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The Unwritten Marriage Contract

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What happened to true love?
All those years you phantasized about true love and relationships. You dreamt of the person you would love with all your heart, who would understand you, your friend and partner on the path of life, who would accept you as you are, help as needed, hug and love you always without any conditions. Then it happened. You found The One. Congratulations...
If so, why is your married life no longer just love and acceptance? What caused the tensions to emerge and turn into squabbles and quarrels? What happened to the perfect love? Isn't there an unwritten marriage contract here that should have ensured that all our needs would be met, and our expectations and wishes would be fulfilled?
Lets stop for a moment and examine the unwritten marriage contract that each of us has when we enter  into a permanent relationship.  What clauses are there in this contract? We are not talking about the Ketubah or about a physical contract that each person read and understood its contents. Behind the scenes of every marriage, exists a "secret" , unwritten contract made up of the different, even opposing and sometimes unclear expectations of each partner. It takes time for all the clauses of this unwritten contract to appear during married life, but each one of them is like thunder on a clear day and their cumulative effect may be increasing distress in the marriage At first, during the stage of romantic love (the honeymoon. period which may last for weeks or months), the hormones of love flood us with an infinite amount of understanding, patience and tolerance towards our loved one's little faults."He's so cute", even if he leaves his dirty clothes in every corner. "She's so cute", even if she burns to cinders any food she tries to cook. Months later the same faults  begin to irritate us. "When will you learn to put your stinking socks in the washing mqchine?", she says and he answers her with "On the same day that you learn to cook adequately." This is just the beginning of the process of uncovering the clauses of the contract and the start of the resulting power struggle. It was, after all , clear to him that if she really loved him she would learn to cook- just as it was perfectly clear to her that if he loved her he would learn to tidy his clothes and put them in the washing machine.
These "taken for granted" things are clauses in every unwritten contract.The problem is that neither patrner knows the assumptions and expectations of their spouse. This is a complex problem because there are three levels of expectations. At the first level are the needs and expectations that we eventually express but even so, our partner may understand them very differently from us. For example he has a need to be alone but he is unable to say when and how often he wants to satisfy his need - and his wife feels neglected. At the second level are the needs we are aware of but don't express out loud. They may include values like "loyalty" that we assume are shared by everybody.  The problem is that the word "loyalty" has a different meaning for each partner. For him loyalty means not being unfaithful to his wife. For her "loyalty" means that he won't go out once a week with the guys and leave her at home, neglected. There may also be expectations which we have never voiced out loud because we fear that they are unreasonable and our spouse will react with anger or ridicule. At the third level are the expectations that we are unaware of until our spouse does something to make us angry. The terms of the unwritten contract may cover many aspects of our lives: sex, spending money, relationships with parents and friends, bringing up children , the need for intimacy or independence. The list is endless.   What do we do when it all explodes?
Relationship Coaching aims to find solutions in precisely this kind of situation. It involves learning the values and expectations of each partner and uncovering all the terms of the unwritten agreement.With the tools of coaching , we help the partners negotiate a new agreement that is clear to both of them and satisfies both of them (if possible) or alternatively,to reach the conclusion that it's better to part amicably.
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