3 ways you know your marriage is in trouble
Dr. Orna Guralnik of Showtime's 'Couples Therapy' series reveals the tell-tale signs of matrimonial fracture.
Getting an appointment with Dr. Orna Guralnik might require waiting in line. The Israeli psychologist with offices in Manhattan is the star of Showtime's hit documentary series "Couples Therapy," which follows four couples as they go through six months of intense therapy. She's in high demand since the show has become a runaway hit.
If you're looking for advice for your own relationship, you could watch the show and look for echoes of your own issues in the real-life marriages depicted on screen. You could see what advice Guralnik gives to them and perhaps apply it to your own life. Or you could, like we did, seek her advice while interviewing her about the show.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with New York-based therapist about "Couples Therapy" and, when we were done talking about the series, we asked if she could tell us a few tell-tale signs that a marriage is in trouble. Here's what she told us to look out for...
Don't create an 'other'
She said one of the most important elements to a healthy marriage is accepting who the other person is. "The most general way to think about it," she explained, "is when they have a great trouble dealing with what I call 'Otherness with a capital 'O.'" Does your spouse have a different belief system than you? Are you a neat freak and your partner messy? Being a perfect match doesn't mean being the same as one another, but rather being able to accept each other's differences.
Don't play the blame game
"When there's a difficulty accepting who the other person is, that's when people get very locked into the dynamic of blame," Guralnik said. "This is when they attribute bad things, bad feelings or bad experiences to the other person. They split off the bad feelings, and project it onto their partner." She said this is a one-way ticket to relationship woes. "It's that kind of a consistent way of operating, that will ultimately create a lot of strife and difficulty."
Don't belittle your partner
Guralnik brought up the work of Dr. John Gottman, one of America's most highly regarded marriage researchers. The Seattle-based scientist has developed a method where he puts a couple in a room and watches them argue. He can predict with 90% accuracy if they will get divorced. One of his key determining factors is if couples fight respectfully or if they go for the low blow. As Guralnik put it: "If people use a lot of devaluation and contempt towards the other, that will erode a marriage."
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