The Truth About Marriage, Monogamy & Long-Term Partnership.

Via Jayson Gaddis
on Jun 11, 2014
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Everyone around us struggles in marriage.

But you wouldn’t know it because most people feel bad about their struggle, so they hide it.

I have yet to meet a couple who were not challenged to some degree.

As a couple’s coach and relationship specialist, I work with this all day, every day.

If you are married, or you are going to get married, it’s important to read this thoroughly. It may help you be more realistic.

The media and our culture inundate us with misinformation about how relationships are supposed to be. Many of us still think that when we find the one all will be well and they will complete us. Or maybe some of us think a “conscious” relationship means that we somehow transcend our issues, triggers and neurosis.

When we finally do commit to a long-term relationship and the warm fuzzies of the honeymoon stage wear off after six months or a year or two, we finally get to the goods of a real relationship.

One of the first things we discover is that it is challenging.

We struggle, blame, judge and even hate. We shut down, we distance, we run away. We do and say mean things or we just freeze in fear. We do all the things that we did as a child, (but probably don’t remember) or we act like our parents—the thing we’d swore we’d never do. We then suffer because our fantasy of what we thought a relationship was supposed to be doesn’t match our lived experience of the real relationship we are in now.

We discover that a relationship is full of pleasure yes, but that it is also full of pain. It’s not just happy, but it’s sad. It’s not just blissful, it’s depressing. We don’t just experience warm fuzzies, we also experience cold iciness and rage.

Then, we judge ourselves against the one-sided marriage paradigm that was sold to us. We get depressed thinking that perhaps we made a mistake or something is wrong with us. Or, we blame our spouse and hold them accountable for our pain, which is also depressing.

Some of us might feel alone and struggle to tell anyone about what’s really going on, perhaps because we don’t have those kinds of friends. And, even if we did have friends that would accept us in our funk as we fumble through marriage, our culture trained us to hide our relationship struggles so we put on our upbeat face and continue hiding. We unconsciously embrace the game everyone plays in this culture to be a half-version of ourselves.

But when it’s quiet and no one’s looking, we might be courageous enough to look in the mirror and acknowledge that we are in pain, that we don’t know how to get through it, and that we are in unknown territory.

We might take the next step and admit we can’t do it alone, so we finally reach out to someone for help. We might first talk to a close friend, a pastor, a therapist or our parents to get their councel. But often what we receive is not what we need. The most common response we can get is advice, problem solving and fixing—all well intentioned with the agenda of getting us back to “normal,” which translates into getting us back to our happy place.

This lack of validating our experience has us feeling more alone and even stupid. Remember, other people don’t want us to suffer. Our suffering makes them uncomfortable. So, if we are not careful and we want their approval/acceptance, we might abandon our true feelings and take their advice and try to get back to being happy again. But meanwhile under our mask, our suffering ensues.

Next, if we are religious or spiritual, we may look to our texts and self-help books to support us. We might even pray to God to make our suffering go away. We might even meditate and try to pseudo-embrace our pain all the while secretly wanting it to go away.


This entire process is common, normal, and I see it every day.

In my experience as a relationship guide, people finally get into a marriage and have no idea what’s at stake and no idea how to proceed. It’s like being lost in a thick forest in a far away place with no map.

Add kids to the mix, years of financial stress, miscommunication, less and less sex and an inability to do real conflict, and we have a recipe for affairs, divorce and stuck marriages. If we are honest, we finally start to admit we have few to no skills in the long-term relationship department.

The feelings we bottled up or tried to hide begin to leak out, sometimes as a slow drip, and other times as a raging mountain torrent. Or we feel afraid to move one way or the other, so we stay frozen in inaction, unsure of how to proceed. Meanwhile our body bears the burden as we compartmentalize our pain in silence, all the while we get sicker and sicker year after year.

Eventually we start to see that we learned what was modeled to us. We realize there was no relationship class in school. We just digested what was modeled to us.

We look around, compare ourselves to others and think, “they seem like their marriage is great, so what’s my problem?” But remember that under the masks of everyone around you is a hidden layer, a layer they, like you, would rather hide.

When we don’t want to find out for ourselves what marriage is all about and the wild, rigorous, enchanting, painful path it forces us to face, we end up settling on a myriad of outdated and ineffective views given to us by our parents, culture, traditions or teachers. And in doing so, we perpetually avoid the massive opportunity for healing and growth that is staring us in the face day in and day out for years on end.

