Request an apology when you believe you deserve one, but don't get in a tug of war about it. Instead, be a role model and tender a genuine apology yourself when an apology is due. Your willingness to apologize can be contagious and models maturity for your partner. Also, your non-apologizing partner may use a nonverbal way to reconnect after a fight, defuse the tension, or show you he's in a new place and wants to repair a disconnection. Accept the olive branch however it's offered.
I'm a good example of wanting to apologize only for my precise share of a problem--as I calculate it, of course--and I expect my husband Steve to apologize for his share, also as I calculate it. Since we're not always of one mind on the math, it can lead to the theater of the absurd.
My debt to feminism is simply incalculable. Feminism allowed me to see past a 'reality' that I had once taken as a given. It helped me to pay attention to countless voices, my own included, that I had been taught 'don't count.' Feminism allows me to maintain hope.
It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run but, it will never make you less afraid.
Relationships are most likely to fail when we don't address problems or hold our partner accountable for unfair or irresponsible behavior ... the ability to clarify our values, beliefs, and life goals--and then to keep our behavior congruent with them--is at the heart of a solid marriage.
Marriage is the lightning rod that absorbs anxiety and stress from all other sources, past and present. When marriage has a firm foundation of solid friendship and mutual respect, it can tolerate a fair amount of raw emotion. A good fight can clear the air, and it's nice to know we can survive conflict and even learn from it. Many couples, however, get trapped in endless rounds of fighting and blaming that they don't know how to get out of. When fights go unchecked and unrepaired, they can eventually erode love and respect, which are the bedrock of any successful... Read more »
If you exchanged wedding vows, tape them to your bathroom mirror and read them aloud to yourself every morning along with the ritual brushing of teeth. It's not realistic to believe that you will live your promises as a daily practice -- unless you're a saint or a highly evolved Zen Buddhist. Not where marriage is concerned. But you can make a practice of returning to your vows when the going gets rough.
We're vulnerable to repeating history, especially if we don't know what's driving us. For example, it may be a family tradition to marry someone with addiction problems, or who is an injured bird in need of caretaking. Or, you may be drawn to guys who remind you of your distant, unavailable father -- or your ill-tempered mother -- with the unconscious belief that you can take an old story, and through the power of your love, give it a new, happy ending.
While women once acquired relationship skills to "hook," "snare," or "catch" a husband who would provide access to economic security and social status, the position of contemporary women has not changed that radically. Much of our success still depends on our attunement to "male culture," our ability to please men, and our readiness to conform to the masculine values of our institutions.
Throughout evolutionary history, anxiety and fear have helped every species to be wary and to survive. Fear can signal us to act, or, alternatively, to resist the impulse to act. It can help us to make wise, self-protective choices in and out of relationships where we might otherwise sail mindlessly along, ignoring signs of trouble.