"When we don't keep a promise to someone, it communicates to that person that we don't value him or her. We have chosen to put something else ahead of our commitment. Even when we break small promises, others learn that they cannot count on us. Tiny fissures develop in our relationships marked by broken promises."
An example of not keeping promises and breaking down trust in a relationship is the stormy and sad marriage of Sofya and Leo Tolstoy. Reading their diaries was difficult for me. They both promised to be there for one another, and they both yearned to be understood, yet through their many years together they couldn't or wouldn't give that gift to one another.
Leo Tolstoy: "Nobody will ever understand me."
Sofya Tolstoy: "He has never taken the trouble to understand me, and does not know me in the least."Source: Source: William L. Shirer. Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage of Leo & Sonja Tolstoy. 1994. backcover.
Poll: Do you keep your word? Vote!
Although my dad died many years after his service in the U.S. Navy, he is always in my thoughts on Memorial Day. Part of my family history is how my mom's engagement ring was sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and to talk about those memories. It can also be a day to discuss the hard topics of death and dying. If you are one of the married couples who has put off discussing your thoughts and feelings about these sensitive topics, make some time this Memorial Day weekend to at least begin this conversation with each other.
Memorial Day Thoughts and Activities
Quoting Making Marriage Last published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Browning wrote "Not all marriages fail for the same reason, and there's usually not one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage ... However, failed expectations or unmet needs, communication problems and lifestyle changes may contribute to divorce among long-term marriages."
We paraphrased the AAML's tips we like best and added links to our content:
- Consider your spouse to be your friend.
- Keep your sense of humor.
- Make having fun with your spouse a priority.
- Think twice before you demean your spouse anywhere.
- Remember the importance of listening.
- Fight fair.
- When you make a mistake, admit it.
- If your spouse deserves an apology, be sincere when you apologize and follow through on what you say you will do or won't do.
- Be willing to forgive.
- Accept that you can't change your spouse.
Browning's article on long-term marriage also mentioned the happiest couples have their own space, interests, and friends, but do not let their individual careers or activities become more important than their marriage. Her article reminded us of a book we reviewed a few years ago, Divorce lawyer's Guide to Staying Married. Both are worth reading.
At least once each day, compliment your spouse. Complimenting your spouse will increase his/her self-confidence. It's good for your own sense of self-worth too.
Poll: When was the last time you gave your spouse a compliment? Vote!
The most important thing you can do for this friend is to be there and to express your love and concern. Dr. Tammy Nelson gives additional advice about what never to say and gives suggestions of things you should say and do when a friend has been cheated on.
Dr. Nelson also mentions that the worst thing you can tell someone is to leave. She also knocks down the myth that "once a cheater always a cheater" because that statement is not always true.
Jay Kent-Ferraro, Ph.D.: "The problem is it's too simple and fails to appreciate the complexity of why people cheat in the first place, let alone predicting whether or not they are capable of betraying you again - an important question to ask if you are a victim of infidelity ... [It] is really a defense mechanism and it too has a purpose: To protect you from getting hurt by never trusting anyone again. Don't do that! Instead, get smart by understanding what drives someone to betray and determining the "purpose" of the affair."
Source: Jay Kent-Ferraro. "Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater... Maybe Not." HuffingtonPost.com. 1/02/2012.
Read the Full Article:
Never Say This To A Friend Who's Been Cheated On
In the other article, "Accountability: His and Hers," quoting investment firm owner Candace Bahr, Palmer writes "She recommends keeping assets, retirement accounts, and credit in one's own name." Connected to the article is a video that interviews a couple who has separate accounts and a successful marriage.
So what should couples do? My recommendation: Do what works best for your marriage and at least once each year, you should discuss your finances in depth with your spouse -- including whether or not joint or separate accounts are working for the two of you.
You don't have to travel all around the world to make a vacation memorable. Planning a vacation in your own locale and back yard can create great memories.
Read the Full Article:
Back Yard Vacations
How often do you and your spouse date one another? Vote!
Photo: Ted Stritof
So did we ever have fun? Sure! We found things we both considered fun and made doing those things together a priority.
How do you have fun, recharge, or unplug as a couple? Please share your tips.
- Your ages
- Sexual compatibility
- Mutual responsibility
What made you decide to get married? Please share your story.
Photo: Muratsen / iStockphoto