So, a gentle reminder that when we bought, without knowing it, the old way of relating, what I call “relational ignorance,” we set ourselves up for a big ol’ fantasy-slow-burn-let down. And, when we choose to keep living it this way, it’s supposed to suck.

Marriage is work. A real relationship is work.

It requires skill, a powerful context, embodiment and our rational thinking mind. It requires what I call “relational awareness and literacy.” A real relationship includes all of us, all shades, all colors, the dark, and the light. It’s happy sometimes and it’s sad sometimes. And, many people bail because they keep trying to live a fantasy that doesn’t match up with reality. In other words, the territory doesn’t match the map they were given in childhood.

Relating well then becomes an art, a master skill, to really see relationship as a path to our own wholeness and freedom.

Relationship is what we are all designed for. It’s who we are.

And marriage, if we have the proper view and tools, is an alchemical journey catapulting and demanding us to become all that we are.

But remember, we must say yes to growth and have a willingness to learn how to face all that comes up within the confines of marriage, monogamy and long-term partnership. And, once we do, we’re on our way to marriage empowerment and fulfillment.



11 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage. 


The Best Marriage Advice from a Divorced Man.


Bonus: Dennis Schoneveld & Rachel Brathen just before their wedding vows: 



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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Rolands Lakis/Flickr

Fun bonus: “29 is not too old for a woman to not be married.” (


About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, host of The Smart Couple Podcast , relationship geek and host of the Smart Couple Podcast, is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school--”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. Now, he’s married to his amazing wife of 8 years and has two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. Jayson writes his own highly personal blog, and has also written for Integral Life, Digital Romance, The Jungle of Life, Primer Magazine, Recovering Yogi, The Good Men Project. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.


54 Responses to “The Truth About Marriage, Monogamy & Long-Term Partnership.”

  1. Paul says:

    Thank you! A great reality check and important advice about clarifying expectations, accepting the relationship,as a whole (both good parts and bad), and honesty. Cool.

  2. Melina says:

    Thanks Jayson. Really love your work.

  3. dougkzeigler says:

    While I am unsure if it was your intention, I came away feeling that this was a rather glum look at relationships. In my first marriage, I did use all of those mechanisms you mentioned. The anger, the fear, the self-loathing, the self-doubt. After a few years (yes, it took me that long to realize that I did not belong in that relationship), we ended our marriage. And within a scant few months, I found a woman who was my equal and my better. I feared getting into another relationship so quickly with the wound of failure so fresh. I managed to overcome that fear, in no small way thanks to her, and she's now my wife and we have been together for 5 years. I'm unashamed to say every day I wake up next to her, I'm grateful that I have someone who I compliment perfectly and she compliments me perfectly. We truly are madly in love and lust, and do not hide it.

    She has showed me this: marriage/love isn't SUPPOSED to be difficult or hard. Be open. Be honest. Share everything. touch each other daily, and not just in physical ways. I can unequivocally say my marriage is the very best part of me, and never once have I seen it for anything other than what it is to me: a magically wonderful ride through this life with the one person who intertwines with me in totality.

    This is not to say everything is roses and unicorns; we do disagree on some things. However, we approach it with upfront honesty and the knowledge that we both want what's best for each other and our children. We resolve things quickly because we both value the other's feelings and believe in compromise.

    Not every relationship is required to be lacking in so many aspects. I'm astoundingly fortunate that my wife and I see our marriage as a blessing to be relished and celebrated (sexually and otherwise) as opposed to a job. The glass can be half full.

    Communicate. Be honest. Touch each other. Love each other. See past small things to see the grandeur of the love you have.

    It doesn't HAVE to be hard. It can be amazing if you and your partner want to be.

  4. Courtney Alban says:

    I agree with Doug’s comments that this seems a rather glum view of marriage. I have been married to my best friend and ardent lover for over 12 years. Contrary to the supposed fairytale view of marriage, I have felt that the meme put forth by society is the same as this piece: marriage is hard work. My husband and I have always disagreed on that point. Being alive, aware of your own mortality, conscious, developing a career- those things all take work and are hard. But marriage has only served to lighten those loads for us. Sure, we disagree sometimes, but we always communicate honestly and lovingly, if not right away, before too much time passes. I would encourage people to have a more romantic and forgiving and loving and optimistic view of marriage than the current story we are told. Marriage really can be all that.

