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Marriage provides us with the opportunity of having a meaningful relationship with one person. This is designed as a mutually supportive and exclusive union. With this individual we may share our hopes, dreams and longings. We should be able to also share our vulnerable feelings. We express ourselves intellectually, emotionally, sexually and spiritually. We are tied together financially and hopefully are each others best friend. This relationship provides us with a core sense of connection, a point of reference in our daily decision making and an "inner committee" where we discuss, explore, process and make our most important life decisions.
When a marriage is happy, it consists of two independent individuals who are each pursuing their own fulfillment with the support of the other while maintaining a close connection. Marriages are ever changing dynamic entities that from time to time encounter difficulty. The problems may be external circumstantial issues such as the illness of an extended family member or the death of a friend. It could be as the result of a developmental stress in the relationship such as the birth of a child or it could be a communication problem or as the result of one spouse being under pressure or changing. Marital problems are usually extremely stressful as the problem itself causes distress and at the same time the marriage temporarily ceases being the supportive resource that it had been for both parties. The sooner marital problems are addressed the more likely it is that they can be remedied. One of the most frequent mistakes that people make is to not address marital issues as they arise. They may be afraid of offending their partner or of making things worse. They usually find over time that they can't be themselves in their relationship. This is tragic because the very value of the relationship they are trying to protect is becoming compromised. This is a time that people might choose to seek assistance.
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