By Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta
Marrying partners begin their relationship life together reciting vows in a public display of commitment to one another. Whether the words spoken follow a traditional pattern or are a unique personal construction they essentially come down to the same thing: a promise to love honor and cherish each other.
The problem is that while sincerely making this pledge partners lack a clear understanding of what it requires and how to carry it out in their daily interactions.
Why this confusion? Because across all fields of society we are witnessing a fraying of core healthy values and the increase of a pernicious "me first" survival mentality. This mindset, with its narrow operating program of self interest, self protection and self expansion makes it impossible for partners to go past themselves and love, honor and cherish one another. It's core value is a self-centered selfishness, carried out by an overdeveloped ego which always wants to come first, holds onto hurt and anger and finds it very difficult to put another's needs before it's own.
Selfishness and its "me first" way of being is toxic to marriage. It accumulates anger, creates mistrust and kills love. It turns once in love couples into alienated roommates and robs them of the well documented health benefits, both emotional and physical, of a close loving relationship.
Our research into a healthy marriages and our long clinical experience helping partners in struggling, survival oriented relationships makes it clear that there are three core values which replace selfishness in long lasting passionate, healthy love relationships. These core values are Truth, Harmony and Goodness.
If you truly want a bombproof, happy marriage then you will replace selfishness with the value of Truth, which gets expressed in a relationship as personal integrity. Personal integrity means holding yourself to a standard of truthfulness, of honesty in your words and deeds. It means being faithful, not saying yes when you mean no, not lying, not being hypocritical, acting one way when you feel another. Truth lived out as personal integrity creates a level of trust between partners that is unquestioned. This kind of rock solid trust bonds partners together, giving each a shared sense of deep personal security.
To Be Continued in Part 2