  5. Iona Eubanks says:

    "Relationship is what we are all designed for. It’s who we are."
    Designed by whom?

  6. ann says:

    there is no such thing as love. it's all about the money.

  7. Wynn Ray says:

    "t’s like being lost in a thick forest in a far away place with no map." Yes, but remember that there are two of you, and together you can be far more effective to find a way out of that thick forest. You don't look to escape the relationship so much as escape the forest together. Then realize the value of that shared experience.

  8. Sheetali Singh says:

    We evolved in cooperation with the other.

  9. Irmina says:

    WOW…………that's the type of relationship, marriage, I would like. You are a thriving couple and I am so happy to hear that this is possible 🙂

  10. Eleanor says:

    We've been married for 50 years and there are good times and bad, happiness and sadness; that's life! In the end we love each other through all of it. So, even when we irritate each other we stick together! We work at it and talk about things, insignificant things and important things. Sometimes one of us feels as though they are doing all the work (me) but in the event we can laugh about it and get on with life.
    PS it is good to spend time apart doing your own thing. We learned early in the piece that we are not joined at the hip. The 3 aspects of a marriage/relationship – each person (2) and the relationship – all overlapping.

  11. Vicki says:

    Not unlike yoga, marriage is full of opposing energies that are in conflict when imbalanced. As a posture teaches, when this imbalance presents itself, breathing from the center and applying strength or flexibility where necessary to bring both halves back to harmony needs to occur. No different than yoga, the ego interferes and wants to drive its favored side home so it may relish in its own glory. The struggles we encounter in a posture are rich with life-teaching skills, so are the struggles in a marriage. My husband and I experience the spectrum of marital emotions and we get out of balance. When we do and I can rise above the storm to its calm center, I can gain a clear perspective of what is required of me – not him, me. And just as in practice using breath and conscious, ahimsa based adjustments, I can work to rebuild harmony through being strong or being flexible. May not happen in a moment or a day, but when balance is achieved, it is at a level that is integral to our being together and elevates the relationship. I like to think this is the goal of all struggles – to lead us toward a new level of balance whether off or on the mat ~ NAMASTE and balanced loving!

  12. Bruce says:

    20 years in, an 18 month separation 6 years into our marriage and 2 awesome kids, and my wife and I love each other without condition, we could see each other far enough sometimes and couldn’t imagine not having each other in our lives whether we are together or apart. We are actively poly and that adds to our challenge and, like our marriage, this lifestyle is both rewarding and disappointing, joyous and heartbreaking, just like marriage. It is ultimately worth everything we have given to our marriage and, short of having a handfasting ceremony instead of a christian wedding, wouldn’t change a single thing – that took a looooooooot of work for me to realise this. Communication and no fear of expressing authenticity are 2 things we value most. Total support of each others’ individuality, voice and creative expression are also massively important. Stopping the me-mind thinking and dropping into deep-heart space, cutting out all the selfish crap (what about meeee…?!) and listening without opinion; validating my partners’ voice and really hearing without trying to fix or wandering off in my own mind and the stories it will try so hard to distract me with. Anyway, blah blah… I’ll stop now.

    Thank you for writing and sharing a great insight into this aspect of your life. Much metta for you Jayson 🙂

  13. Keith Kennedy says:

    WOW!….This is fantasy land.
    It is almost systemic that women are meeting men and throwing their "nice" husband out the door by calling the police.
    It's easy here in Massachusetts. Women need only say they are "fearful" of the husband, and out they go into the street….No proof of harm needed………While the Father is living in a motel, the wife brings the new boyfriend in the house as soon as the Separation papers are filed…….After divorce, the EX-wife receives four incomes. Her income, the Ex-husband's child support, the alimony income, and the new boyfriend's income…….NO Kidding!…Perhaps you know a few victims of the whole divorce SCAM.

  14. guest says:

    This was an enormous amount of trite and tired cliches and almost no content. we we we… What's the opposite of enriched? That's how I feel after reading.

  15. Bruce says:

    Hi guest…

    In case you hadn’t noticed, a marriage is ‘we’.

