Studio 5 Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Liz Hale, is here to get us back on track and straighten out our priorities…and to explain more about “The W.A.M.”
The “W.A.M.” can help prevent our relationships from hitting the skids! It stands for Will, Attitude, and Motivation! W.A.M. came from author, Sheryl Kurland who interviewed 75 couples married 50-years or more – that’s over 4,000 years of marriage documented in her book “Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years of More.” I’m a lover of history, and while these couples didn’t have modern technology demands, they certainly had others. Perhaps they had more tolerance because they didn’t know high-speed anything! These are true role models who have walked-the-walk and talked-the-talk. These are couples who when the going got tough, they spoke the “D” word. I’m not talking “divorce” – but “determination.” But they seemed more determined and tolerant than many of us in younger generations. They instinctively knew that they grass was greener….. under their own four feet!
So when the going got tough, how did these couples resolve their arguments? Amidst the research in these 4,000 years of marriage, it seemed to come down to 3 key areas:
1) Your Department, My Department (Toothpaste cap vs. wet towel departments)
2) Adult Time Out (Take 30 minutes to determine solutions not how angry you are)
3) “Argumometer” (Is what I’m fighting for going to matter one week from now? Don’t sweat the small stuff, in other words.)
One of the couple’s feature in the book, caught my eye: Here’s what Andrew and Renee Flager, of 58-years, had to say:
• Not every comment requires a response.
• Don’t criticize each other’s parents…..ever!
• Apologize quickly!
• Compliment frequently.
• Eat first – then discuss.
• Ask for what you want!
That last suggestion can be a hard one for wives because they want their husband to just know what we want…..he should right?! We really shouldn’t have to ask for it. If I suggest just one thing to married women it would be to get over that belief system. Here’s what I know about men: they really want to please their gal! So set them up for success! For instance, “Honey, there is a new movie opening up on Friday and I’d love to see it with you. Would you please arrange that and take me?” OR, “I just need you to listen to me for 10-minutes…you don’t have to offer suggestions or fix anything. I will feel so much better.” Then be sure and say afterwards, “Thank you I feel so much better!” When women are happy, guess who takes the credit? (Men!) And when women are unhappy guess who blames themselves? (Men!) Help them win….and get what makes you happy, lowers your stress, and draws you closer to your sweetheart.
Bottom Line: Regardless of the age of any couple – some days love will sizzle; others it’ll fizzle. Every relationship has its times of closeness and distance – of ebb and flow. Sometimes you just have to wait faithfully until the tide turns. As one couple explained, “Every couple has something they’re good at; parenting, entertaining, traveling, or home projects. Find that something and when times are difficult, do it! Do it while you pass the time until things shift…and they usually do!
Last week, Dr. Liz asked how you “Keep the Passion Alive” in your own marriage – Click here to read how our Studio 5 viewers spice up their relationships.