I wish I could tell you that all marriages are salvageable or all relationships are meant to be, but I would be lying if I did. It is a fact, however, that all couples can work through their problems and often overcome their relationship difficulties. This is only true when they really commit to working on their issues. As much as their attempt to fix their respective problems requires a good-faith effort, their prospects for success in rescuing their relationships also depends on each party’s aptitude and attitude when engaged in the process. By aptitude I mean the minimum amount of maturity required from each party involved, and attitude merely means that each party be fully committed to seeking a solution.
Unfortunately, I get more lip service on these two issues from couples who seek my professional advice than anyone would expect. Most couples who consult with me want me to fix their problems for them while they sit in my office and limit their participation to mere chitchat. As much as I want to help them, I can only offer solutions, and the solutions I offer, as candid as they are exacting, require that the couples be committed to doing the necessary work. Although some couples have the right attitude in wanting to fix their problems, they lack the aptitude, while others have the aptitude but only pretend to care when they have absolutely no interest in succeeding.
I recognize that relationship solutions are not easy to implement but they are made to be more difficult than they really are by people who do not understand the concepts on which these solutions are based. To understand the secret of a healthy relationship, we all should first try to grasp the two major concepts around which the latter is built: maturity and honesty.
I will dedicate the next two articles to defining for you what I mean by maturity and honesty, as they are fundamental to building healthy and successful relationships. To begin with, let me say that maturity is what each of us has to have before we can seriously participate in a relationship. It is not a quality to aspire to while wallowing in a chaotic relationship but, rather, one to acquire before the commitment. Maturity is the tool and relationship the craft. Let’s not try to look for the tool after we have declared the craft as complete.
As to honesty, it really comes down to whether we really want to hold on to the status quo while trying to find some temporal means to patching the leaky boat we call our relationship, or do we commit to building a sturdy, long-lasting ship because we have clearly stated what we want and know what we are capable of in building a healthy relationship.
Without these two concepts, relationships cannot succeed. And if they are allowed to continue, they do so while diminishing in quality as they render each of us more and more resentful of our partners and in the end, ourselves.
Dr. Tseday Aberra, Clinical Psychologist
Fix A Relationship