    Maybe it’s cliché because there are only a limited number of ways to say things. Maybe it’s cliché because he’s a therapist and talks the language that you have over-read in books and articles, resisting the wisdom within the words. Maybe it’s not cliché, maybe there are just lots of people saying it all and there are no other ways left to say what needs said. So think on this, how many voices will it take to get the point, now only recognisable as trite and tired cliché, across? When will you start following the directions offered to you to achieve whatever goal instead of being fixed on continually trying to find roadsigns you prefer the look of, criticising the ones they don’t like, and ultimately not really getting anywhere useful? They’re tired words because they’re fed up of not being heard and resonated with, instead being confronted by resistance and shadowy ego-s#*t for too too long.

    I read it as Jayson is seriously committed to his marriage, his partner, his family and everything he says works for him, and it works for you and me and Bob over there. If you choose a path of resistance then what Jayson says doesn’t work.

    And honestly, as a general courtesy when criticising writers here, offer your name. Own your words. Own your shit.

  16. Judit says:

    Just what I wanted to say!!! Thank you, Doug!
    Everyone else, please read this instead of the article. It has more truth in it.

  17. Guest says:

    Disappointing that after such a build-up, your conclusion is simply that monogamy and marriage are “hard work.” Well, that’s pretty obvious. It’s also a let down that you’re espousing the same tired cultural notions of what a relationship is–monogamous, specifically–and indicating that this is somehow biologically enforced. Maybe one of the reasons people struggle so darn much within the confines of monogamous unions is because it goes against our nature. Only, to admit as much is something we’re taught to be ashamed of. In the typical world-view, agreeing to be intimate with only one person, always, for the rest of our lives is a sign of devotion and commitment; a sacrifice that people struggle with, feel ashamed about when they fantasize about others, and one that’s often broken in secret. Suggesting a different approach rather than a change of attitude might be a more enlightened path.

  18. Lizzy says:

    Don't you ever feel like you're doing all the compromising though?

  19. Ty Bowes says:

    I love it, Jayson. Realtionship is probably the hardest path to walk. Your writing here reminds me of the work of David Schnarch (Passionate Marriage).

    p.s. I'm no expert lol. Haven't even close to nailed this stuff…

  20. Clifford Clark says:

    The comments do tend to show where people are right now. Nobody is wrong, they are all on their own path and progressing at their own rate and in their own way. I did like the original article and many of the comments. Buddhist teachers, including the Dalai Lama, state quite strongly that no other person can make us happy – or unhappy. Our unhappiness is our own reaction to a situation, and – ultimately, with effort and training – under our own control. The compassion that comes from practice, whether formal or less formal, makes a person other-directed and accepting of change, two key elements in any relationship. After 34 years of marriage my wife and I are still "getting it", still finding it requires work, understanding, forgiveness…but the rewards to each other and ourselves are immeasurable. Perhaps it get easier with time, perhaps not – it all depends, I guess, on what habits and practices one nourishes. I find marriage still requires effort. But like physical work, that can be its own reward. I hope that all the people who have commented and many who haven't have the opportunity to find joy in their relationships. Metta.

  21. Ashley says:

    Attachment Theory explains how we have evolved because of our adaptation to depend on and be in relationship with each other.

  22. Michelle says:

    Love is a crock of poop. Today, there is a bunch of people who simply marry the first person they "think" they are love with. Nobody should get married until they bedded a few dozen broads, that is UNLESS you are bald and uncoordinated like most of the generation of girly men out there today.

  23. E.B.W. says:

    I wish there was more to this article or a link to a book. I feel that this only hit the tip of the ice berg. The words echoed what I have felt in my marriage for years now. I was thinking at the end there would be some great tips on how to overcome what the author was pointing out was wrong. I feel that he has hit the nail on the head with his thoughts but like many of the other comments leaves us with no real conflict resolution. After the let down of the end of the article I feel like "Well I better either suck it up and live a life of pretend smiles and heart ache or dump the last 15 years of my life down the drain and start over".

  24. Rick says:

    Truthfully, it is disappointing to see a marriage end. Maybe I am naive (I haven’t gone married yet) and have greater expectations of marriage, but why would you get a divorce in the first place? Was there cheating or physical abuse in your relationship, or did you just wake up one day and realize the person you married wasn’t “the one” (you don’t need to respond)? I want to believe that the ladder isn’t a valid reason to get a divorce, and that is the premise that Mr. Jayson Gaddis makes in his blog entry about the hard work required in marriages.

  25. right? says:

    Well, as a counselor you only see unhappy marriages! You are a dark cloud.

