This week on Making It Last, we will air a segment with the Executive Director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement. It was truly a pleasure to interview Rob, who candidly shared his thoughts on why so many couples wind up having major issues with their relationship.
We both have observed over time that love clearly does not conquer all, and that many seem to lack key relationship skills that will help them stay together. Many of his tips seem pretty basic, yet people struggle with the implementation in real life. Maintaining open and honest communications, treating each other with respect, and continuing to make time for one another are all essential points we can probably all agree on– but there was one point I wasn’t expecting him to make. When I asked him what the number one problem is that seems to challenge all couples he said that unfortunately our American culture is antithetical to the institution of marriage.
It took me a second to process this one while on air, but if you can concede that America was founded by people who left their countries and their families to start a new life here, you can see that individual freedom is something deeply engrained in our history. Our country’s very Constitution promotes the individual right to pursue happiness. This way of thinking– generations in the making, unfortunately has a severe downside. This “me” mentality not only creates weak family ties and a poor sense of community, but it is literally threatening our bond with our partners.
Marriage counselors often say that for a marriage to truly succeed you have to give up the “me” thinking and embrace the “we.” You have to stop viewing each disagreement as a win-lose situation, where one will get his/her way and the other will have to concede. If you don’t learn to collaborate with one another sooner rather than later, your love has ZERO chance of survival.
I hope people will tune in and listen to the entire interview, especially after it becomes available online next week at www.mmctv.org, and in the meantime, more info on his non-profit can be found at www.nire.org
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.