Talk Tuesday

We have discussed many of the factors and scenarios which lead couples to divorce court. Before we head into the next series, I want to know what your opinion is. You have provided many ways where problems become abuse. You have also provided many solutions to circumvent divorce through self-realization and situation assessment.

Welcome to Talk Tuesday. Let’s start with the bullet list of what we learned in this series, which covered the causes of dissolution marriages knowing the success rate of second marriages is higher.

Abandonment: Being present does not constitute participation in a marriage.

Abuse: We established verbal and emotional abuse is as destructive as physical abuse and far more pervasive. Abuse is never to be tolerated. Ever.

Belief Systems: They take a lifetime to build and cannot be overrun in the span of a wedding and honeymoon.

Children: Number is not nearly as important as how to raise said children.

Ignorance: Knowledge cures ignorance as long as you are willing to learn your Mate and be willing to apply the knowledge to your marriage.

Incompatibility: This term is abused and cited when other issues are truly at hand. For the few couples incompatibility is true, divorce may be the only solution when they are unwilling to work to learn one another well enough to determine if there is common ground on which to stand as a pair.

Infidelity: It can only be determined by individual couples based on their own belief systems.

Money PuzzleInterference: Mates have to be a team to ward off attacks by (friends, family, strangers).

Job Loss/Money: How Mates handle monetary hardship/discord can determine the fate of the marriage.

Sex: Sex is a biological function which couples assign emotional value. Said value is proportional to the impact it has on the marriage. Sexless marriages are difficult to maintain.

Merriam Webster Logo

Not good enough…

With the exception of abuse, the other nine things which made the list can be overcome. We have touched on it very briefly (minutely).

The short version of how is self-realization. Time to consult Merriam.

fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality”

At first blush, one could be convinced self-realization is the opposite of being a Mate. Look very closely. If you know the possibilities available based on your character and personality, how much can you offer Mate in terms of resolution?


We have talked about the discovery phase as it pertains to Mate, but how about the discovery of self? While scores of the audience cited rushing in too soon as a harbinger of dissolution, very few (less than five) identified not knowing themselves as part of the problem. All of them identified not knowing Mate as the problem.

My challenge to the audience is this:

If you know yourself, you will better gauge your tolerance and acceptance level of Mate before it leads to judgment of Mate’s character based on action and inaction.”

The Big Nine

The Big Nine

In each of the nine causes of divorce we covered, judgment of some form reared its head. Judgment is mired in our character and personality: We judge based on our belief systems, of what we believe ourselves capable and our perception of Mate’s personality, beliefs and capabilities. Self-realization changes the perspective on the things we believe ourselves capable.

Tonight, let’s explore self-realization more fully. Tonight’s questions are these:

  1. What do you have to know about yourself to determine if one of these will become a problem in your marriage?
  2. Can one self-realized Mate be enough to sustain a marriage?
  3. Where is the line from which there is no return (besides abuse)?

Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.

Based on audience request, tonight’s post will go live at 1900 EDT (GMT-5) so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished!

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. I can’t imagine a life without my wife of 35 years. We fell in love from the beginning and have a mutual respect for each other.Respect is the key! Loose respect for your mate and all kinds of bad things can happen. We have a common bond, but several seperate interests and we respect that. We never try to make the other be what we want them to be. The uniqueness of each mate keeps marriage interesting. Love is our bond and can overcome any problem. There will be problems but solutions are there by working together. Love your mate as yourself. Who would harm themselves? Hurting someone I love would only hurt me.

    • The concept of “love your mate as yourself” is a good example of self-realization. You have to know (or recognize the lack of) the character traits you love within yourself to recognize them in others.

      • So true Red. If we don’t like or love ourself, how can we expect anyone else too? We can change ourself, but we can not change others. My wife and I are constantly taking a look inward to make ourself more desirable to the other. We always try to be kind to each other even when mentioning a flaw. Be kind to one another while you can. In the end love is really all that matters. It is the bond that brought us together and it is the bond that will keep us together foever.

  2. Your post, Red, reminds me of a weekend retreat that I and my wife attended before we got married. It was a weekend retreat for engaged couples, and one of the activities was going, as a couple, to a quiet place in the retreat grounds to answer a sheet of paper about issues ranging from in-laws, no. of children, handling finances, to spiritual beliefs.

    I was glad that when I and my wife compared our answers that we were 90%+ compatible. Our answers were almost identical!

    Fortunately, we were compatible. But I was told that there were couples who decided to break off from their engagement because they found out that they had nothing in common at all! Sad, but it’s better to find this out before getting married than after the marriage, where it could become very complicated…

    Marriage is no bed of roses even for those of us who are happily married. It’s true – there is a need for a thorough self assessment if the marriage is to succeed. To be done preferably before a couple gets married.

    Of course, needless to say, both persons in the marriage has to be self-realized and mature enough to cope with the challenges of married life.

    ~ Matt

    • I would love to see this activity as a requirement to obtain a marriage license. I am glad you both participated. I truly believe more couples need to be counseled on marriage prior to getting married.

      For you, it is needless to say, but I am uncovering more and more couples where one person is self-realized and the other not. In those marriages, the self-realized Mate is the “head of the household”. To me, they appear more tyrannical than cohabitual.

      Thank you for your candor, Matt.

  3. That’s sad… But, it’s true, a marriage where only one person is self-realized is bound to be dysfunctional.

    Besides, I don’t believe that one person in a marriage should be “head of the household.” I believe in resolving issues through communication and dialogue. Needless to say, this can only happen if the relationship is based on respect and trust.

