What are Indian couples arguing about
Couple counselor - "It would be good if partners would fight longer for each other"
After his book “Partnership is simple” from 2014, Matthias Stiehler now writes in his new book “Partnership goes differently” about the experiences that he and his wife Sabine have had over many years of mutual counseling. What happens when couples are dissatisfied or have become estranged? When can couple counseling help? When is a breakup inevitable? With many examples, the author vividly describes the conflict situations in which couples often slide, how dreams burst in everyday life and what counseling can achieve.
In Saxony and Thuringia, more than every third marriage was divorced in 2017. You, too, write in your new book that more and more marriages are stuck in dead ends. In connection with your book “Partnership is Easy” from 2014, you mentioned that 98 percent of marriages could be saved. How does this change come?
From the outside, we usually get the impression that the two go well together. But sometimes so much has happened in the marriage, a lot of unresolved issues and injuries have accumulated, I call those pebbles, that the pile has just become too big. The willingness to part is then sometimes greater than the willingness to remove the pebble.
Right at the beginning of the book, thank your wife Sabine for the joint work in couple counseling since 2001 and for thirty years of life together. What is it like when a married couple advises other couples in a crisis? Do you solve your own problems right away or do you add new ones?
There are no new problems. As a couple, however, we can only provide good counseling for couples if we ourselves repeatedly carry out the clarification process. With us, not everything is peace, joy, pancakes. The problems of others are not alien to us. The good togetherness has not fallen into our laps. But we know: problems shouldn't be postponed, they should be resolved.
We ourselves are challenged as a couple
Does that mean you don't pile up that many pebbles even as a couple?
Exactly. As a couple, we ourselves are challenged to resolutely resolve our own disputes. After all, we cannot ask the other couples to work on their partnership, but we can say ourselves: We'd rather sit it out.
Do the others pay close attention to both of you, how do you act as a couple? Isn't that what you're standing on the platter?
Yes that's true. How we react to the problems is observed very closely. And we don't always agree. This is normal in a partnership. To deal with one another and still love one another, that's the good thing.
You write that a happy relationship has to be worked out and re-established over and over again. So it's not enough to find your dream partner and hope that happiness will last forever?
This is the terrible nonsense that is fueled in Hollywood films. After the happy ending in front of the altar, it fades out. This is when the work on the partnership really begins. This can and must also go hand in hand with arguments and arguments. It also shows that I care about the other person. In the end, however, the decisive factor is whether I am ready to look at the positive sides of togetherness or whether I mainly focus on what I can get upset about every day. So partnership means above all working on myself, on my point of view, on my attitude towards the other.
Shaking your head, which some couples argue about
So you advise couples not to stir up every petty argument - he wants to watch football and she wants to watch a romance movie?
Yes, exactly, in that case two TVs would be a solution. But even then it happens that he watches football, is happy and then wants to sleep with her. But she refuses because he didn't watch the love story with her. Then the man is offended and says: She doesn't love me.
What is your advice in such cases?
To serenity. Not to put everything on the gold scales, to reflect on the fundamentals, whether the woman or the man is good for you, whether the partnership touches you in the soul. Seen from the outside, all you can do is shake your head, which some couples argue about.
"He always leaves his socks lying around"
"He always leaves his socks lying around." "She always forgets to turn off the light." That is endless, because everyone has quirks that the other can get upset about.
They warn against accumulating more and more pebbles in a partnership that make it difficult to get along with each other. How can that be prevented?
It is important to talk about it and then leave these topics aside again. We see that, years later, couples still accuse each other of arguments that have never been resolved. This is often done by the women, the man can usually no longer remember that he should have insulted her or her mother sometime many years ago. Men tend to suffer in silence, they gobble it up, don't get into an argument.
Say five positive things to your partner before criticizing them
Is one of the main reasons for creeping alienation that the couples don't talk openly with each other about their problems?
Yes, too little is said about one's own feelings. But there is another process that leads to alienation and that is to take everything for granted. For example, the other person making breakfast for you, washing the laundry, cleaning the car and so on. You can no longer see what you have in the other, but only complain about little things. Hence my advice to meet again and again in mutual friendship, to be happy that the other is there. You should first tell the other five things that you think are great about them, that you love about them, before you criticize them. When we address this in couples counseling, the couples often say that they can't get five good things together in the other.
Eternal love is an illusion
Isn't that sad?
Yes. But I think things already exist, but they have become a matter of course. At the beginning he thinks it's sensational that she sets the breakfast table and praises her profusely. Then it is everyday life and is no longer mentioned. It is these everyday occurrences that are no longer perceived as maintaining togetherness. The partnership is the most intense relationship that one lives. That should always be appreciated. Certainly there are also hopes that can never be fulfilled one hundred percent. But you have to accept that. That too is part of a good togetherness. The partnership, in which the initial love lasts forever, is an illusion.
Conflicts show up early in sex
When should a couple come for advice?
Best before the crisis starts or at the first signs of dissatisfaction. The sooner the couple seeks help, the better the chances of turning things around. Incidentally, sexuality is often something like a burning glass. Not all problems have to do with sexuality, but this is where the conflicts often show up particularly early. A couple recently came to us and reported: “Sex almost doesn't happen anymore. It just fell asleep like that. We've been together for four years. ”You were in your mid-thirties, didn't think it was good, but accepted it anyway. Then they came because they couldn't stand other problems any longer.
Isn't attending a couple counseling session a defeat, especially for men?
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