Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage by William Glasser/ Carleen Glasser

The only person you can change is yourself. The more you try to change others, the more unhappy they will be. Only a few adjustments are needed to make a failing marriage work. The eight lessons are useful indeed.

Divorcing is not the only option. Often, things might turn for the better after a while. No one is responsible for making you happy, even your spouse. The ideas contained are simple and easy to understand. The ideas can be applied to other relationships as well.

Infatuation is not love and it won’t last. Some just go separate ways after the infatuation stage. The problems start after infatuation dies. Couples need to rekindle their romance. Even if you find someone else, the infatuation ain’t going to last long as well. This is the reason why many turn to affairs. The book focuses on the impact of choice theory. Do not expect to master all the 8 lessons at once. Try your best to limit external control in a marriage. Change the way you relate to one another.

External Control can Kill a Marriage. Be patient with your partner’s flaws. For instance, your partner might be untidy and messy. Sometimes, couples stay married because it is convenient and it beats the unknown of separation. As a psychiatrist, he doesn’t prescribe psychiatric medication. In an unhappy marriage, one partner tends to blame the other for their unhappiness. The main source of unhappiness is when people try to control one another. It is like coercing the others to behave in the way I want. There is no upside to this. This is exclusively used by humans to control others. If you threaten your spouse to do something, the effects could be worse in the long term. Ask yourself this question ‘If your mate continually tries to control you, what could you do that would help your marriage?’ Do not constantly have the need to correct your spouse. Be wary of control freaks.

External control is a psychology in which people who practice it always know what is right for other people. – William and Carleen Glasser

We choose all our behavior. Learn to move towards choice theory. We all choose what we do. Replace external control with choice theory. Use this axiom ‘All we do from birth to death is behave, and every behavior is chosen.’ No one can make you do anything. No one can control you unless you let them. There are 5 basic needs. The five basic needs are 1) survival; 2) love and belonging; 3) freedom; 4) fun; 5) power. Humans need one another and strive to procreate. Control leads to the need for power. Some people value freedom and don’t like to be controlled. The evidence shows that more men tend to go astray as compared to married women. Fun can be divisive as well. Power is also largely only applicable to humans. External control is a chosen behavior and there is no need for that. Opposites attract isn’t true. Ask yourself this question ‘How compatible is the way you are attempting to satisfy your basic needs with the way your partner is choosing to get his or her needs met?’

The basic needs have a lot to do with marital compatibility. For example, couples who share a high need for love and a low need for power tend to be happier together. – William and Carleen Glasser

Never Use the Seven Deadly Habits. The first and the worst is criticism. The next is blaming your spouse for everything. The third is complaining. The fourth is nagging. The rest are threatening, punishing and bribing. If you can eliminate the above, your marriage will be much happier. Supporting is a good strategy. Encouraging each other is important. The third good habit is active listening. Accept what your partner sees in you. Accept each others’ imperfections. Trust your partner. Respect one another. Negotiate to win-win situations if possible. Which of the caring habits do you need to work on first?

Get Acquainted with each other’s quality world. Understand the quality world concept. People play a very important part in a ‘Quality World’. This is based from our most pleasurable experiences. Understand your spouse’s quality world. Care for one another and exhibit caring habits. If differences exist, negotiation and compromise must take place. Usually, the people we love are placed in our quality world. Our good friends might also be included as well. We also put people who are similar to us in our Quality World. To have a long lasting marriage, we need to satisfy each other. We can tolerate external control from our boss. Things can also be contained in someone’s Quality World. Addictions usually emerge because of unhappiness in a marriage. There might also be religious or political beliefs that might be different. In this case, there are things that need to ironed out. Work together to build a common Quality World. Ask yourself ‘What do you need to negotiate to make your Quality Worlds more compatible?’

Understand Total Behavior. Focuses on feelings alone can be bad. One should focus on acting and thinking as well. Think in ways that make you feel good. Total behavior consists of ‘thinking, acting, feeling, and physiology’. You only have voluntary control over your thinking and acting. You do not have direct control over your feelings. It is what you think that will influence how you feel. Thinking and acting influence feeling and physiology and control its direction. Steer the marriage towards a choice theory one. The idea to keep your marriage moving and do something fun together. Ask yourself, ‘which wheels are in control of your marriage, front or rear?’

A Little Creativity can save your marriage. We are all creative. We are often the most creative when we are asleep. Try to resolve differences and suggest improvements which both of you can do together. Having fun is a great way to spice up a marriage. Stop threading on old ground. A new marriage idea needs to be new and supported. Flush boredom out of your marriage. Show appreciation for one another. Refer to the marriage as ‘our marriage’. This is very important indeed. Keep the level of humor high and learn from them. Marriage is supposed to have its lighthearted moments. Ask yourself, ‘When is the last time we used our creativity to have a real good time together?’

Treat your partner as he or she would like to be treated, regardless of whether he or she treats you that way. – William and Carleen Glasser

At your discretion, share what you are doing for your marriage with your children. Your children might want to be involved too. Do not expect too much from a partner. Do not treat your pets better than you treat your own children. Before you engage in any of the 7 deadly habits, ask yourself ‘Is what I am about to do going to harm our marriage?’ Never put yourself what you want ahead of your marriage. Humans always like to feel right. However, there is no issue with admitting being wrong sometimes.

Try New Ways to Improve Your Sexual Intimacy. Some men can have orgasms in their mind. You can have an orgasm without an erection. Sexual performance should not be associated with pressure to perform. Orgasm is a gift for the relationship. Sex is one way for your relationship to feel intimate and connected.

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