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婚姻失敗的五個主要原因 -- Mark Travers
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我已年近黃昏,和老婆在一起快40年了。應該也有資格對婚姻議題發言。年輕朋友們可以自行了解和判斷作者下文五個建議的實用性。但他在「結論」中提出的三點意見,我相信適用於更廣泛的人際互動:

1) 
了解自己和自己的人生規劃
2) 
試圖對別人的問題和心境感同身受
3) 
使用有效和正面的溝通方式


A Psychologist Shares 5 Major Reasons Why Marriages Fall Apart

Mark Travers, 12/5/23

A new 
study published in Marriage & Family Review found that the stories married couples tell in social settings tend to reflect their marital functioning and individual identity. Along with positive indicators such as meeting each other’s emotional needs, sharing positive experiences and having shared values or a united vision for the future, researchers also found negative facets of marital functioning reflected in these stories, pointing to marital distress and lower satisfaction. Researchers suggest that these challenges can occur even in strong marriages.

Here are five key reasons for marital dysfunction according to the study and how to begin working through them.

1. Sacrificing Individual Needs

Researchers suggest that the act of prioritizing the needs of the marriage over one’s personal desires is a conscious decision made by an individual, rather than a passive acceptance of unfavorable circumstances. It often entails suppressing or disregarding personal needs and aspirations.

Spouses may willingly make sacrifices for their partners without deriving much joy or meaning from them. For instance, they may adopt their spouse’s beliefs or feign interest in their hobbies. Consequently, the partner making these sacrifices often grapples with discontentment arising from neglecting their own needs. While sacrifices may be positive in certain situations and bring couples closer, participants in the study primarily pointed it out as a negative in their relationship.

A 2022 
study suggests that such sacrifices can be costly, leading to lower relationship satisfaction for both the giver, who experiences lower well-being and the receiver, who has mixed feelings such as gratitude and guilt as a result of their partner’s sacrifice. Researchers suggest communicating about individual needs clearly, carefully evaluating the necessity of a sacrifice before making it and focusing on the positive results of the sacrifice if it has been made.

2. Enabling Negative Behavior

Spouses are sometimes reluctant to confront or address negative actions or habits within the relationship. For instance, traits such as selfishness or a lack of social awareness can become negative behavioral patterns that fail to meet the needs of a marital partner.

A spouse’s passivity or failure to communicate enables the persistence of problematic behaviors or uncomfortable situations that significantly impact the marriage. Sometimes, spouses may discuss these matters while telling stories to close connections but this does not resolve the deeper underlying challenge within the relationship. 
Addressing these behaviors head-on is crucial in fostering a healthier and more fulfilling marital dynamic.

3. Disrespecting Relationship Boundaries

Researchers suggest that “boundary mismanagement” occurs when individuals prioritize their personal identity over the well-being of their marriage. While establishing personal boundaries, such as ones around personal space or time, is healthy for individual and relational well-being, disrespecting them can cause strain.

Researchers share the example of a participant in the study who consciously shared only positive stories about her spouse and faced discomfort when her husband, who prioritized unfiltered honesty at all times, disclosed details she wished to keep private.

Disrespecting boundaries creates a relationship disconnect, which manifests when an individual neglects investing in their marriage or actively contributes to its breakdown by demeaning their spouse or their marriage.

Research shows that being caring and responsive to a partner’s needs and boundaries significantly raises relationship quality. The consequences of mismanaged boundaries further emphasize the need for a delicate balance between individual expression and preserving relationship harmony.

4. Navigating External Stressors

External influences and adversities wield a formidable influence on marital harmony. Distressing events such as the loss of a loved one, grappling with chronic health issues or navigating financial struggle can all take a toll on even the strongest marriages. These events can impact a partner’s mental health and their ability to 
communicate effectively in a relationship.

Here are some ways to minimize the impact of external stressors and strengthen the marital bond.
*  Establish an emotionally safe space for open dialogue. Lean on each other and external support systems for help.
*  Develop coping mechanisms together such as shared activities, new hobbies, grounding and mindfulness practices. Reframe challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
*  Adversity often requires adjustments and flexibility in roles, responsibilities and expectations. Being open to change as a team can alleviate strain.
*  Despite challenges, prioritize spending quality time together. This can be as simple as a daily check-in or scheduling regular date nights.
*  Encourage and prioritize individual self-care as it is also vital to supporting each other in the relationship.

5. Struggling With Uncertainty

Uncertainty arises when partners struggle with defining their wants and needs in a relationship. This can create a disconnect, leaving partners feeling unfulfilled or misunderstood as the unexpressed desires of one partner might clash with the unmet expectations of the other, causing emotional strain.

