Who doesn’t love a wedding? But with months and months of planning, it only lasts a short while – and then there’s the marriage. If history is prologue, neither former first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, nor longtime boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, had great role models for marital bliss. And that’s even without the religious issues – she was raised Christian and he’s Jewish.
This much publicized union is affirmation of America’s shifting religious landscape. There has been a gradual increase in interfaith marriages over the past two decades and more than 25% U.S. households now are mixed-faith. Despite changing attitudes, it’s still not easy to make marriage work.
If you’re members of the sandwich generation with a loved one who has recently tied the knot, you know that marriage constitutes a major change. Emotional reactions at times of transition are common and normal. And in making the necessary adjustments, some conflict is inevitable – all couples get angry and have arguments. Whether a marriage will last depends, in part, on how you prepare for the challenges. You’ll find that some of these tips may serve you well:
Keep your communication open and honest. Talk out misunderstandings before they become arguments. Don’t resort to low blows or get side-tracked by pointing out questionable character traits. Practice active listening skills and sending I-focused messages to clarify that what you’re saying is your own opinion.
Use cooperation and compromise. Be direct yet flexible as you make your way through disagreements. Look at the issue from your partner’s perspective and practice empathy. Ask yourself if being right and winning the fight is more important than your relationship.
Log on all week as we talk about tips to resolve the inevitable conflicts in marriage. Let us know the strategies that work for you by clicking on ‘Comments’ at the bottom of this post.