  26. Karen says:

    It doesn't have to be hard but sometimes it is. Thats just a simple fact. Some people have it easier than others but it doesn't make your marriage wrong if at times it is a struggle. You fall in love with a person and things change over time, your relationship changes over time and you have to learn to adapt. Modern marriage seems to be throw away. If there is a problem or strife you simply throw in the towel. I don't see it that way. I am married for 18 years and at times it has been difficult but you summon up the energy to make it through because you truly love your spouse even when you hate them.

  27. Guest says:

    Doug….what you wrote is exactly how it should be. Best of everything to you and your wife. There would be so many more successful marriages if couples stop taking marriage, partnership, respect, commitment and each other for granted. The key really is to appreciate your partner and respect your relationship.

    Thank you again, Doug.

  28. GC Boston says:

    I don't know what all the fuss is about. It's really very simple. Men really don't want relationships. They just want sex all the time, any time, with anyone. Women just want babies and they think they need a man to help raise them. The two sexes need to join up briefly to conceive, but after that, I think everyone is pretty much on their own. Any woman foolish enough to get married should expect that her husband will leave her once the kids are in college or around that time. I wish I had all the time back in my life that I wasted pining away about "love." There is no such thing as "love." There is only lust and/or friendship.

  29. elephantjournal says:

    Wow. Okay, it's great that you are weighing in but I think you've made some big generalizations here. You really believe that all men want is sex? I would beg to differ (and I am female). 🙂 ~ Ed.

  30. matt ng says:

    Thank you for a awesome article ..being spiritual myself and coming from a christian background which is engross with layers of personas and fakerage behind pointing everything to Jesus yet still quietly and desperatly suffering in fustrations.. this article makes total sense

  31. chris says:


    Your partner cannot fill 100% of your needs.

    Your partner cannot always be your “best friend” and shouldn’t be.

    Make good friends with others whom you can share your life with. And if those friends happen to be great in bed, all the better! Who says we have to be monogmous. Live your life how you want to. We are sexual creatures by nature. Go flirt with others, and let your partner flirt as well. Don’t spend all your time together. Surpise one another.

    I found out my life partner or “wife” was really missing the touch of a woman. Well, that touch has been fulfilled which makes her happy. And guess what, she occassionally shares those experiences with me as well. Which is pretty awesome! Then….we get to talk allll about our shared experience, and it fires us up even more, and we even greater sex afterwards.

    It fulfils her sexual desires, all of which as a man I would love to say I can please to the fullist, but that’s not the truth. I give what I can, and vice versa. We truly find ourselves in our other desires, needs, and wants. To share that with someone who accepts you and you accept them, THAT is love.

  32. Chet says:

    SUCKFEST! See how insightful and concise this comment is? Do we need a reminder about how hard ltrs can be? Fack!

  33. Vanessa says:

    Perhaps marriage/monogamy is hard simply because marriage/monogamy is not how we should be living any more?

  34. Allen says:

    Thank you for the reminder about the job of marriage. I worked in a grocery store when I was 17, and I was pretty much disgusted by the thought of marriage a month after I started. ALL of the married employees were cheating with other employees or the customers. I was told that when I get married I have two choices, marry a girl I don't really care about if she leaves when I get caught, or marry a girl who will give you "another chance", he said, "you know, a not too cute girl."
    I always thought, why do people even get married if they intend to cheat? But after that I just never trusted any woman not to cheat on me. So, I waited until I was 39 to get married hoping she was old enough not to cheat. Well, 9 years later she did cheat. I have been single, and happy again for the last 3 years.
    I guess I can say I gave it shot, once. From what I have been through and have seen, it's human nature to want the cake and eat it, too. And when it comes to having and eating that cake, more often than not, people believe that they not only deserve it, but are entitled to it, as well. That is why I think that "the work" is just not worth it. There are a lot better things than cake anyway, and I would much rather work on my bicycle.