    ~ Matt

  4. You can’t love everyone, but ‘ya gotta love yourself! Without self-love, complete love to mate can’t be realized, although conceit bars love completely. There is a fine line, and for two people to find that line without crossing it is so rare that only a few marriages make it to the end these days. Could there be a correlation between divorce rates and technology?

    • Blaming tech for marriage failure is like blaming car theft on a video game. No, actually, technology can help in some relationships. Now, if you are referring to the way technology has shortened our attention spans, I would say applying that as a contributory factor in divorce would be quite a stretch.

      Considering the vast amount of information available and necessary in a marriage, boredom should be the last possible choice. I recently talked to a man who was burying his wife of 56 years. He lamented he had a question he had never asked her, and now it was too late. After all that time, he knew there was still more to learn.

      • No, I actually meant technology as a whole, and how it can affect marriage with regards to divorce rates skyrocketing. Videos or pictures show up online, and they get back to mate. No more lying or saying the person was exaggerating, the proof is now in the pudding with digital photography and instant uploading to the Net. And then there’s online dating sites to take attention away from mate. Of course there’s always good, but there is bad, too.

        • If I had to venture a guess, I would say technology has helped keep some people more honest, so maybe honest is the wrong word. Knowing there is always the one person in the bar who is going to post pictures of everyone means those who are doing on the sly are being more discreet. As to the viewing of _____________ online, I can attest to the internet’s chewing up of valuable togetherness time. The same can be said of Wii and PS3.

  5. In response to number 3, I would say a sustained lack of communication. When my girl or I have a problem, one of us may say “I don’t want to talk about it” which is fine for a while.
    But when the feeling lasts a while (a few days) we each generally open up to each other.
    Until then, each of us is good at just being there and comforting the other to help get through it.

    • Very interesting line. You are correct. Without sustaining the contact and truly working through whatever the crisis may be is where the rot sets into the foundation.


      PS Did you list your blog in the Green Room?

      • No, just saw that. Thanks, I’ll throw my link in shortly.

        I’ve found that after we talk, whatever problem it is doesn’t seem so big. Pain shared I guess…

        • That is a big part of marriage. When we share the problems with Mate, they are easier to carry because we are both carrying one end of the stick. Even when the solution is not uber-apparent, the struggle to heft the problem is lighter.

  6. bear

     /  January 31, 2012

    I know that in my case my self worth/ like has been a issue with my mate, but after years of feeling worthless it’s hard to adjust to being built up.

    But with time comes the cure in most cases. My ex was a mental abuser…never saw it coming and I normally wouldn’t miss a trait like that, and our communications crumbled because of it, and everything snowballed from there.

    I do believe in premarital counsel, but in some cases, as in a questionnaire, the odds can be influenced especially if there is a difference in religious beliefs.

    I also think that if you counsel with anyone at all, go together from the very first to the very last. That way, at least in my view, there is no misinterpretation on who said what, or what was meant by any statement made…by anyone.

    • Self-realization has to be something you do without the opinion of Mate or anyone else for that matter. It is a cure to the emotional abuse.

      Religion is a sticky wicket at best. The beliefs are mixed between facts, legends, dogma and myth. Learning to cope with the blending of religious backgrounds is a challenge.

      And pre-marital counseling should always include both mates. I take that to mean you agree having one self-realized Mate is insufficient, no?

      Thank you for sharing, Bear.

  7. I totally agree that: ‘a marriage where only one person is self-realized is bound to be dysfunctional’. Think of a one-sided friendship. Who suffers the most? Does it last?

    I am currently single but was once married. LONG ago. The above was the reason for our failure, I believe, among others. This point tipped the scales.

    • It does not last. It truly does take two. I have echoed throughout this series, none of the reasons in idolations (shy abuse) are enough to cause divorce, but in concert they are too much to bear.

      Thank you for pointing out the equal application to friendship!

  8. Lalalala – I am humming to myself because I don’t know where to start. So I will take the questions in the order I can sensibly respond to them in.

    One self-realized mate can be enough to sustain a marriage for a short period of time. Self-realization is a strange thing because we change and grow throughout our lives, self-realization necessarily isn’t stagnate it must flow with us as we move through life. As mates grow together, so long as they are both identifying internal needs as well as their roles within their partnership, self-actualization will happen for each. Perhaps at different paces, but nonetheless it will happen.

    You have to know your own needs, what your bottom line is. This includes need for privacy and need for inclusion. Need for communication and need for togetherness. Need for separate but equal time apart from the hustle of marriage, need for friends and family and need for just the partner. You have to know your own level of patience for the stupid stuff in life, your own ability to skip across the bridges of dirty dishes, unmade beds, laundry and other sundry idiocies and only focus on what is important. You have to know what your own hot buttons are and be able to clearly communicate them, even if as they trip over your lips they sound silly. You also have to know how selfish you are, yes I said it; how selfish you are because we all have a selfish bone and no matter how hard we might try to hide it, if we don’t identify where it lies in our personality and what triggers it then we fail.

    When we fail to be kind, to our self and to our mate. When sarcasm takes the place of asking how we can help. When we plug our ears to pain. When silence is the only sound we hear. When we fail to laugh at the stupid stuff. When we can no longer sit quietly and get that warm and fuzzy feeling just because our mate is in the room. When we no longer feel safe in our hearts. That is the line of no return.

    • You are my hero, sister of my heart. As always, you counterpoint with surgical precision. Thank you.

  9. I’m not sure we are taught to be kind to ourselves. We’re very busy taking care of other, then angry when someone doesn’t take care of us. You’ve stated the nine reasons well. Very thoughtful piece worth some pondering. The line because it’s emotional seems to move and be hard to pin to only one event.

    • Very true, Barb. The line is a very personal decision. In order to know where it is, we must truly know what we want from the relationship. Thank you for your compliments. Red.


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