Do All Couples Argue? Yes Says Dr. Roland Trujillo in Radio Interview
The following is a transcription of a radio interview of Dr. Roland Trujillo by Mike Simon recorded this year.
Mike: Welcome to the program. Today we have a real treat. My guest in the studio is Dr. Roland Trujillo and we're going to talk about fighting in relationships. First of all, welcome Dr. Trujillo, what shall I call you?
A. Thanks for inviting me. Just call me Roland, please.
Q. Okay, Roland. I'd like to give the listening audience a little biographical information first. If I get something wrong, please correct me.
Q. It says here that you have a Masters Degree in Human Relations and a Doctorate in Pastoral Psychology. Is that right.
A. Yes. But what I have to say is based on observation and intuition. And I always ask people to run what I have to say by their common sense. I don't want people to be wowed or awed by the degrees.
Q. We have a very intelligent audience, so get ready for some tough questions.
A. I look forward to it.
Q. I want to get right to the important stuff so I'll just say that you have had a radio advice program for 20 years, taught graduate and undergraduate courses for 18 years, have written 8 books and have three blogs dedicated to relationships. Is that right?
A. I've been busy haven't I?
Q. (laughter) Indeed. And finally, are you married and do you have kids?
A. Yes, we will soon celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary, and our son is in college.
Q. Great. Okay, here goes. What percentage of couples argue?
A. 100 percent. Let me explain. Somewhere along the line all couples argue.
Mike. 100 percent?
Roland: That's right. But there are a couple of qualifications. First, I have to rule out the marriages on paper only--you know, the so -called marriages of convenience like the Hollywood stars used to do for publicity purposes.
Secondly, I have to say that in about half the marriages, one side wimps out and then keeps quiet for peace (so the kids don't see arguing for example).
But I like to talk about the rule rather than the exception. Most relationships have lots of fighting interspersed with periods of calm. In fact, the average marriage begins with bliss, then vying for power in a game of ego one upsmanship, then when the halo effect wears off and the couple settles down to reality, there are good times and bad times, with a series of arguments and making up.
Some marriages eventually settle down into a modus vivendi where one side tends to give in most of the time, and on the surface everything looks fine but there are resentments and unfinished business underneath.
Mike: Wow. You just described my parents' marriage. Dad was kind of quiet. He let Mom be pretty much in charge of everything. He didn't say much. Mom complained about Dad quite a bit. Everyone thought they had the perfect marriage. But I have to say that Mom told us kids that she was unhappy.
Roland: Well, there you go. So what I am trying to do is help people like your mom and dad. In other words, basically good people. Since they are both good people, it is a shame that they should be secretly unhappy. I want them to be happy and stay married. "Married happily ever after" is what I would like to see and I think it is possible.
Mike: Roland, I have to tell you that I'm married. My wife is wonderful and we've been married 6 years. I do find myself clamming up quite a bit.
Roland: Do you have kids?
Mike: Yes. We have a 4 year old and a 6 year old.
Roland: And you don't want the kids to see you fighting, so you tend to give in for peace?
Mike: That's right.
Roland: Now you know what your Dad felt like! But for every dad that clams up for peace there are moms who do the same thing. And can you see that if you are--pardon me I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just saying this because it might help some of your listeners. . . .
Roland: . . . . if you become wimpy by failing to speak up, you give her the power and she becomes in charge. When things go wrong, you can secretly blame her. But can you see how saddling her with the responsibility and failing to be strong in a fatherly sort of way--she is tempted to resent you and have contempt for your wimpiness?
Roland: Then in your weakness, you eventually become just like your dad and she will be unhappy just like your mom!
Mike: I think it's time for a break! (laughter) When we get back I will open the lines for callers.
We've got about a minute before the break. Is there anything you would like to add?
Roland: Yes, Mike. I have to say that my biggest disappointment has been the way most visitors to my blog just show up for about 15 seconds and then leave.
Mike: Why is that?
Answer: It's because that's the average time that people stay at one place before they click on something else. But here I am with all these resources and help, and they miss it.
Mike: If there were one thing that you would like them to know before they leave, what is it?
A. That resentment underlies 99% of the negative emotions in a relationship. That's why I make people aware of the underlying dynamics, so that they can see, really see what is going on. They will then be able to have some compassion for their partner and for themselves. They will also see that we are all in the same boat, and understanding will help them forgive their parents too.
Mike: Go a head we have another minute before our break.
Roland: I love couples. I think relationships are the greatest thing, and I am saddened when I see little disagreements and hurt feelings between two good people snowball into big unfinished business or even divorce. Marriage was not meant to be a picnic, but it is an ideal setting within which to bring children into the world and in which to learn to be unselfish.
I think I can quickly help ailing relationships by pointing out somethings that very few other counselors really understand or even know about. Moreover I know what people can do to solve their issues and start loving and appreciating each other again. I'm not bragging. I'm just being honest.
Mike: In the 30 seconds we have left, give me a couple of examples of things most counselors don't know about.
Roland: for one thing: resentment. It is absolutely the most overlook thing that contributes to unhealthy arguments and breakups. Arguing is not a bad thing necessarily. Like I said we all argue. In fact, if it gets things out on the table, and people can have an animated discussion without resentment--it can be positive. Getting back to resentment--most people do not realize how destructive it is. Many don't even know they are resentful. And when they discover it, they don't know how to give it up.
We're running out of time, so I want to mention Adam and Eve.
Mike: Adam and Eve!?
Roland: That's right. Read my books and your eyes will be opened. You will see that you and your partner are Adam and Eve redux. After over 20 years of helping couples, I can see how we all repeat the old Garden of Eden story, and then what started off as a marriage made in Heaven becomes just the opposite.
Mike: We're out of time. How do they get your book.
Roland: It will soon be at Amazon.com. But right now it is available in eBook. Just go to my Healing Relationships website and there are links to preview it there.
Mike: Thanks Roland.
"Hello everyone. These are two books that I think you should have on your shelf (or on your
computer, Android or Kindle).
The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage is my most popular book and it covers the basic important stuff like no other book.
Putting the Forever Back in Love is a follow up to The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage.
Putting the Forever Back in Love has advanced strategies. If you have been married for more than 10 years and your marriage is in trouble, this is the book you will want to read.
If you have kids and want to have some advanced insights and strategies for parenting, then Putting the Forever Back in Love is definitely going to be on your shipping list.
Roland Trujillo, MS, D. Pastoral Psychology, is the author of 17 books. He is host of a radio advice program that currently airs in Southern California and around the country for 25 years.
In his new 350 page book Putting the Forever Back in Love Roland reveals little known secrets to marriage success.