Solutions for Marital Discord and Distress Comments from Social Media

Solutions for Marital Discord and Distress By Ronald B. Cohen, Family Focused Solutions

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Thanks for another excellent summary of the many issues raised by marriage. I find the most difficult aspect is in answering the question: “what role am I playing in creating this situation?” Then, finding a way to change. When I do find that way to change the resistance is always there, but that is one thing I learned to be prepared for. As you like to say, it is a journey of a lifetime.

Juan C. Penhos

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Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

Sandra Stolfi

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DO YOU HEAR THAT, PARENTS????? How much damage might you be causing your children because you aren’t self-aware of these issues and/or do nothing to address them?

Mark B. Baer

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This is such a useful question to ask younger couples especially. The change in status can cause a lot of distress to parents and children alike, more so if one or the other in the couple had a very close bond with a parent where daily lengthy contact was considered normal.

Barbara Leigh

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A very interesting post Dr. Cohen. I think that marriage sometimes manages to more alter our impression of our existing relationships more than changes any of them. What I’ve found is certain persons whom we share close relationships may begin changing in ways that are counter supportive or our unions if we don’t continue to treat and regard them as before. It can be very complex.

Lee J. Ross, LMSW

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Hi Lee,

Correct, it is very complex. Beyond that I must respectfully disagree. When one person changes the entire system is affected. “Marriage symbolizes a change in status among all family members and generations and requires that the couple negotiate new relationships with many other subsystems: parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews, and friends” (Monica McGoldrick, Becoming a Couple), to which I would add cousins, aunts, uncles, work relationships and societal status. 

Ronald B Cohen, MD
Bowen Family Systems Coaching for Healthier Relationships

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This article really resonated with me. One of my best friends recently got married and it completely altered all of her previous relationships. I have seen how unresolved emotional attachments from childhood have transferred to her marriage. Thank you for this insightful article.

Ebony Scott

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The process of differentiation facilitates becoming more “responsible” for yourself so that you can act more “responsibly” toward others. In regards to a spouse, this involves knowledge of the family as a developmental system!’ This resonates with me and countless couples I have known; often times, marriage isn’t viewed as a test of our maturity, our schema’s, or trained responses.

Our parents modeled what we know of relationships, and many times, it was the failings, the stereotypical faux pas and misunderstandings that were swept under the rug and not discussed so that we could understand better “do as I say and not as I do.”

Attention to wanting to better a situation should come from people we aspire to and admire. If we have someone who can introduce us to these and help us form new relationships with them, it can help us to better align our ideals, and strengthen our relationship with each other as spouses. This is the stuff that eliminates envy, jealousy, greed, and instead focuses on each other as someone for whom we care and have positive regard! These friends/mentors can also alert new couples and help them avoid the pitfalls associated “with the major issues of sex, money, children and in-laws, and relationship-destroying stressors and transitions.”

They say it takes a community to raise a child, but quite often, we must not stop there.

Paul Damsma

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Thanks for your response, Ron. Re: unbalanced systems, I wonder at what point might we decide that there is such an imbalance of power in a relationship that we have no personal responsibility for what is happening in that relationship. It might be too easy to label someone as abusive, and use “power differential” as an excuse for avoiding my own contribution to relationship difficulties. On the other hand, it might be unethical and dangerous to turn a blind eye to the real presence of power differentials. What questions might one ask oneself to help clarify this distinction?

Bonnie Hall

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