How to Perfect a Marriage?

    Marriage is a form of two individuals’ living together. The relation and dynamics of living together are constantly changing; so is a
    marriage.  However, the essential fundamentals for any relationship such as marriage have remained the same and will never change.

    Traditionally, a marriage is intended to last forever. However, over time, the spiritual bond of marriage has gradually become loose so
    that separation and divorce may take place easier than ever. In the United States of America, it's estimated that more than 50% of
    marriages end up in divorce, although every couple took their vows seriously during the wedding ceremony by saying, “I do. I do…”
    several times before God, family, and friends.

    As we know, before a marriage, a huge amount of time, energy, and money from the bridal couple and their family and friends was
    consumed and spent for celebrating the upcoming marriage.

    In my profession, I have had opportunities interviewing many divorced patients and couples and have discovered why a high
    percentage of marriages ended in divorce. Partly out of curiosity, I ask the divorced individuals why their marriage ended up in divorce.
    The answer to this inquiry has always been the same — “We are different” or “We just could not get along well any more.”

    Then I always asked them how frequently they felt they were not able to get along well with their own selves. These divorced  
    individuals would reluctantly grin, smile, and admit that they indeed had been frequently unhappy with themselves because they might
    regret with what they did in daily living. Then I reminded them that if they frequently were unable to get along well with themselves, how
    could they expect to do so with the addition of their spouses in life? They usually ended up with a pause of silence and a sense of
    regret and embarrassment.

    Undeniably, the stability of marriage has been known to be a strong contributing factor in stabilizing the life of individuals and society.
    Increasingly, though, the number of divorces means the silent disappearance of this traditionally stabilizing force for people, their
    families, society, the nation, and the world. So, how can we slow down and even stop the trend of increasing the number of divorces?

    To address the above issue, it is useful to realize that, in life, perfection would and will never be, but perfecting should be. Recognition
    of this fact of life will rectify the general attitude towards a realistic life. I always brought up the following four questions for discussion
    and counseling for the divorced individuals, which will normally improve their life. For those individuals with marital discord, a proper
    understanding of these four questions and their potential answers has been very helpful to recapture and secure the future of their
    marriage. They are:

    1. What is a life for?
    2. Why do people want to get together?
    3. Why do two parties in dispute frequently never come to an end?
    4. What does ‘love’ mean to you?

    What is life for?
    As previously discussed in Section 1.4, life is merely a process of self-service, although traditionally, no one would like to admit it and
    be labeled as self-serving.

    Oftentimes, self-serving is even considered to be an insult to a person's integrity and character. Furthermore, some of my patients
    even raised their objection to the statement — life is merely a process of self-service --- by saying, “What I'm doing is for my family and
    children” or “I'm doing this for God” or “I'm doing this for people.”

    Usually, I would respond to their objections and ask them, “Personally, I admire and greatly respect you for what you feel in life.
    However, hopefully, you won't feel offended. Please allow me to ask you a question if you don't mind.”

    My patients always nodded their head and say, “I don't mind.”

    I would quickly state, “If you didn’t do it, how would you feel then?” They would slowly answer with a surprising smile and said, “I
    wouldn’t feel good” or “I felt guilty.”

    And I usually said to them, “That’s it. It is because what you did would made you feel better. Is that right?” They always quickly admit
    that was why they did something then.

    Why do people get together?
    Most of my patients would said, “I don’t know. I guess that we just love each other or we do it for companionship …”

    I would politely agree to what they answer by saying, “In part, I agree with what you just said. But in reality, the reason people get
    together is simply because they want to accomplish a higher level of self-service, which they could not have or accomplish it if they
    lived alone.”

    Commonly, they would take a deep breath and roll their eyes and said, “You are right.” “I guess so.” or “I agree.” Interestingly, many
    would sigh and say, “We had been taught that we were doing this for other people.”

    To avoid too much repetition, please refer to Section 1.4 for more details.

    After these two questions were reasonably addressed, I challenge them with,
    Why very often do two parties in disputes have a hard time reaching a peaceful ending, especially between spouses?”

    The most common answer has been, “We are just different.”

    As discussed in Section 2.7 and is commonly known, no two persons are alike. Through my observation, the reason for keeping a
    dispute going is chiefly for self-defense and self-protection of one’s ego, usually not for something that was seriously enough and can
    not be solved. The details about the ego were described clearly in Section 1.1. Simply put, the ego is a mental fortress or an invisible
    house of a person which he/she has been building over a lifetime to defend his-/herself. Inside this invisible house are usually lots of
    personal secrets, which the owner does not feel comfortable to share with others lightly.

    Then, what does love mean to a person?
    Commonly speaking, love is sacrifice. Almost everybody is able to say it. Does s/he really mean it? Did s/he sacrifice something well
    beyond what money can buy? To cool down a dispute, at least one of the involved parties has to gracefully keep mouth shut and quiet.
    However, for someone with a high and big load of ego, it is not easy to take it down timely. If you really love someone, you should be
    able to graciously keep yourself quiet and cool off. Sacrificing ego is not what money can buy; the value and power of shutting mouth
    and keeping quiet are ever-lasting and the most precious gifts that anyone can present to somebody. At the end, everything will work
    out in your favor. This fact further confirms that everything you did is, at the beginning and at the end, all for yourself.

    How effective can a clear understanding about these four questions help you manage your marriage or get together with someone
    else?

    After revealing the common situations affecting a couple above, let me bring you two real stories about my patients to illustrate the
    importance and effectiveness of understanding the essence of these four fundamental questions.

    Case 1
    In one of my clinical sessions in July 2004, I saw a 36-year-old man, chiefly for a self-discovered small lesion on his penis. During
    history taking, it was noted that he has been single for 4 years after two prior divorces. Then I kidded with him by saying, “What is the
    matter with you? At the age of 36, you have been divorced twice.” I stopped briefly and continued, “I know why you were divorced two
    times.”

    He asked me with some doubt and defiance, “How do you know the reason for my divorces? I haven’t told you yet.” I quickly
    responded and explained why I thought his marriages ended. Soon, he stated, “You are correct about why I got divorced.”

    Afterwards, I spent about 45 minutes with him sharing information about life as detailed in Chapter 2.

    One week later, when he returned for the care of that small penile lesion, he confessed that he had been seeing a great difference in
    his life at work and at home.

    Another month passed by. He came back to office for a follow-up. He said with surprise, “Dr. Lin! Now, I very rarely get upset like I did
    before. I am much happier in my life now.”

    I asked him why. He responded, “The more I think over what you explained to me about realistic life, the more I feel it is true that
    everything I do eventually is for me, myself. If it is all for myself, why should I have to get upset? I am happy.”

    Case 2
    A 50-year-old, married (third) gentleman visited my office for erectile dysfunction and marital discord. History taking verified the
    existence of marital discord due to different opinions in taking care of his two adopted daughters from the wife’s prior marriage. And the
    current wife is in her second marriage.

    After learning about the personal background, extensive counseling for life in general and marital and sexual relationships in specific
    were provided. One month later, the man confessed that his relationship with his wife had tremendously changed for the better. They
    enjoyed gardening together and living together. Furthermore, they deeply enjoyed their sexual relationship.

    In essence, there is no magic to enhance the quality of life in general and one’s sex life. All one has to do is to fulfill the fundamental
    needs of individuals by clearly understanding the path, capital, tools, goals, and direction of life, as well as the origin of needs and
    apply them timely and correctly in your favor. Then you will be in the driver’s seat of your life and you can move along at will.

    - for more pages & sites for marriage, click here

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