He was one husband for the first eight years of their marriage, and someone quite different for the next eight.
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Or so the former Olympic rower James Cracknell, whose separation from his partner Beverley Turner was recently announced, apparently put it. Like most elite athletes he had always been formidably driven, obsessive even in pursuit of extreme sporting challenges. But a head injury sustained during one of them caused changes to his personality that were clearly hard for everyone in the family, including him, to live with. Either people simply grow apart, or both sides do things they regret in the death throes of a relationship.
Pinning blame on one side or the other can only increase the toxicity of it all for any children. So Gauke should hold his nerve through the inevitable protests to come; the harrumphing about how this will further undermine traditional marriage, the silly complaints that it will soon be easier to get out of a marriage than a mobile phone contract. It shows a curious lack of confidence in the resilience and appeal of marriage to imagine that people need to be browbeaten or shamed into staying in one.
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A happy marriage is not such a fragile flower that it will wilt at the mere thought of two men in a registry office, or of someone like Tini Owens finally breaking free. This means sitting down face to face and taking turns listening, understanding, and re-stating until both of you know you understand and are understood. If an issue is too difficult, you can postpone, but the person who asks for a rain check is the one responsible for deciding when the issue will be picked up again.
Nothing builds trust and breaks down the me-versus-you thinking better. We look at each other as a team.
I know his heart. I know he supports me. We learned early on in our marriage that there has to be room for all three of us — me, my husband, and my body pillow. That way we both wake up rested and happy. Value their passions, goals, interests, and needs and decide you will just absolutely support them.
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This works best if they do the same for you, too. If you love them and you helped make them, then you help take care of them. It's your job, too.
Tell yourself that. Then use that feeling to cultivate appreciation, respect, and emotional autonomy while weeding out disdain and contempt.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will have an amazing marriage. This means we love to do things together and talk to each other. We tell things to each other we'd never tell anyone else. We trust each other with everything and have a sense of humor. We have common likes and are open to trying new things.
It really comes down to knowing that no matter what, he has my back and I have his. Say thank you for the little things. It makes you feel appreciated daily.
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