Save Your Marriage

Josh and Kaitlin just had another big argument. This time the huge spat was over the toothpaste tube.

Last week they had a big argument over money. Two weeks ago the argument was over whether to have the window open or closed.

Each time she throws everything in his face. He clams up. Nothing is solved. Another layer is added to unfinished business and baggage from the past, which resurfaces the next time they argue.

To the untrained observer, it would appear that the issue was the toothpaste tube, money or the window. But to Dr. Roland Trujillo, not so.

"The toothpaste tube is only the occasion for pent up hostility, suppressed angers and long standing unfinished business to burst forth."

Roland continues: "Here's the rest of the story. Josh comes home from work and sits down in front of the television. Kaitlin had been working all day and taking care of the kids. She feels unappreciated.

Josh can sense that she is angry about something, but he doesn't want to begin a conversation because he knows the dam will break and she will throw a long list of things in his face. So he avoids talking.

Josh stays home in the evening even though his friends want him to play cards with them. He is angry because she does not appreciate his sacrifice. Kaitlin complains that the repair he made in the bathroom is not working so she is going to have to call someone else to do it who knows what they are doing. Josh feels like she does not respect him.

Kaitlin wants to talk. She hopes the maybe when thy go to bed, they can talk like they used to. Josh falls asleep right away. Kaitlin feels unloved.

Kaitlin admits to her friend that she tends to throw everything at him all at once. He probably feels overwhelmed says her friend. I know, says Kaitlin, but I can't help it. I keep trying to get his attention."

And once she does, everything that she has been holding in comes out. Afterwards she feels guilty about it.

Josh tells his friends that he loves his wife, but "she is never satisfied with anything I do." "I'm always wrong."

Soon one or both of them are thinking: "I'm tired of arguing. I'm tired of not being appreciated. I'm tired of being the one who has to work on our marriage. I'm tired of always giving in for peace. We have nothing in common. The love is gone."

Here's the bottom line, says Roland. Kaitlin is resentful. And so is Josh. It is the resentment that causes the accumulation of hurt feelings and hostility. The accumulation of upset leads to either exploding in anger or suppressing and clamming up. Neither is healthy.

Resentment washes away reason. Resentment takes away the ability to be reasonable and calm. It leads to frustration and upset. These lead to discouragement, feeling tired, negative thinking, stress and physical symptoms that stress contributes to.

I can help, says Roland. By learning to let go of resentment, you stop upset, frustration, bitterness, discouragement and all the other negative symptoms and feelings. It is also resentment that makes you feel empty.

Roland, which of your relationships books should I read first?

A. Thank you for your great question.

Many people are searching the Internet and find my Healing Relationships website. They read one of my blog posts, and it has the ring of truth to it. So they read some more posts, perhaps listen to me on Blogtalk radio and look inside a book or two.

They want to work on their relationship and also want some in depth answers to relationship issues and so they decide to get one of my books and start reading.

Here is a little guideline

If this is the first book of mine you are about to read and you want to understand the basics, then  I recommend you start with The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage.

If you are purchasing two books - one for yourself and one for your partner - try starting with The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage

If you are purchasing a book for someone else - who you think would benefit from reading it, like maybe your grown son or daughter, or perhaps a friend or relative, I think I would start with The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage. 

The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage is my most popular book and it covers the basic important stuff like no other book. If you just read one book on relationships, this is the one for you. If you are engaged and considering marriage, this is the one. If you are in a long term or short term relationship, and you are having some issues, get this book right away.

If you have been married for 10 years of more and serious issues and feelings have arisen, then you might start with Putting the Forever Back in Love.

Couples who have been married for 10 or 20 years are more likely to be having thoughts like "we don't have anything in common" or we stayed together for the kids and now they are off to college, so should we get divorced?"  or  "I'm unhappy and bitter about what he or she did and I can't forgive him."  I address these sorts of questions directly in Putting the Forever Back in Love. 

Of course you could also go ahead and get both The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage and also Putting the Forever Back in Love. They are both good reads and also good resources. (if you get one of my books, read it and would like the other book but can't afford it, send me an email and I will send you a pdf of the book for free.

If you have kids and have parenting issues,  Putting the Forever Back in Love has some of my best parenting articles in it.

If you want to give a book to someone - like The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage - and you suspect that this person might not read it right away, then get them the paperback version. That way, it can sit on the shelf, and one day, they might see it and pick it up and start reading.

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