WE all want our marriages to remain in the honeymoon phase when everything is blissful and worries are at bay. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not money or infidelity, but other less frequently explored unflattering traits of a spouse that can significantly jeopardise the health of a happy home.
Relationship counsellor Wayne Powell examines some of these traits that men have that could influence you to throw in the towel and shares tips on how you can save your marriage.
So, you married:
Everyone needs love, even a miser. Chances are if you were in a relationship for a while then you should have picked up on his “Titus” mentality. Chances are he would have demonstrated this when he took you on dates; for example, he would become uneasy when you ordered an expensive dish, he would leave very small tips for the waiter/waitress, or on special occasions like your birthday, he wouldn't even buy you a card. So when you get married expect more of the same treatment. You have to accept the fact that your man is most conservative and so you may have to work your own money and treat yourself to the things that will make you happy. However, you will have to stand your ground and try and convince him that cheaper is not always better.
An emotionally unavailable man
Men like to act tough and void of emotions, but the closer you get and there is a connection, many let their guards down and invest themselves physically and emotionally in the relationship. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and being emotionally disconnected puts the health of your marriage at great risk.
“An emotionally unavailable man tends to be out of touch with his emotions and avoids emotional intimacy. He is not prepared to be vulnerable. It is as if you are living with a stranger,” Powell outlined. This, he says, means that you will not have the benefit of knowing the true feelings of your partner because he will lock you out, leaving you feeling a personal sense of neglect and rejection.
He warns that it may take some time for your partner to open up, but this requires patience and a great deal of understanding.
Gaslighting is a very powerful form of emotional abuse, where your partner constantly uses manipulative techniques — such as lies and deception — to belittle you and plant self-doubt.
“This is a strategy to brainwash you so that he can gain full control over you — making you his puppet on a string and pandering to his whims and fancy. He executes his deeds so convincingly that even if you are strong-willed and confident you might believe him,” Powell explained. He said that these people are often wounded people, seeking to feel better about themselves and their mental or physical inadequacies.
If you want to save your marriage, then you will need individual, as well as emotional therapy and convincing a gaslighter can be difficult since they are of the impression that they are right and everyone is wrong.
A man who has anger issues
A man with anger issues can be quite dangerous. He is likely to be physically and/or emotionally abusive and of course, this cannot be tolerated.
“When a man has anger issues in your presence you have to walk on eggshells to not ignite his match or press his anger button. Living with someone like this is quite frustrating,” Powell said. It can sometimes be difficult to get through to someone with anger issues, but Powell said that it is important that you approach him calmly. He said that you need to indicate to your partner that his anger outbursts are unacceptable and that he should engage in anger management sessions.
A man who has daddy/mummy issues
A man who is very close to his mother must understand the need to cut the umbilical cord, especially when he is in a committed relationship.
“You should not be competing with his mother for his loyalty and love. His mother will always be his mother and nothing can change that fact, but he must appreciate that his partner must be afforded the attention and devotion she needs to make her feel wanted and appreciated,” Powell explained. He recommends in this case that you should reason with your man about the issue, and discuss boundaries — what is off-limits versus what he can share with his mom or dad.
A man who is anti-kids
We live in a society where most men want to be fathers but there is a still a small fraction of men who do not want children and this may, of course, cause trouble in a marriage.
“This man may have good reasons why he may not like children and having them around may cause more harm than good. However, if his reasons are flippant then a serious talk must be had with him as a marriage/committed relationship is a partnership, not a sole proprietor arrangement,” Powell explained. To make sure that you are on the same page regarding bringing a child into the world, Powell recommends seeing if you can come to a compromise.
A lazy man
Lazy men are of course a big turn-off for any woman and it can be lethal in a marriage.
“Did he not show such tendencies before you got married? He may have some other good qualities, but overlooking his lack of industriousness is not a smart thing to do,” Powell said. He said that this could have implications for future and family accomplishments and if you intend to make things work you want to try to first reason with him, acknowledge when he makes an effort as this can be encouraging, give him ample time to get things done instead of threatening him with deadlines, avoid redoing things he has done, and invite him to assist you with chores sometimes.
A man stuck in 1950s gender roles
The truth is that while more men are moving away from this type of thinking, we still have some who believe in keeping the gender roles of the 50s alive — some out of insecurity and others out of blind loyalty to the past and their elders.
“So he may demand that you stay home and look after the children, cook, clean and take his slippers and the newspaper to him while he relaxes in his recliner after a long day at work. If this is the life you desire, then go for it. However, if you're from the modern era, you may want to hold your partner's hand and invite him into the 21st century where gender roles are no longer rigidly enforced,” Powell advised.
He suggested that this is why getting marriage counselling, understanding expectations, and learning the value of compromise is important even before marriage.