Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dr. Roz and Kil: What Should You Do If Your Family Doesn't Like Your Spouse?



Roz's Perspective

What do you do when your close friend/family member "doesn't care for", doesn't care to be around" or doesn't get along with your spouse?


Of course I know that life is easier when everyone gets along, but if your spouse is hated for superficial reasons by family members, then you just have to ignore the ignorance and be the bigger person. Now if there is a warranted reason for the dislike, such as abuse, or adultery, then we can understand that our family is just looking out for our best interest. If this is a significant issue in your relationship, I would encourage you to investigate the reasons why your spouse is “disliked” and encourage your family to understand the choice that you have made to be with your spouse and to support your relationship. You should then define what supporting your relationship looks like from your perspective, such as being cordial in your spouse’s presence. You have to remember that your relationship is between you and your spouse and you two are the ones that are responsible for the functioning of your relationship. If your families cannot respect your relationship based on superficial reasons like, I just don’t like her, I don’t have to give you a reason, then sometimes you may have to think about your relationship with those family members and if they are beneficial to you. Good Luck!

What is the best way for women to express their concerns in a relationship without the man "shutting down"? How often should concerns be addressed?

Ladies, NEVER start your conversation off with” we need to talk” because he is going to become defensive and immediately shut down. Just begin your conversation. Now you have to pick an appropriate time, like when you are in the car together for an extended period of time. Expect irritation from him, if you interrupt his football game with yall’s issues. You are not going to get anywhere and it’s only going to leave both of you frustrated. Here is a tip, when confronting anyone about an issue that you may be experiencing, take the blame out of the questioning and use “I” statements rather than “YOU” statements, such as I feel like I want to spend more time with you because I miss you, rather than You never spend time with me! Very big difference in the tone of your concerns. I believe in addressing concerns when it interrupts the functioning of your relationship. It’s not a bad idea to have a monthly family meeting to ensure that you are functioning properly and it’s a great opportunity to address your concerns! Let us know if this worked for you!

Understanding that men and women may bring past hurts to a new relationship, how can particularly women remain patient with men who are harboring unstated trust issues in their new relationship? In both marriage and long-term dating situations?

This is a great question! The only way you can disprove someone’s thoughts of mistrust is to provide the evidence of the contrary and even then they still may not trust you. One way that you can assist your mate is encouraging them to seek therapy (most men do not want to go to therapy at all, so this may prove to be a struggle). Not only will he be able to vent about his frustrations, but with a great therapist, he will understand how he is allowing his past to stagnate his future. Now for the man that is completely against therapy, then you have to be honest about how his mistrust may be driving you away and give specific examples. Set up an accountability system with him, such as checking in when you are out and about during your day to ease his concerns and I always encourage couples to know each other’s friends. It brings about a certain level of comfort when your spouse knows who you are hanging out with. My husband and I have a rule, that we no longer have separate friends, but friends together, meaning that I am friends with all of his friends and vice versa. It works for us and keeps confusion down, but not all couples are the same. You have to figure out what your relationship can deal with and that means going to the table and discussing what’s acceptable in your relationship! As far as patience, it is a virtue, but when someone else’s stress is causing inappropriate functioning in you, then you may have to reevaluate the relationship or renegotiate the parameters of your relationship.

Kil's Perspective

What do you do when your close friend/family member "doesn't care for", doesn't care to be around" or doesn't get along with your spouse? 

I think the most important question is why don't they like your spouse? One thing I learned in pre-marriage counseling was don't tell your friends and family about everything that goes on in your marriage because you can always forgive your spouse for things they've said or done a lot easier then your family and friends can. Once you figure out why they don't like him, that's how you can begin to try to squash whatever the beef is. But I can't stress how important it is to not tell your friends and family ALL of your business.

What is the best way for women to express their concerns in a relationship without the man "shutting down"? How often should concerns be addressed?

I think the first thing to do is to ask your man when is the best time to talk to him. For some reason women seem to bring up things at the worst times! When the game is on, as soon as we walk in the door from work, etc. Once, he's told you when's the best time to talk to him, the next step (if he currently shuts down) is to ask him why he shuts down. I know a lot of men shut down because they really don't know how to express themselves. And if that's the case, your man has to learn to express his self. Whether that's writing down how he feels or learning how to say how he feels. But he's gonna have to find out why he shuts down and he's gonna have to work on that. Now, a man working on how to express himself is no easy task, but you have to express to him how important it is to you and for your relationship/marriage. And as far as how oftenn should concerns be discussed, I think they should be discussed as often as they come up. When issues are going on in your relationship, and they're not discussed or dealt with, they literally become a cancer to your marriage.


Understanding that men and women may bring past hurts to a new relationship, how can particularly women remain patient with men who are harboring unstated trust issues in their new relationship? In both marriage and long-term dating situations?

My question for you is, if it's "unstated" how is your man dealing with these issues? Are you assuming he has trust issues? Has he told you this? Because if you're just assuming he has these issues and they are from a past relationship and he has no idea he has issues, I hope your VERY patient casue it's gonna be a while!

The first thing you have to do is get him to see that he has these issues going on and then help him to move past them. Now, men moving issues is no easy task, so ya'll gotta have a plan in place. Is he gonna get counseling? Is he gonna be talking with you about his issues to get over them? Dealing with issues in general is hard enough for all of us so I think once you get him to see that he has these issues, it's important for you to just continue to be supportive of him until he overcomes these issues and realize that you shouldn't be punished for what someone in his past did to him.

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