The Business of Love
If you want to be successful at both, be careful whom you marry
(page 5 of 5)
Social mediums such as MySpace, Facebook, and e-Harmony have completely changed the way we meet people but has also introduced new challenges.
“All these things, including text messaging, have totally changed the dynamics of dating,” says Joe Spillman, chair of counselor education and supervision at Argosy University. “Texting is like the new-age foreplay! Guys don’t even have to ask a girl out on a date in person anymore and risk getting rejected face-to-face,” he says.
But new tools have also brought new problems. First, don’t believe everything that’s online, says Susan Ray, a licensed marriage, family and couples therapist. People can be anyone they want in cyberspace and it could be completely different from reality. Technology, including online chats and pornography, can also lead to major trust issues and infidelity, Ray adds. “My advice would be to be respectful of your partner at all times and if you feel like something is getting out of hand, disconnect yourself from that world because it’s not worth losing your marriage over.”
Keeping the Marriage Fresh
No big surprise, our experts say open communication is the key to keeping your relationship happy and healthy. That means share your needs and wants with your partner on a regular basis and don’t assume they know what you’re thinking and feeling.
“Show appreciation for what your partner does, and don’t always point out what they don’t do or aren’t doing right,” Ray says. A lot of times that leads to a vicious cycle that eventually leads to resentment and causes the person to stop trying.
Ray recommends that couples schedule weekly meetings even if they’re only for 20 minutes to reconnect. “It’s hard to set aside time when things are hectic and the kids need your attention, but you have to schedule this time together as you would an appointment for work,” she says. And, just as you have regular job performance reviews, couples should reevaluate themselves, their goals, expectations and the relationship from time to time. “Life brings frequent changes so you need to make sure you and your partner are still on the same page,” Ray says.
Many times, children take precedence over the marriage but Spillman says individuals need to take care of themselves first before they can help anybody else. “It’s like when you go on the airplane and you’re told to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others in an emergency. It’s the same thing. If the individual is not happy, the marriage and the kids will suffer.”
Spillman says oftentimes couples think they need to make big changes to make the marriage better when it’s quite the opposite: “A lot of times, it’s not about doing; the real action or remedy is in the listening.”
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