Why Do Couples Fight? A Radio Interview with a Marriage Consultant
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 PhD in Pastoral Psychology. It also says here that you are board certified by the American Board of Professional Counselors and are a member of the American Psychotherapy Association. Is that right?
A. Yes. But what I have to say is based on 20 years of observation, research, and above all common sense. 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 my 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 20 years, have written 11 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.
Mike: You mean my partner and I are not the only ones?
Roland: Mike, let me assure you. You have lots of company. Let me explain. Somewhere along the line all couples argue.
Mike. 100 percent?
Roland: That's right. But I want to clarify. 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. They don't argue, but they also don't care! People don't argue unless they care. 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). So here there is no arguing, but there are hidden resentments and unfinished business underneath.
Mike: Wow Roland: I also want to quickly say that it's all very repairable. I'm very positive and solution oriented. The secret is understanding and then learning to argue in the right way.
Mike: Tell me more about what you have seen happening in typical marriages.
Roland: Most relationships have lots of fighting interspersed with periods of calm. In fact, the average marriage begins with bliss. Then when the honeymoon is over and the halo wears off, there is typically a period of vying for power in a game of ego one upsmanship. Finally the couple either breaks up or settles down to some sort of accommodation. 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 ahead. 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 talk about. Moreover I know what people can do to solve their issues and start loving and appreciating each other again.
Mike: In the 30 seconds we have left, give me a couple of examples of things most counselors don't talk enough 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 arguing 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 all over again." 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.
But all it takes is a few insights (such as people will find in my book) and a willingness to be more forgiving, and a troubled relationship between good people can be restored. And a good relationship with a few issues can become a marriage made in Heaven.
Mike: We're out of time. How do people get your book. Roland: It will soon be available in quality paperback at Amazon.com. But right now it is available for a reduced price in eBook. Folks can just go to my Healing Relationships website and there are links to preview it there and download it to their computer or mobile device.
Mike: Thanks Roland. .
New! Now, for a donation of any amount, get The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage in eBook format as a token of our appreciation. Roland Trujillo, author, lecturer, marriage consultant and senior pastor introduces his new comprehensive look at the challenges and mysteries of relationships. For over 20 years, Roland has been helping couples repair their relationships and move forward to optimal living is now bringing his insight driven solutions, based in compassion and common sense, to a new level this unique 315 page book.
"Reading this book was like attending a two day marriage repair and renewal workshop. Thank you." The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage - making relationships work.
Written by Dr. Roland Trujillo PhD in Pastoral Psychology and based on 20 years of counseling and coaching couples
Here are just some of the chapter titles
The Dating and Mating Game Is Not a Game
“A Rose by Any Other Name is Still a Rose”
Why I Decided to Become a Pastor
Where to Find Real Solutions to your Relationship Woes
Why Couples Argue Myths of Marriage
Sex in Marriage – The Shocking Truth How to Forgive and Forget
How to Apologize and Clear the Air with Dignity
Just How Important is Dad?
Marriage Counseling for Men
Can I Reconcile with My Husband, Wife, or Child?
Is Food Your Secret Lover and Enabler?
Dealing with Hard Times
Adam & Eve: The First Dysfunctional Family
My Husband is Annoying
My Wife Asked Me to Move Out –What Should I Do?
Advice to Divorced Moms
My Wife Cheated on Me – Now What?
Finding the Best Marriage Advice – Trust Your Instincts
The Strong Family—Ten Lessons in Faithfulness
Coming soon to Amazon.com in quality paperback and Kindle. But you can read this page turner right now.
Roland is making his new book available in eBook to download to your computer or mobile device right now.
To read chapter one free and for information about previewing this relationship success manual, click here