When It’s Our Turn to Take Care of Them The unique challenges of caring for our community’s seniors

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HUMAN BY NATURE

By: Mozelle Forman



Creating a happy marriage has always been a challenge, because the very things that are essential to a meaningful marriage do not come naturally
to us. Let’s take a look at the fundamentals – sharing, doing what we are told to do, and taking responsibility for
our actions.

The tendency to share is not an innate human quality. If it were a natural inclination, children would already know to offer half of their cookie to a friend or share their new toys with their siblings. As any
two-year-old will tell you,“mine” is our default mode. We have to learn the concept of “ours.”

A second aspect of human nature that hinders marital success is our disdain for being told what to do. Even if we had every intention of cleaning our car, the moment our spouse mentions it, we resolutely don’t want to do. The words “you should…” are like fingernails on a chalkboard to many, eliciting a visceral “No way!” in response.

Lastly, in order for marriages to thrive, we must cultivate an ability to accept responsibility for our actions and the results of those actions. As evidenced as far back as the Garden of Eden, Man (and Woman) have a hard time taking responsibility for their actions. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam (and Eve) utilized many of the defense mechanisms we still use today when denying responsibility: Hiding from Gd (avoidance), making excuses (rationalizing), and finally placing blame as an explanation of behavior (deflection). This pattern extends to the next generation as well; their son, Cain, exhibits the same inability to accept responsibility when he responds to Gd, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

So, given our human limitations, how do we create successful marriages? With awareness, commitment, and
education. As parents we need to set good examples of sharing, taking responsibility, and respecting each other for our children. As educators we need to help our students enhance their character traits. As marriage veterans, we must impress upon new couples the idea that marriage necessitates cooperation and respect. If executed well, married life can be a tremendous opportunity for growth.

 

Mozelle Forman is a clinical social worker in private practice for 20 years.
She welcomes your comments at
mozelle.relationshipsbydesign@gmail.com.