>> Friday, November 13, 2009
"The problems of individuals and families are influenced by, and influence, their contexts. Problems are resolved by altering the relationships surrounding and involved with them, often by utilizing the untapped strengths and resources of those relationships."-Adapted from Fraenkel, P. (1997). Systems approaches to couple therapy. In K. Halford and H. Markman (Eds.), Clinical handbook of marriage and couple interventions (pp. 379-413). Chicester, England: John Wiley & Sons.
In a marriage you often hear "my spouse has changed or this is not the person I married". This is a profound idea for me, that crystallized during lecture, as I sat in Dr. Fraenkel's course on Family and Couple's counseling. In some cases, after marriage, people do "let their hair down" so that the other spouse can see the real them. This is more of a complement that they feel they are comfortable enough for their spouse to see the real them. But after that threshold, people grow.
With each problem, tension is created, decisions are prompted, solutions are made and the relationship is altered. "This is not the person I married" usually comes about a couple of years after being married. That's because they are not the same person. They have changed and what's more you have changed also. Marriage really is a cycle. Not only is the marriage continually being renewed. You are both developmentally changing as well. You really do become one and there is always the struggle, which involves a striving to be harmonious. The beauty is that your different, adding to the quality of marriage; different ways to attack a situation, another take on how to handle a issue, input from your partner to help you make the best decisions. This takes great strength to consider your partners advice. You do not have to implement it but there's growth in the ability to absorb information from those close to you.
"My spouse has changed is a good thing." It throws us off, and that can be very frustrating to us. The first 5 to 7 years can be difficult but if you can get past the markers it gets much better. You'll have practice at working together as partners. You both grow wiser as well. I'll continue with the second parts on strengths in my next entry. Comments? Questions?