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Problems Which Can Kill Marital Love

Problems Which Can Kill Marital Love

By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.

Marital satisfaction doesn't have to decline with time, as research shows it usually does, according to Mira Kirshenbaum, author of the book, "Our Love Is Too Good to Feel So Bad" (Avon, 1998). What spouses need to do is avoid or ameliorate the ten love killers which diminish love in a marriage.

The first five love killers, which I discussed in my last article, affect the foundation of the marriage. They are failing to show as much love to your spouse as you did when you courted her, being too critical, ignoring the problems which occur in all marriages, letting everyday problems or major catastrophes overwhelm your relationship and failing to meet your spouse's needs for love and support.

The next five love killers, which I'll discuss in this article, deal with specific problems that can affect a marriage in negative ways.

Sexual depression. Sex in a marriage is like health. If you're having satisfactory sex, it's not that important in the marital scheme of things, just as you take good health for granted. But let there be a health crisis or serious sexual problems, and they suddenly become important.

Marriage is designed to meet all our sexual needs and is the most pleasurable thing we can do for each other. Good sex is part of the bond which keeps two people together. Infrequent sex can be a sign the marriage is in trouble.

Difference sickness. Some people believe that if they're too different, or don't have much in common, they have a poor marriage. Research shows this is not necessarily the case.

People are not exactly alike and have different needs, hobbies and interests but that doesn't mean they can't work out a good marriage by respecting each other's differences. So it is not differences in marriage which can cause problems but spouses' beliefs they can create difficulties.

Toxic buildup from the past. There are times when spouses are going to do or say things, or not do or say things, which hurt each other. Usually the one who has been hurt will long remember the pain after the one who inflicted the pain has forgotten it.

But if the hurt spouse doesn't eventually forgive and let go of the past, his hurt and anger will slowly poison the marriage. These hurts may need to be discussed, even if they are years old, and then dropped except, of course, if they are still occurring.

Problem people. Sometimes one spouse can have a serious psychiatric problem which can detract from marital satisfaction - a deep depression, a manic-depressive illness, or what is now called a bipolar disorder, alcoholism, or crippling anxiety. Obviously, these conditions must be treated if the marriage is to be improved.
The low expectation trap. This occurs when spouses become discouraged about their marriage and so have less energy to put into improving it. They distance themselves from each other to protect themselves from further hurt. Since they expect less from the marriage, they invest less in it, so get less, which confirms their original low expectations.

Kirshenbaum advises couples to renew the three promises to each other they should have first made to restore hope and energy to the marriage: to be honest with each other, to respect each other and to be passionate with each other.

In effect, don't give up. Keep trying. In many cases, saving a marriage is easier than going through the pain of a divorce for you and your kids.


About the Author: J. Bailey Molineux, a psychologist with Adult and Child Counseling, has incorporated many of his articles in a book, Loving Isn't Easy, Isbn 1587410419, sold through bookstores everywhere or available directly from Selfhelpbooks.com. Copyright 2002, J. Bailey Molineux and Selfhelpbooks.com, all rights reserved. This article may be reprinted but must include authors copyright and website hyperlinks.

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