How to improve your marriage without talking about it

How to improve your marriage without talking about it

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Table of Contents

Introduction

How to improve your marriage without talking about it is a self-help book by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny on relationships and marriages. The book challenges the concept of communication and talking about issues in your relationship with your spouse. It goes further to explain that relationships are not about talking but rather about connecting with your spouse. The book leverages on the psychology of men versus that of women to explain why connecting is difficult for most couples. Actions taken with the best interest of the relationship at heart can be the main cause for strife in a relationship. The book explains two main concepts, fear and shame. It explains that women are vulnerable to fear and anxiety, therefore, emotions and issues that arise in a relationship are based on those two primary emotions. Questions, complains and requests she may put across are based on fear over the status of the relationship. The man mostly misinterprets this as personal complains and dissatisfaction. Men, on the other hand, are vulnerable to shame. A man’s role in a relationship is to provide and protect. Whenever a woman wants to talk, asks questions or gives suggestions, it is construed by men to mean dissatisfaction on her part in the relationship. This can lead to a feeling of shame and weakness on the part of the man since he feels he is not meeting the needs of his woman. Men take great pride in pleasuring their wives and making them happy. The book explores an underlying saying that states happy men talk more, happy women talk less. It is eye-opening for so many arguments that arise and create a toxic environment in a relationship. The book will assist women in understanding the psychology of men, and in turn, help men understand the psychology of women. It is a good book that can assist a lot people to understand and appreciate their spouses better.

1. WHY IT’S SO HARD TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

This is because the differences and conflicts between you and your spouse are not necessarily about neglect or that one spouse is trying harder than the other. Both of you must realize that you are biologically different. When you are arguing with your man, he may see things a lot different than you. Most women expect their man to be like one of her girlfriends. She hopes the man will see things her way. If she speaks to her girlfriends on a specific issue, she expects the man to reach the same conclusion on the subject as her girlfriends. Your man is not your girlfriend, so don’t argue with him like he is. Women must understand that a man sees things differently, and does not have to agree with your opinion. Women are vulnerable to fear and anxiety, and talking pulls them closer. Men, on the other hand, are sensitive to shame and talking makes them withdraw and pull away. This is why so many couples fall into the stereotype of a nagging wife and withdrawn/stonewalling husband. For this reason, without the basic understanding of men and women’s biology, brain activity, reasoning and vulnerabilities, it will be challenging to improve your relationship.

2. HOW WE BREAK THE CONNECTION

A connection is one of the most critical aspects of a relationship. Connection does not mean talking. Men and women connect in different ways. Men connect through touch in the form of sex or hugs. Men also connect through activities say going for a run together. Women, on the other hand, connect through talking and revealing their challenges and emotions. Talking evokes the feeling of shame in a man which makes him withdraw since most of the times, the talking insinuates failure on the part of the man to provide and protect his woman. Women, on the other hand, bond a lot with their girlfriends by talking about various issues. Women mistakenly do the same with their husbands expecting to connect with their husbands the same way they did with their girlfriends. This is usually the genesis of disconnection between the couple.

3. WHY WE FIGHT

As an attempt to talk about issues in the relationship, the vulnerability of men in shame is triggered. Talking means there is a problem. Men are cultured to be providers and protectors in the marriage. Therefore, the man will feel shame for falling short in his role in the relationship. This feeling of shame will make him withdraw or stonewall himself from the conversation since men are not known to be good at expressing their emotions. The withdrawal triggers the woman’s vulnerability of fear. Fear of being alone, fear of isolation, fear of the relationship collapsing and fear of being iced out by her man. This fear makes her want to talk more, making the man withdraw more. This puts the couple in a vicious cycle that will never end; hence the fights will continue. However, the good news is that this vicious cycle can be broken. If only we are willing to understand that men and women are biologically very different.

Empathy can help break this vicious cycle. By stepping out of yourself, and empathizing with your partner’s emotions, you will find a solution and a way to make them feel better about the relationship.

4. THE WORST THING A WOMAN DOES TO A MAN

Shaming. Men are taught and cultured to be providers and protectors in a marriage. Therefore, a man measures his successes and failures based on providing and protecting. Anything that challenges or diminishes his role creates the feeling of weakness and shame on falling short of his responsibilities—women, on the other hand, like to talk about their issues, challenges and complains. So, when women assume that their husband is like a woman or her other girlfriends, she subsequently expects him to react and support her the same way her girlfriends would. However, talking about your issues and challenges makes the man feel like he is a failure. The man feels like he is not enough for you and that you are complaining because he is falling short in his role in the relationship. It is important to be appreciative of small things that your man does for you. This way you boost his confidence and enthusiasm for your relationship

5. THE WORST THING A MAN DOES TO A WOMAN

Leaving her alone but married. When a woman is continuously complaining about various issues, a man may get the feeling that he is not enough for her. This elicits two emotions in him. One is a shame, and the other is anger. If he feels ashamed, then he is likely to withdraw and stay quiet. The second is anger which may elicit a burst of anger in a loud voice from him. Anger instils fear in his woman, and this may lead to anxiety. When a man withdraws or is angry, the woman feels a sense of isolation. Women need to connect and remain in constant contact and connection with their man. A man’s withdrawal makes the woman feel alone, isolated and evokes the fear that he might leave her. Women need constant reassurance that the relationship is still valid and tenable. You have to continuously show that your love for her is still very much alive. Isolation is very hard on women.

