Text: Liang Yuqi (Applied Associate Professor of Social Work, Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
(Hong Kong News) People always enter into marriage with longing for happiness, but many couples find it difficult to find happiness in their marriage relationship, and quite a few couples end up in the end of their relationship.
Avoid talking about common processing methods
Marriage brings two people or even two families very close. In daily contact, there will always be disagreements, habits, and expectations that lead to discord.
Marriage is the practice of two people growing up in differences, loving themselves and others. When entering a marriage, both parties should be prepared to deal with conflicts. However, many men and women do not do enough homework before marriage, or think that they do not need to deliberately learn how to deal with relationship conflicts. Therefore, when faced with conflicts and differences after marriage, they tend to adopt unhealthy coping methods, leading to alienation or termination of the relationship.
When encountering conflicts and conflicts, common adverse coping styles are avoidance and emotional manipulation.
Avoiding talking and turning a blind eye is a common way for many couples to deal with marital disharmony. In the counseling experience, some visitors said: “I don’t want to, dare not talk about these issues with my partner. When everyone quarrels, it’s like a bomb explodes. I’m afraid.”
Avoid quarrels, avoid conflicts, let family life sink into a seemingly calm deep sea, without huge waves, without terrifying volcanic eruptions, but it does not cover up the elephant in the room. Discord, suspicion and complaints, grievances and sadness between husband and wife are avoided and ignored, and become a chronic poison. Although the poison does not kill immediately, it makes the marriage go to cancer in pain.
Learn to deal with behavioral problems
1. Feel bored
Avoiding contradictions and conflicts in the relationship will close the hearts of both parties and reduce real spiritual communication. There are only superficial greetings on weekdays, without sharing of deep thoughts, and the communication between husband and wife becomes superficial and boring.
2. The quality of sex life is not high
The husband and wife avoid talking about their true feelings, and also keep a distance in their sex life. Although they are physically connected, they are far away. Not expressing your discomfort and true desires because you are worried about the other person’s unhappiness, or unable to express your feelings because you are afraid of the other person’s power.
The avoidant coping mode makes the sex life less quality and thus becomes another avoidable issue.
3. Children have behavioral problems
Start to treat the unpleasant problems in the intimate relationship with the mentality of “laying flat” and “don’t want to deal with it”. Completely give up dealing with it, and put an end to the occurrence of quarrels. But there may be other problems in the family. For example, many visiting couples start to learn to deal with conflicts because their children have behavior problems and mental health disorders in such a family relationship.
Being noisy does not mean handling conflicts well
Unlike avoidance, emotional manipulation is not shy about creating conflicts, nor is it shy about making a scene. However, it doesn’t mean that there is “movement” and noise, or it means that conflicts are “handled” well. It may be just a kind of emotional manipulation, and there is no real examination of important issues in the relationship.
For example, a husband who is unhappy in sex but does not express his feelings will often attack his wife over trivial matters.
If the wife is a few minutes late, he might blame it for half an hour. By avoiding the big issues, the emotions turn to smaller things that won’t break the relationship.
For another example, some couples lose their temper when they encounter disagreements, or one party slams the door and runs away from home, thus forcing the other party to accept their own arrangements, but the real reasons for the disagreement between the two parties have never been listened to or explored.
This way of handling is often influenced by the original family. Parents are also accustomed to using this method to solve problems and seek temporary peace.
But it is also a chronic poison to the marriage relationship, which can destroy the intimacy of the two people, and the one who is emotionally manipulated will feel irritable and even resentful.
Seek guidance from a “coach”
To enrich the marriage relationship
When your partner says, “You are more and more like your grandma/abba”; or your parents say, “You are more and more like me before”, you need to pay attention to whether you are using your parents’ old methods to deal with your new problems?
Counselors and social workers who help enrich intimate relationships often ask: “How do you handle conflict? How do your parents handle conflict? How does your partner handle conflict? How does your partner’s parents handle conflict?”
These questions will help couples slowly dismantle those dreaded “bombs” in the relationship. Marriage is a practice, like the long-distance challenge of climbing the Himalayas.
Mountaineering will be assisted by coaches to help climbers deal with snowstorms or falling boulders on the way. Men and women who are about to enter marriage can also seek the guidance of “coach” to provide marital relationship and intimate relationship enhancement.
Case: Fear of Sexual Assault in Childhood
Awen is a young woman who has just started her married life. The two who were very close before marriage have become strangers recently. When the husband returned home, he mostly dealt with work or played on the computer, and the communication between the two gradually decreased. Ah Wen felt the pressure that the marriage might “fall apart”, so he sought help from a social worker.
avoid talking about drifting away
During the discussion with the social worker, Arwen mentioned that she had very little sex with her husband, and the two had never talked about it. She didn’t know how to talk about it, and she was afraid that it would cause quarrels and suspicions. When Ah Wen’s husband also came to the counseling room, the two discovered that they both had concerns about asexual life.
Ah Wen’s husband stopped inviting her because he felt his wife’s displeasure; Ah Wen thought that her husband had lost interest in him.
Both of them avoided talking about this topic because of the other’s “face”, but gradually drifted away in the avoidance.
childhood sexual abuse
With the help of social workers, Awen revealed his experience of being sexually abused in childhood, and thus feared penetrative sex. When both partners start talking about the problems in their relationship, they also start to deal with the dissonance in this life and find a sexual style that works for them.