Encouraging open conversations about personal aspirations, engaging in activities that foster self-reflection and exploration such as attending workshops, reading books or seeking counseling together to better understand individual needs, supporting each other’s personal interests and cultivating empathy and patience towards each other’s struggles can help navigate relationship uncertainties.

Conclusion


Recognizing signs of dysfunction in a relationship can serve as a roadmap for couples to identify areas of improvement. Strengthening a marriage demands a dual commitment, both to personal growth and to collaborative effort with one’s partner, rooted in self-reflection, empathy and proactive communication every step of the way.


Mark Travers, Ph.D., is an American psychologist with degrees from Cornell University and the University of Colorado.



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How Often Do Happy Couples Have Sex?

Sex is an integral part of most relationships, but how much is enough?

Nicole K. McNichols, 04/17/24, Reviewed by Ray Parker

KEY POINTS

*  It's normal for couples to wonder about whether they are having enough sex.
Couples who have sex once a week or more report the most relationship satisfaction.
Planning sex and making it more pleasurable are helpful ways to maintain an active sex life.

When it comes to sex in long-term relationships, couples often wonder, “Are we having enough? Would more often be better?”

Research consistently demonstrates that sexual intimacy plays a vital role in maintaining connectedness in relationships. While it cannot fix a broken relationship, the correlation between sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction is strong, and this has been consistently demonstrated in many large-scale surveys.

However, the question remains: is there a specific frequency that predicts optimal relationship resilience and satisfaction? Is more always better? And should you be worried if your sexual frequency falls short? Studies that have looked at the connection between sexual frequency, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction offer some compelling answers to these questions.

On the one hand, research has shown that couples who have sex once a week or more report higher levels of sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and greater overall well-being compared to couples who have sex less frequently. The benefit to well-being that comes from having sex once a week (or more) is primarily explained by the improvement that is coming to your relationship.

However, this does not mean that all couples should be having sex as much as possible every week. The same study found that couples who have sex more than once a week enjoy no additional benefit compared to couples who have it just once.

So, what are the key takeaways from these findings? First, regular sex does seem to play a role in maintaining relationship satisfaction. However, forcing yourself to have sex multiple times a week will not make you any better off than a couple who enjoys sex just once a week. There's a risk you could fare worse.

It's important to remember that, like all research studies, these numbers reflect averages. There is tremendous diversity in people's levels of sexual desire, and that is part of what makes it such a beautifully unique experience. Some couples might have sex only once a month and feel completely satisfied and happy. Others may want sex multiple times a week to feel like their sexual needs are being met. These variations are natural and should be acknowledged and enjoyed.

For a couple who aims to have sex once a week, it’s also helpful to know if there are proven ways to help you achieve your "target" number. One strategy many couples benefit from is planning sex. Although this strategy often receives eye rolls from my students and Instagram followers, its issue is simply a matter of bad PR. Think about it. We plan many other pleasurable activities, from booking a vacation, a reservation at our favorite restaurant, or a massage. Anticipation is part of the fun. Why should anticipation of sexual pleasure be any different?

Finally, couples need to focus not just on the quantity of sex they are having but its quality as well. The study above found that when couples reported high levels of sexual satisfaction, they were more likely to report higher sexual frequency when researchers checked in with them again a few months later.

This makes perfect sense—when you enjoy an activity and find it highly satisfying, you are likely to crave more of it—a tenet of human behavior that carries over into our sexual lives.

The final message? Prioritize sexual intimacy, but don't make it a pressure-filled experience.

Furthermore, realize that there is no "winning" when it comes to sex, nor is there an awards ceremony at the end, unless you count the high-fives you and your partner may occasionally exchange after an incredibly passionate evening. Ultimately, the magic number is what feels right for you and your partner, and so long as you both feel you're getting your sexual needs met, then the prize has already been won.

References

Muise, A., Schimmack, U., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(4), 295-302.
Park, H. G.*, Leonhardt, N.*, Johnson, M., Muise, A., Busby, D., Hanna-Walker, V., Yorgason, J., Holmes, E., Impett, E. A. (2023). Sexual satisfaction predicts future changes in relationship satisfaction and sexual frequency: New insights from within-person associations over time. Personality Science.


THE BASICSThe Fundamentals of Sex


Nicole K. McNichols, Ph.D., is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. She teaches "The Diversity of Human Sexuality," the university's largest and most popular undergraduate course.

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