6. HOW FEAR AND SHAME LEAD TO INFIDELITY, SEPARATION, AND DIVORCE

Fear is a vulnerability experienced by women in a relationship. The fear of him leaving her or the collapse of the relationship can lead to anxiety among women. Uncertainty created by notions that her man does not love her anymore or may have eyes for another woman can give a woman sleepless nights. This fear can drive a woman crazy, and to calm her fears, she may try and seek comfort elsewhere and end up in the hands of another man, leading to infidelity.

Shame is an emotion experienced by men. A man can feel shame if his wife or girlfriend is continuously complaining about various aspects of their relationship. It makes the man feel inadequate. When the woman insists on talking about their issues, it only drives the man further away as the feeling of shame and inadequacy intensify. He may seek comfort from another woman who probably does not ask much of him. The other woman can connect with him, making him feel like he satisfies her. Once the other woman is introduced in the conflict, infidelity looms and for many couples, once infidelity occurs, it leads to separation and more often than not divorce.

7. USING YOUR FEAR AND SHAME TO CREATE LOVE

Despite fear and shame being the primary source of conflict in a relationship, it can be used to create love. In marriage, we express our feelings first before taking into account how our spouses feel. For instance, a woman may speak to her husband out of fear on the status of their relationship. The husband may understand that she is not happy or feels insecure because of his actions or lack thereof. The man’s shame creates even more fear in the woman. The woman should understand this concept and take it upon herself to reassure her husband by showing appreciation. The man will feel confident of his role in the relationship and will reciprocate by eliminating any fears she may have in the relationship. The husband can also address his wife’s concern as a priority over his shame. This way, both fear and shame can be used to create love in the relationship.

8. LEARNING TO TRANSFORM FEAR AND SHAME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Shame and fear are emotional feelings that you cannot eradicate. They may be uncomfortable to experience, but we will have to go through them at some point, probably severally. A couple can decide to use the vulnerabilities of fear and shame as a tool to better their relationship. If a woman prioritizes slaying the dragon of shame to her husband, then it would lead to a healthier relationship. By being appreciative of the things he does and ensuring she connects with her man through touch, activities and sex, then she will successfully transform shame to confidence. The man can reciprocate by alienating the fears his woman would have. By reassuring her of his love and maintaining contact with her, be it through a phone call or a kiss, then they will both have successfully transformed the fear and shame in their relationship

9. THE ONLY CONNECTION SKILL YOU NEED: STEPPING INTO THE PUDDLE

This involves emotional attunement, which means stepping into your partner’s emotions. Empathizing with your partner’s feelings can help you connect with them on a deeper level. Relationships can be complicated, and partners have their issues and emotions to deal with. By prioritizing your partner’s feelings, you can, get into their headspace and try to understand how they feel. This will inform you to change your mood and attitude towards your partner and behave in a way that makes them feel better and subsequently helping out your own emotions. It may look like a lot of work, but you are not stepping into an ocean of emotion but rather a puddle. For instance, when a man senses anxiety in his wife, he should choose to behave in a way that reassures her of their relationship. It can be a smile or a hug; sometimes, it may be just listening to her.

10. IF YOU WANT CONNECTION, FORGET FEELINGS, THINK MOTIVATION

This chapter advises couples that if you and your spouse have lost the spark or are just not connecting, then you need to forget about the feelings or emotions within you as an individual. Take a step back and ask yourself three fundamental questions.

a) Are your actions getting you closer to connection or further away?

b) Is your behaviour a reflection of your core values?

c) Is your strategy to avoid, attack or approach?

The answer to these three questions can help you realign your targets and keep your emotions in check and ensure you do not make a bad situation worse. You have to take responsibility for your relationship to thrive. Therefore small acts of love and kindness can bring back the spark in your relationship and help you connect on a more intimate level with your spouse.

11. HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

There are many expert opinions on how to strengthen your relationship. As a man ensure always to protect your woman and the relationship. Try and understand that every time she wants to talk, it is more a plea for connection rather than criticism or failure on your part. As long as she feels secure and protected, then she should reciprocate the love. The best way to strengthen your relationship is empathy. A woman should ensure she complements and appreciates her man’s efforts, thereby alleviating shame. A Man, on the other hand, needs to love his woman and ensure he continuously maintains contact with her, thus alleviating any fears or anxiety she may have over the relationship.

12. LOVE FORMULAE TO A POWERFUL RELATIONSHIP

Patricia Love and Steven Stosny came up with a quick formula to help couples remember how to keep the fire burning. You may not be able to carry the book with you everywhere you go. Or refer to it every time you are faced with a challenge in your relationship. Therefore. The authors of the book came up with what they called the Power Love formulae, which is a four and three-quarter minutes a day. This is broken down as below.

a) Put your partner first at least four times a day. It is recommended, a good morning, goodbye, hello and goodnight moments can be sufficient to achieve this rule

b) Ensure to give a hug to your partner at least six times a day for at least six seconds

c) Always have positive thoughts concerning your relationships. Negative thoughts can influence your attitude and mood towards the relationship

d) Have an agreement with your partner to always give love with compassion and generosity to one another.

13. Conclusion

This book, How to improve your marriage without talking about it has been revolutionary. Misunderstandings and confusion in relationships are now easier to solve. Most men will agree with most if not all, of the book. The book explains that despite our efforts to build healthy marriages and relationships, those very efforts are probably ruining the relationship. There are very few books that discuss the emotions of men like this book does. It does it plainly and in a very accurate manner.

I would recommend the book to anyone looking to have a complete and fulfilled relationship with their spouse. The book is also essential for women. Even though it speaks a lot about men’s emotions, it also explains women’s feelings and more so mistakes. The book highlights how women misunderstand men and have unrealistic expectations of their men.

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