Grant Montgomery: Marrying our spouse’s mother!
It’s an understatement that men have a hard time figuring out women! And women also have a hard time understanding men.
What further complicates this is that we tend to take the habits that we developed growing up, which were reinforced in our peer relationships, and bring them into our marriages.
This means we may save all our anger from experiences with our mothers/fathers and dump it on our wife/husband. Often we subconsciously pressure our spouses into becoming the image of our parents.
In this sense, when you marry someone, you are not marrying each other, you’re marrying each other’s mother or father! Any childhood anger that has not been processed, and/or feelings that we haven’t owned, we may project toward our partners disproportionately to our present reality.
One of the greatest obstacles to a healthy relationship is insecurity. Often we are using someone else to attempt to fill the hole of insecurity. Then when they do not produce as we wish, we punish them with the silent treatment, the guilt trip.
We tend to take out on others the angers we feel about ourselves. After all, what is it that makes us notice the negative, or appreciate the positive? It starts with how we look at ourselves.
Something that can help us maintain perspective is the following reflection: What right do I have to condemn someone else, especially when I know myself so well?!
But if we have not developed this degree of honesty with ourselves, we will never face our own human weaknesses, but instead find scapegoats in the people around us.
To apply what I’m saying here, for example we may use the word “hurt”, in responding to our spouse: “I’m not angry, I’m hurt”. When we make that statement, we do not own our anger. We don’t think we have any problems with anger. We are saying that other people are the problem. We take the role of the victim. When we are being victims, we will remain miserable, until we release our anger. Yet our greatest obstacle to releasing that anger is our fixation on others people’s behavior.
Only when we acknowledge our feelings of anger are we less prone to negative judgement and resentment.
Read Bonding with others
The above includes excerpts from “God Loves an Unmade Bed” by Fisher and Allender