Increasingly, in my psychotherapeutic practice I deal with the fact that people no longer feel satisfaction with the quality of their family life. They talk about boredom, there is no point in a relationship, alone in the family, lack of mutual understanding and respect on the part of the partner.
It is hard to imagine that such questions are excited our great-grandparents 60-80 years ago. Indeed, until recently, only a few generations ago, the family was created for the most part for the purpose of procreation, preservation and augmentation of capital, regulation and control of sexuality, identity subordinate to family values and rules. Today, such functions family almost lost. Modern couples are expected from other family union “dividends” – understanding, support, disclosure of internal capacity of spouses, respect for their individuality.
Individuality. This is perhaps the key concept that distinguishes the modern family model from the traditional! Our society becomes individualistic, the corresponding demands are made and the family: its purpose – to maintain the individuality of the partners, while maintaining its integrity as a system alliance. Modern Family poses partners challenge: how to be together, to be connected with each other, while keeping themselves, their values, their “self”?
This problem itself is dichotomous and requires a high level of emotional maturity partners, awareness, willingness to compromise. Here at this stage and begin the greatest difficulty! Preservation of identity of each partner assumes acceptance of the fact that we are all different, we each have their own “picture of the world,” expectations, representations, the family we have a completely different family scenarios that we have inherited from the parent lifestyle.
The problem is that most couples believe these differences are extremely dangerous for the relationship, and certainly do not view them as opportunities for development! Differences cause severe anxiety, assessed the risk for a relationship, and then begins a struggle for whose reality will win, under whose rules we live. Relationship risk to become competitive, they will appear discrimination, and in the struggle for power in the pair talk about personality and its development is no longer necessary, the main task is to survive, to save themselves and possibly to impose its rules on the family field. Is not it the truth is not quite like the pictures that we draw ourselves, when the decision to marry?
There are several ways in which the couple seeks to get rid of the differences in the family:
Method one . “I am you and you are I”, “we are so close that the words do not need” – the way in which my desires become your desires and, conversely, in which the blurred interpersonal boundaries in pairs, where the fusion partner is so great that any possibility of otherness killed in the bud. Warm and quiet. Melancholy and stuffy. Development of relations does not happen, they stagnate, and most such couples are destroyed because someone of the partners becomes unbearably crowded and uncomfortable, because of personality there is nothing left.
Method two . Distancing – a wonderful way to preserve their identity and not let to a partner. Fear of other absorption here is so great that for intimacy, empathy, warmth and mutual understanding has no chance. To develop such a relationship can not, for the simple reason that the need for the development of the contact, touch, movement forward. In a couple of partners usually feel lonely.
The third way . “I know how it should be” or an attempt to make another like myself – is the most famous and favorite way to deal with differences. Unfortunately, in practice it means going to war, the purpose of which – to erase the identity of the partner and to adopt its own as the only having the right to exist.
Where is the exit? How to learn to be associated with another, but remain ourselves? It is based on understanding and acceptance of the fact that differences exist , they are real and they can be and must be dealt with. Those couples who are not ready to accept the reality of what they are really different, are less likely to preserve the Union .. If we accept the reality in all its complexity, then and only then will we have the opportunity to go from “getting rid of the differences’ model to a model based on the cooperation between the two individuals.
Many modern psychotherapeutic approaches based on the understanding that the differences in the pair do not bear danger for the relationship, and on the other hand, are the key to their development and dynamics of providing necessary to maintain the individuality of comfort and freedom and enabling partners to learn together and cooperate to find a compromise. In my opinion, the success of family relationships is to learn to understand what it is we partner with are different from each other and how we can manage these differences.