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How can I help my parents' marriage?

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My parents have had an increasing conflict between them over the last few years. It has come to a point now where both my parents forget they are talking in front of guests or kids and say things they should not. I'm an Indian and it is uncommon to seek help from a psychiatrist here.

The difference between my parents' ages is seven years. My dad turned 50 this year. None of my parents' tastes match and they are both very, very different people, but they've been together for the last 22 years. They love each other immensely and are unable to show it to each other.

These conflicts have been affecting me and my siblings to a great amount. When I tried to tell them this, they just told me I would not understand anything and continued their fight. I have no idea how to explain to them to keep the fights out of view of children and to find happiness with each other.

This question was submitted by 'Avni'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Avni and thank you for your question.

Sometimes it's really hard for people to 'see their behaviour from the outside'. I'm not suggesting you resort to filming your parents' discord, but they might be amazed to view their own behaviour if you did. No one - not you, I, or anyone else - can make them improve their relationship or the way they conduct themselves in front of the children. One thing you can do is show them this, what I have written here. They might read it or not, depending on how sincere they are about self-improvement, but it's worth a try.

Something they need to be aware of is that emotions are contagious. Low morale spreads from person to person and even from group to group. Whenever they argue, it is never contained when done in front of others. The anger, cynicism, criticism, and general negative feeling spreads even to those not directly involved. That is why it is selfish.

If they are big enough to look at themselves more objectively, then show them this article: 'Stop Arguing Your Relationships to Death'. Also, get into the habit of apologizing for them when they argue in front of guests. When you do this, it will help them to step outside of themselves for a moment - if they are capable of that - and see their behaviour for what it is.

Good luck. : )

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - October 9th, 2014 in

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