  35. Kimberly says:

    Making a marriage work really depends on how happy you are with yourself and how you have been done in the past and vowing to never let another person use your heart again. I was very lucky to find someone that didn’t need “fixing” like every guy that had hit on me before and like my first relationship he had been cheated on too and it hurt him. Some of us weather it be male or female just want someone to be there to spent our lives with. I wasn’t interested in how many guys I could sleep with, I never wanted the title of a Ho…there was plenty of them already. I got so much more respect because of it. I didn’t believe in marriage when I was in my first relationship and had two kid. He cheated on me with everything that had legs. I was done. When I left him I was over “raising” stupid little boys that didn’t know how to work or grow up. I had worked on a farm my whole life and worked two jobs to take care of my kids. When I left him is when I met my husband, it was truly love at first sight. We would talk and hang out for days but the only thing we wouldn’t talk about was our age. He was so afraid to tell me how old he was because I knew he was older than me. I was 22 he was 33 and we were totally different. But he was married once and was cheated on really bad too. It was the one thing we did have in common and that we took our heart very serisously plus we both had kids and our kids were the most important people in our life. Neither of us had any problems or needed “fixing” we both worked everyday. And from that first day to this day 13 years later he has told me everyday how beautiful I am and that he loves me. I know without any and I mean any dough that he will never cheat on me and I’ll never cheat on him. We have this special perfect love that we have watched grow over the years and there were some hard times. Buying a house, having teenagers, health problems, life can throw you a curve ball at any moment…learning to lean on each other and not take it out on each other it the key. I totally look forward to growing old with him and making wise crack knowing he is the only one that gets my humor. Shooting pool and drinking shots on date night because with 5 kids you have to have time alone to remember how you fell in love. You have to invest that time and work into it. If you just set at home every weekend then your marriage is gonna get dull and your partner is gonna miss the excitement.

  36. Kimberly says:

    I still dress up for him for no reason…and I don’t mean I put on a dress…I mean I dress up for his eyes only. He is my one and only. I took those vows before God and I ment them but it didn’t say that I couldn’t have fun with my husband. I couldn’t make him want me…send him sexy text. Write him letters to tell him how much I Love Him and all the hard work he does to take care of me and our family. If you don’t want your husband to wonder off to another woman then you make sure he has everything he needs at home. When he gets home he get 30 minutes to an hour to just take a nap and unwind from the work day. (Sometimes I let him come home to smell something slow cooking….Phil loves to walk in and smell food it just puts him in a better mood just walking in the door.) KNOW HOW TO COOK AND COOK! Guys like to have good food and they don’t like eating the same frozen crap, fast food, or pizza every night. Cook for man and if you love him this is just another way to show it and trust me he will tell you over and over how wonderful it was because he will want you to do it again. After dinner if your not gonna be intimate then give him a different kind of dessert…give him a good rub down. Nothing spoils a man more than getting a good massage. My husband has to work in the elements all year long. And he does work hard too, he never calls in, never misses work, not even when he is sick. So I know his back hurts, his muscles hurt and his legs hurt. So for not reason I’ll just give him the best and longest massage out of the blue with the lotion I have and use the heating pad to not only keep him warm but to warm his muscle too. Now on those intimate nights neither of us are greedy! He is only worried about me and I’m only worried about him. It was always been that way and we have ALWAYS had a wonderful intimate life! When you treat your husband like this he will treat you back 10 fold. He has always made me feel like I’m the only woman that matters. My heart is only his as his is mine. We didn’t decide this or talk about it, we just really fell in love. I mean that story book love you read about and it was two broken heart that really wanted to give love another chance because it felt so perfect. We have always put the other one first and in turn have had an awesome marriage with really awesome kids. And we don’t have any plans of changing anything.
    One more thing…TRUST! I never have to question him on what he says neither does he. I keep all my passwords in a book that he has whenever he wants…we don’t hide anything from each other because we don’t have too. We you start hiding passwords or setting up private accounts…you’ve already cheated. If you keep him happy and don’t bitch him to death…he won’t leave you! If you make him last on your list and bitch at him for stupid shit,…He’s gonna run as fast as he can to get away from your crazy ass.

    And if it the other way, if you’re a good woman and you hooked up with a cheater…leave him! He’ll never change and you’ll never be happy.

    I had to get my life straight and I had to get right with God first and that my husband found me. So you get yourself straight first and your babies if you have them….God will let the rest fall into place. And if he takes people outta your life…well you didn’t need them to begin with.

  37. Ben Burdick says:

    Much truth in this blog. I was confused by the picture of the "Stop monogamy have a three way sign" that was on the facebook link that directed me here. In life and relationships, we must constantly be willing to give honest evaluations as to where we stand, otherwise, growth is impossible. By nature, we are selfish, but relationships are meant to take out focus from ourselves and shift them to the well being of another. It's not about out happiness, it is about loving and serving the other person and allowing that other person's weaknesses to improve our character.

