Nearly everyone who is or has been married knows that marriage can be difficult. Now, one relationship psychologist and couples therapist explains why marriage is the most difficult of all relationships. He says that is because, unlike just about every other type of relationship that we have throughout our lives, it is not a hierarchical one.
In nearly all of our relationships, whether parent and child, teacher and student or manager and employee, one person has authority over the other. As humans, he asserts, we’re used to hierarchical relationships where we’re expected to do certain things, and if we don’t, there will be consequences.
Most 21st century marriages are not hierarchical. The psychologist is not suggesting that they should be. If they are, he says, various dysfunctional behavioral patterns emerge.
He says that over half of couple who come to him for counseling has one of two issues:
— They are “in a competition to be right” with “lots of finger-pointing and blaming” as both try to take control.
— They both hesitate to speak up about things that bother them. With these couples, he says, “Each person compromises their wishes, their desires, their identity — the things that make them themselves.”
One of these dynamics is based on conflict, while the other is based on avoiding conflict. So what is the solution? The psychologist says that it’s best when couples acknowledge that their relationship in non-hierarchical and can recognize their individuality.
Of course, this doesn’t always work out. Sometimes, divorce is the only way for both people to be happy. However, it’s important to realize that marriage can be very difficult, and that choosing to end it may be the best solution for both of you.
Source: Tech Insider, “A couples psychologist told us why marriage is the hardest type of relationship,” Drake Baer, Dec. 02, 2015