I think it happens in the best of marriages. At some point along the timeline, you take a look at the present state of affairs and think, ‘Really? How did this even happen?’ It seems like at one time, tasks were divided and consideration for one another’s time was honoured. For a woman who wanted to embrace motherhood and maternity leave, she now somehow also signed up for ‘house maid’ at Hotel Chez Maison; not only is she taking care of junior 8-10 hours of the day, but she is also picking up wet towels off the bathroom floor and gathering crusty plates and half-drunk cans off the coffee table. How is this fair? Heaven forbid you express concerns about this to your spouse. It seems as though women are brainwashed from an early age with images of June Cleaver stamped on their hippocampus; the perfectly clean house, a joyful child playing happily while you place a hot meal on the table as your loving spouse walks in the door after his 7.5-hour day at the office. Then you sit down together and talk about each other’s day. Wake up! Yes – it was a dream.
Of course, this can go both ways. I like to think I am not gender-biased, but even in 2021, the majority of parental leaves land on women. Even in homosexual marriages, one tends to get the short-end of the stick. Why is it so hard to be fair? It’s usually because one of the partners becomes tired of complaining and it is just easier to do it yourself (the Obliger), or one partner becomes dismissive and dominating in the marriage and brainwashes the other to presume this is ‘normal’ behaviour. Communication is the problem. Neither partner is communicating well.
One partner tends to not express their true needs, or another may be the conflict avoider
“ It seems as though women are brainwashed from an early age with images of June Cleaver stamped on their hippocampus.“
When it comes to broken promises, it seems like life is full of them, doesn’t it? But when it comes to a marriage, where vows were exchanged to one another, the hurt runs deep. Many couples feel their partner has not honoured their promises at the time of marriage. It takes a lot of work on both partners to ensure the promises made are kept and honoured. I don’t think any human intentionally dishonours their partner.
Sometimes it is very abrupt, such as one partner feels religion is no longer important to them and decides the children do not need to attend their weekly church service. Or it may be that the joint bank account for all the household finances has selfishly become your spouse’s problem and my money is for my own needs and expenditures.
Unfortunately, addictions have become prevalent in the web of broken promises throughout many relationships that come to my office. The partner who is not suffering with the addiction has tried to regain the trust but cannot withstand the repeated disappointment and lies. At times the partner is the enabler by perpetuating the addiction; they trust, ‘this time, she or he means it’ and stays with their partner because of the promise they made to one another at the time of marriage. The sufferer of the addiction may have even guilted their partner into feeling guilt and shame for talking about ‘leaving the relationship’. This is a serious situation and needs immediate attention. Months of this behaviour quickly turn into years. It is unfair for both, not to mention for the children, if present.
This concludes the series on betrayals and to be honest, I am glad! I rather not talk about ‘downer’ topics like this. Unfortunately, it is common and deserves the attention.
In the following weeks, you are going to see varying topics. Everything from food addictions, to dealing with the inner critic, trauma, SIBO, loss of libido, how to lower inflammation, and yes, more on relationships.