, in these cases like it, actually is an unfair division. Of emotional labor or. We're, a family unit now and we need to figure out a functional, way for us to stand up to the in-laws, but you know those are legitimate, issues.
That. A person, has every, right to demand, a solution to and to, keep, that in mind enough to say this is like. This. Is an issue that we need to have a as. Neutral. As possible, a, discussion on in other words it's not all about my reactivity. To you it's about this, isn't fair or, this. Isn't working and then. To go from that because really, what happens, often is when we're highly emotional, the other person shuts down because they're reacting to our emotion, so, I feel like you have to keep advocating, keep. Bringing it to the table not. Be, willing, to be shut down by oh this is just you being emotional. Or you. Have a special problem with my mother but, just keep being the the, rational, fair-minded. Person that you are at work to, solve, this problem and I think people don't always think of it that way because it seems so kind of denuded. Of the emotion, but I think that's actually I mean Gottman, again from Washington talks about new, track being as neutral, possible, in talking about highly emotional, issues is key and I, think what happens, sometimes in these situations, is people are trying to emotionally. Survive, so they start blaming the other person for how they feel and. Minimize right, and what's, so hard and challenging in that moment is, to say I'm. Gonna hold on I'm gonna hold on to my point of view I'm can continue. To assert it in a calm way and I'm not gonna give up on this until, we come to a workable, solution that. Takes fortitude it takes courage it takes energy it takes all sorts of stuff but that's the basic stance I think it's important and I also think I said this but I'm just gonna say it again I don't believe it's a tenable position in, a long-term marriage to say I don't wanna talk about it you have to learn how to talk about things and it's not okay for the person saying why do you always harping, on this you know I do plenty around here or whatever it is that's, not gonna, be, the end of that conversation I, just. You know you have to say no it's a problem for me one, thing I talk about in my classes were the parents of you know babies, to be is. You're. The grown-ups now there's, no parent, out there deciding, what's right and wrong and which sibling, is right you know when you're a kid it's like you started a know you started, oh I don't care who started it you go to your room you. Are not people. Can sometimes have these sort of sibling s kind of ideas about their some right or wrong on high that could be handed down all, the. Marriage is about is caring. About each other and caring, about each other's feelings, so if someone's minimizing, you feeling saying well I don't feel that way so it's not real that's. Not a stance, that you. It's. Gonna work for you in long-haul the stance is oh well, I don't see it that way I don't see my mother as a problem, but, you do so. Let's try to figure this out so that you're not suffering because, you're my wife and I care about you that's, that's, where you're trying to go here so. Thank, you so so much. You. You.