Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marriage Retreat

About a month ago, I went on a marriage retreat. This was the first time I had been on one, although I have been on several Ignatian retreats. I thought the retreat was very good and would recommend it to anyone married or thinking about getting married.

There were several interesting things that I learned, I will try not to bore you with all the details. However, I think there were two main things that really hit home for me. One has to do with differences between men and women. Growing up, I really didn't think there were any psychological differences between men and women. I think this was most likely due to the indoctrination that was everywhere present at the time. Men and women are equal became men and women are equivalent. More recently, however, there have been steps back to the realization that men and women are different, not just physically, but psychologically. Of course, this is a generalization, and as a generalization will not always hold true, but for the most part, women tend to depend more upon emotion, intuition, and feeling, while men tend to depend more on logic, reasoning, and rationality.

This does not mean that women are less than or more than men, it just means they are different and thus, will most likely respond differently in certain situations. It also does not mean that women do not have logic, nor does it mean that men do not have emotion. Many things fall from this. Women tend to want reassurance. For a man, this can seem that the women wants reassurance because they have reasoned that the man does not, for example, love them, even though the man just told them last week. ;-D Generally, for a man, facts hold until told otherwise. But intuition and emotions can change even though we cannot see them and without any apparent external cause.

Without knowing this, a relationship can easily start to spiral. For example, a wife innocently starts asking for reassurance. The husband wonders "what he did" or why his wife doesn't believe what he told her last week. The husband keeps trying to reason out why his wife doesn't believe him and starts to become irritated. The wife does not get the reassurance she needs at the moment, thus causing her to need yet more reassurance, which then feeds the cycle. And no one knows what them problem is with the other. There are many other things that can fall from this.

Another important thing I got from the retreat is that our hearts were made for God. This means that our partner cannot completely satisfy our heart. This could be one reason for some people to have a sense that something is not completely right with their relationship. Both men and women can have this sense. For men, however, we tend to rationalize it away. As for women, they generally depend more on intuition. Thus, for women, this can be a more dangerous sense---if they do not know from where it comes.

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