In marriage, two people must learn how to live together and work as a team. The parties are invested in the successful outcome and can learn how to make that bond strong. Marriage takes work though. Work on the self for each person. That way, each person can treat the other with respect and love. As I approached marriage, I began to learn about some things that make a it successful. I want to share those points that stood out to me as vitally important to marriage, and how denial can impact it.
When two people get married, they must learn how to not only respect the boundaries of another person, but live with the impact of that and accept the impact his or her life has on themselves. Inevitably, things get messy. Many couples, like myself and my now spouse, participate in counseling before marriage to learn how they can be the best for his or her spouse. That helps because looking at oneself before jumping into marriage is important. That evaluation, and subsequent healing of the self, prevents the denial that can be so lethal to marriage. This is how denial works in a typical scenario within marriage.
1. One person gets his or her boundary crossed.
2. The other gets upset.
3. This creates tension.
4. That tension begins to create separation.
Depending on the reaction of each partner within the relationship, the denial can then come into place and this invalidates the other person. Ensuring that the self is taking full responsibility for his or her action is important to avoiding this form of denial. It can sound like this.
1. Person one has some issue, and goes to the other to state the fact.
2. The person reacts with denial by saying: ” I didn’t intend that.”
3. Now what?
This is the exact issue that denial causes. The person that has said that he or she is feeling violated or uncomfortable over the problem is being denied the ability to be heard, because the person listening, in his or her mind just invalidated the point. From that point on, nothing is heard and the problem can even blow up into a fight which creates emotional distance between both people. Other denials could be used by someone who is not hearing the other and is in fact, in denial of the fact that a problem exists. Does it matter in all aspects of life? It probably is more important that most people think, but in marriage, where the bond must remain strong for that love to be cared for, it is vitally important. It could even be called imperative.
So the real question at this point becomes, how does a person avoid denial? I’m so glad you asked. That happens when each individual looks at his or herself to make sure that each one is respecting, loving and validating each one’s feelings and needs. There is an old saying that my father used to say: “You can please some of the people some of the time, you can even please most of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” Marriage isn’t about pleasing the person all of the time, but it is about honoring them and hearing them. It is also about letting your mate know that you heard what he or she said, and that you respect the feeling there. Then, the problem can be dealt with in a manner where both people feel respected and part of that all important team.
Counseling before my recent marriage