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How To Beat The Odds And Have A Successful Marriage

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How To Beat The Odds And Have A Successful Marriage

With at least 50% of marriages now ending in divorce it makes sense to find out how you can beat the odds and have a successful marriage.

A joke about marriage is traveling the email circuit:  Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.  Indeed, from first attraction until death parts us, couples can be wildly imaginative – in every possible context.  Under the influence of infatuation, we imagine that we have found our one right person.  Based on childhood fantasies and unexamined conventional wisdom, we imagine that loving spouses will work tirelessly to enhance our lives.

Imagination promises marriage that is sexy, easy, fulfilling.  No wonder imagination triumphs.

Ultimately, though, marital reality is less fabulous than we imagined.  External and internal forces relentlessly threaten marital satisfaction.  Stressful life events challenge coping skills, expose unrealistic expectations, and elicit negative reactions.  Emotional immaturity generates satisfaction-sabotaging behaviors.  Hence, those daunting 60-40 odds against marital success.

So, how can you hit the jackpot of marital success?

Make your marriage the triumph of intelligence over imagination.  As unsexy as it may sound, this approach produces new heights of marital satisfaction.  And you don’t have to be some kind of genius to make it work.  You’ll just look like one to all those couples who still favor imagination.

In general terms, the triumph of intelligence in marriage means discarding old thinking and investing in Marriage 2.0.  It means practicing self-responsibility.

Specifically, self-responsible spouses reality-test expectations.  De-escalate negative emotional reactions.  Constructively manage dark moods and insecurities.  Self-responsible spouses correct their own thoughts and emotions rather than imagining their partners to be blame-worthy.

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Christine Meinecke received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1983. She interned at Colorado State University Counseling Center and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Meinecke is in her nineteenth year of full-time private practice in Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to entering private practice, she worked in hospital mental health settings She has taught psychology and psychotherapy classes to undergraduates, graduate students, and medical residents. She is also a playwright. Her full-length, comedic play, Flutter the Dovecotes, was the 2009 winner of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop competition and was premiered by Tallgrass Theatre Company in January 2010. For more information about Flutter the Dovecotes click ”works” tab. For thirty-plus years, she has practiced yoga and taught yoga classes in various settings. She met her beloved wrong person while both were graduate students at University of Kansas. They have been married twenty-nine years.

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