Why is Marriage So Hard? – Part One

Have you ever asked yourself, why is marriage so hard?

Implied in that question is that marriage shouldn’t be difficult…that love should be easy, effortless.

Clearly, that’s not true. But marriage certainly doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it.

Throughout the last couple months, I’ve been diving more deeply into why men and women struggle so much in their relationships. Our differences are at the core of answering the question, Why is marriage so hard for most of us?

Here’s one big difference*:

  • Women speak to connect.
  • Men listen for how to solve the problem.

Women mostly use communication as a point of connection, as means for understanding one another. We like the back and forth banter and sharing of ideas. It creates a sense of closeness and intimacy, connection and community.

Because men are the providers and problem solvers, they listen to understand the problem so that they can provide a solution. This discrepancy has been around forever and yet, we continue to struggle here.

WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY:

For men: Ask, “How do you want me to listen to this?” Be open to the idea that she is using this as a way to connect with you more deeply. Listen closely, share your perspectives, ask questions…

For women: If you want him to connect with you – rather than solve your problem – you need to tell him so. Be specific. Tell him what you need.

Our differences are the reason we struggle so much in our most intimate relationships. But once we understand and acknowledge those differences (rather than push against them), maybe we can understand one another a little better and even feel a little closer to one another.

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*Based upon the work by Alison Armstrong