  38. Lili says:

    That's really the opposite of what Relationship as a Path is about. Check out his website for conflict solutions and opportunities.

  39. Shayne says:

    Ok, so the article was gloomy with a little bit of sunshine in my opinion. The problem is that the little bit of sunshine was only advice on how to get through this monster called marriage. I am 35, pretty good looking and headstrong. Some kind of way marriage has alluded me. In my twenties I was afraid to have children because the world is a mess. Now in my thirties, I’m not sure I want marriage because of all the reasons Jayson stated. Hell I’m like Allen; he’d rather work on his bicycle, I’d rather work on some pottery. I’m starting to believe what I contemplated a couple years ago; that marriage only sucks because people then think they own each other. If I could find a mate that doesn’t want to own or be owned I think I could deal with that. I don’t want to be alone, but I always love a new flirting experience. That doesn’t have to be sexual just new and exciting. The couples closest to me are all examples of what I don’t want. The couples that I know but aren’t close to are just too far away for me to see their flawed situation. I want to be happy single. Wow, this is revealing, cathartic even. Maybe I don’t want to be married at all, just happy and content in relationship with my friends and family… And of course an occasional hunk to light my fire, play chess, eat bad food, philosophize, and watch movies when we catch the feeling. Wow, I think I just described a relationship. You can’t possibly have fun doing those things with a random person. Oh well, just as confused as before I read this article and all the comments. Thanks married and divorced people.

  40. Gina says:

    Did you show your wife this? This melted my heart and I'm not even your wife.

  41. Hum… I respect the article, but it's hard to agree with that. I am a happiness coach and I've working with couples for a while and I see relationships in a different way.

    For sure every relationship will encounter challenges on the way, but being afraid of pain expacting the worst is not the real relationship. Going back to old Ancient Greece, they used to have mentors and partners to grow. Not by chance they gave the best thinkers, philosophers and athletes to the world. Let's go back and learn with the wise men from the past: Enter in every kind of relationship with a open heart, knowing that you will find some challenges but you will be as happy as you deserve – if you have the courage to be honest and open with your partner. Let's grow!

  42. Eddie says:

    What if you are a driven person and is an adventurous person? I have set many great goals in life because I was taught that I can become anything that I want to and do anything that I want in life. I came from a tragic childhood on to struggling through school for 6 years as my sacrifice to achieve these many great things in my life time while having the strength of my youth. I know the difference between childhood fantasies and setting realistic goals in life. I have led my life using the power of vision & actionable faith to come from being a thug hoodlum to a successful Computer Engineer. I am now 38 with a beautiful loving wife and 4 Boys (8yo, 4yo, 3yo & 5mo). I have a large bandwidth of energy and a list of to do(s) while I have my youth. I feel as if my goals, desires, time and the energy have been hijacked by the love I have for my family. It is as if there are two beings with in me where one is dedicated to taking care of my family but the other wants to party, see the world, network with new international business colleagues, live life as an adventure and be able to grow as a human being. My life instead has been filled with crisis after crisis, too much responsibility, constant uncontrollable financial setbacks, boredom, misbehaved kids, no time for anything but chores, no friends, very little non-family fun, solitary confinement and un-fulfillment. My true nature is wild but I am forced to play roles defined by family and bosses with the constant threat of being labeled irresponsible. Which could lead to a divorce and being raped financially by child support/alimony. It is like I cannot tend to or care for myself due to being a responsible man that society expects from people. Work, Family & Responsibility is all there is besides occasionally getting out to a bar on Friday for 3 hours to lick the wounds that accurate weekly at work and at home. I am African Native American and so many black men leave their post next to their families because of not being fulfilled. I don't want to be one of these men because I love my family and would die for them. However, it seems that my spirit is dying from all of the empty promises that I promised to provide myself with. I am able to do great things but the load of having a family seemed to not be compatible with greatness. I don't want to be 60 years old then finally be ready to play on jet skis in the French Polynesian Islands and pulling all nighters with friends laughing about stuff that don't matter. We have one life to live and it should be lived well. I have been in life treating situation and choose to grab life by the horns before I had a family. Now I feel like I am being road after making what I thought was a noble thing to do: Create a Family. I often fight this feeling but it keeps coming back stronger and I feel it all the way down in my bones. Somebody please give me advice because I am lost and confused.

