CBS’s Marriage Sabbaticals should be called what they are – a separation

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Couples Counseling, Family | 0 comments

CBS’s Marriage Sabbaticals should be called what they are – a separation

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!  CBS recently aired  Love on the Rocks? Some Couples Solve Problems With ‘Marriage Sabbaticals’ where couples take a break from each other for three months and live like their single. I couldn’t disagree more with this philosophy.of couples counseling.  Avoiding a problem doesn’t make it go away.  Especially during the first year of marriage there are a lot of ups and downs.  There are many adjustments and compromises that you learn how to do.  Running away in the middle of that learning is disastrous. It means you are not willing to take a some heat and learn with your partner.

You are sending out an awful message.  If I’m not pleased with you, you won’t find me.  That is not someone I would want as a life partner!  .  You learn how to zig when your partner zags and the only way to do that is to be there and try. You may not get it right but commitment is about staying power not straying. Marriage is not a bliss roller coaster and it shouldn’t be.  Being constantly in the throes of romance is a fast ride to burnout and disappointment.  You get married to live together and sometimes that means being routine or being irritable

I work with many newlyweds who are disappointed and scared that they are arguing during their first year of marriage.  They believe they should be in wedded bliss.  During your first year of marriage you are negotiating, finances, friendships, in-laws and it may be the first time you are living together. It is a lot of firsts.  And everyone has “feelings”  about no longer being single and what that means to them.  All of that comes up in the first year.

For couples out of the newlywed stage  it is still not a good idea.  If leaving seems the only thing you can do to stand each other  you need to look at your entire marriage.  It is saying you have no coping skills with each other.  That you don’t understand how to be supportive and you don’t understand how to be in a room with each other.  And of course two therapists are trotted out by CBS declaring this to be brilliant. (One huge sigh).

I have heard clients say I don’t know why I married in the first place.  That is a painful thing to hear a spouse say and painful to be the one saying it.  But once it is said you can begin to explore with both people what they believed marriage was in the first place, what they think it is now and what happened along the way.  At some point they started to give up on each other and they need to know what needs to be different and if everyone is willing to do the changes that are being asked for.  You might find that out alone, but you won’t be able to change it without the other person.

I understand wanting to be single after you get married but keep it in the private fantasy drawer.  Remember those old lines “for better or for worse”  this is what it meant.  Marriage is  a contract and happy marriages are marriages where the two parties are actively  renegotiating


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