So, I flipped through an old magazine in the doctor’s waiting room and came across an interview of Dr. Phil and his wife Robin. I can’t remember the title, but it referred to the couple dishing out Five Secrets to save your marriage. I didn’t write down the title, but I did write down their categories: Unrealistic Expectations, Money Miseries, Meddling Family Members, Kid’s Who Won’t Listen, and Career Concerns. So I guess these were the big marriage-breaking problems and they had the answers.
And they did have some solid common sense advice. It was all good. But. They left something out. I try to scan a lot of articles like this – as research for this blog (and for my marriage, why not?). I’ve found that most of the guidance-givers leave it out. In fact, I can’t remember reading even one article mentioning this when presenting a list of marriage how-to’s or divorce busting suggestions.
Before I get into that, however, I want to mention a few things about the above Dr.-and-wife categories. Unrealistic Expectations. That’s a really good one. It gets us into all sorts of trouble. I feel I can’t help but have them: it must be human nature. And not just in my marriage – in a lot of different areas of my life. The problem for the spouse is that we feel we can actually blame them and take it out on them when expectations aren’t met. We don’t do that with our sisters, or our boss, or friends. Anyway, Dr.-and-wife didn’t address that aspect.
The other four categories could all fit under Unrealistic Expectations and/or Marriage Stressors (and how to handle them). They are all just different aspects of the same thing: how do you handle problems/issues/disagreements/trauma/anger in a healthy way? They had some great guidance through some of these minefields.
Counting Aside: This means, in my mind, they had only two categories. But I’m not counting. And they didn’t ask me. Neither did you, actually. And 2 categories are good. Just maybe false advertising or something…..
Back to my point here. What they left out of the article. This one thing I’d put on the top of the list (every day) of marriage secrets and it would trump it all. Because when you do it, even when you don’t want to or even if it’s really hard to, your marriage will thrive and get through unrealistic expectations and all those many and varied stressors that the Dr.-and-wife mentioned.
It simply is kindness.
Number-one-all-time-will-do-wonders-you’ll-be-amazed-its-so-basic-marriage-advice-secret-tip: Be kind to each other.
This concludes another view from my married life.