  43. Megan says:

    Thank you Courtney, that is encouraging to hear. 🙂

  44. cromagnostic says:

    Hey Eddie-

    As someone that has been in a similar place, I can tell you with certainty you can you what seems like some really negative momentum and shift it in your favor. To do so, consider talking to your wife about how you'd like to take turns affording each other "personal growth time" outside of the family. Start the conversation, however, by talking about the things you'd individually like to accomplish. By taking the first step to being interested in HER goals and aspirations, she'll be more receptive towards hour's. As an added bonus, what could have been perceived as "you wanting time away from the family" will now turn into "your wife and you helping each other" which is a positive growth mechanism. As always, be honest, patient and if you get friction from your wife- 1) Listen to her and repeat back key points of what she just said, emphasizing emotionally how you can feel where shes coming from. You can do this without actually agreeing with her ( you can do this even if it may feel likd shes out of her damn mind) but at least it shows her you took the initiative to give a care so hopefully she'll reciprocate. Then, 2) state outright that your intention is to always be honest with her, and that intention comes from a place of love.

  45. rissa says:

    While I do agree that marriage is work I also believe that you can have the relationship you always dreamed of with the right person. When I met my fiancé it was love at first sight. Almost 13 years later we still have the same feelings for each other. They have gotten stronger and made us stronger as a couple. I still get the warm fuzzies and butterflies when I am close to him and we set the furniture on fire with our chemistry. So he is my fantasy come to life. My love. My rock. My hero.

  46. Melleah says:

    Why would a happy couple go to a relationship counselor? Honestly?!

  47. dagelf says:

    Bah! The “struggles” and “work” is more a reflection of our pop-instant-gratification-washed-out-cultural-values, complete and total self-centeredness and ridiculous expectations, not just of marriage, but of everything and everyone else, including ourselves! I guess if you do not experience it like that, you should be immensely grateful for your upbringing… yes, there are “tricks” to it, and those aren’t widely advertised or taught… and a lot of misinformation – or perhaps, right things, but for the wrong reasons, or vice versa… Male and female “energies” and “archetypal roles” are very different, and if you 1) open yourself up to believing that this is indeed so (we really are not the same, doh!) and 2) commit to trying to understand to what extent, and how …it makes things a lot easier, so don’t you find yourself stuck in the same boring and repetitive drill, all “indemnified” by stereotypical BS of “men will never understand women” that our pop culture does perversely perpetuate, inverting the perception of what a “real man” is, turning men everywhere into cowardly fools. But “seek and ye shall find”. To men: listen, don’t give advice, just listen and care with your heart, shut your mouth. Be consistent! Think ahead. Schedule things. Consistently! Make sure you create a safe space where everything can safely be said, consistently. Even if it is that you are completely and utterly wrong, self centered, and inconsiderate and that your intentions count for nothing because tomorrow is not yet here, and you did not act on it, contrary to what you try to make yourself believe! You can’t make up with ten things, when you’ve missed one thing ten times in a row! It doesn’t work! BE CONSISTENT! To women… be patient. Ask the right questions. Don’t confide in each other… confide in something bigger, together. Could it be that simple?

  48. Sue says:

    I feel bad that you think all men want is sex. If that was the truth the studies would be all different. If a couple divorces it is the man who marries again with in the first year and a half and it's for , guess what- companionship. A man doesn't have to get married to have sex and actually better chances not. It is the divorced wife who stays single and still takes care of the kids and doesn't necessarilly need somebody else just to have around. Their income also goes down by 2/3. Women don't ever let any man tell you you don't have to work. As far as love goes I've felt it , it can feel fabulous and then it can feel so so painful. So I'm 57 and the jury is still out. " they" say it comes from within yourself – still not convinced.

  49. Diana says:

    Different people have different communication styles and may have been brought up with different ideas of how to relate to others. This article is a reminder of how our differences need to be acknowledged and it does take work to figure each other out after the honeymoon phase is over. So it can be hard for some people. Glad to hear that some have been really lucky to meet another person that have the same kinds of ideas on how to maintain healthy communication and relationships. I think this is an article that can ring true for many as a way to better understand ourselves and how to create more effective relationships in the future. Life is full of challenges and rewarding moments!