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He thinks "if it's not broke, don't fix it"


BalletGirl81
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My BF and I have been together for almost 11 months, and have lived together for 9 months. This is his first time living with a significant other, and I've been divorced (marriage lasted 1 year, was married for all the wrong reasons). Anyway, needless to say, I'm a little concerned with having another failed marriage, being that the divorce rate for second marriages is even higher than first marriage. I know that he is also concerned about divorces because his parents went through a hideous divorce. We talk about getting married, having kids, house, dog, etc. I've even asked him if he'd be willing to go to pre-martial counseling, and he said "Of course!". But, why is that when I ask him to read some "pre-martial" relationship books with me, he's so reluctant? He basically says "Well, there's nothing wrong with our relationship right now, so why bother?" But, I think that a relationship can always be worked on, and I believe they constantly need to be worked on. Not to mention, everything is not ALWAYS roses. Yes, on a whole, I'm happy with our relationship, but things can be improved. How can I explain to him that this is important to me, in a way that he'll positively respond? Thanks

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Hi there and welcome to enotalone.

 

He seems supportive when you suggested pre-marital counseling, so I don't think you should worry too much.

 

Perhaps his learning style is different than yours and he prefers something interactive instead of a book. It might be the idea of reading books that is making him reluctant. I agree that it is important to have some major issues ironed out before marriage- but at the same time- a relationship should never have to feel like a college course with books and reading assignments. (Yes it takes work- but it should not feel academic)

 

If you still want to use books then perhaps one like this would be effective:

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You could make it a "fun" task to ask one another the questions asked in the book. Make it more than a reading activity.

 

I believe they constantly need to be worked on.

 

It should not feel like "work" though.....If you over-do it, you can create a new problem from demanding to always work on it.

 

I can understrand why you're cautious, just don't let it completely take over the relationship. There's a fine line between a.) reciprocity and mutual desire and effort to make it work, and b.) over-doing it and seeming emotionally high-maintenance. Just be careful not to cross that line.

 

 

BellaDonna

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Welcome to ENA BalletGirl81! Great to have you around here.

 

The issue I see here is that he doesn't see anything "wrong", i.e., "broken", with the relationship. From my experience, men respond and understand logical, objective, and direct communication best.

 

So when he says this, the way I would appraoch this is to illustrate that there is something wrong relationship in the way you two both have had history with dealing with divorce and are now both scared of experiencing it for yourselves.

 

Explain this to him, that these fears lead you to build defenses, to detach, to question, to doubt, and those things can eventually become relationship-destructive...

 

Now, on a deeper level here, we all could spend everyday working on ourselves, our relationships, etc. and strive for elusive and non-existent perfection in such things. The bottom line is that at some point, we all choose to accept the situation as it is as imperfect. It becomes an issue of what is an accpetable level of imperfection to us and you guys seem to have different levels of acceptance there.

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I think in general, many people may see books like that as "self help" books, and are not so comfortable reading them. I can see some valid reasons for that too, in that they are not customized to the individual/couple involved, and give a blanket solution.

 

It seems to me he is totally cool with pre-marital counselling however, so I would not take it to heart.

 

Maybe he also is not sure of it yet as for him it is something you do during an engagement or as you are working more towards the marriage itself, and he is not "there yet". Time frame wise, 11 months is still quite short and he may be thinking that.

 

Have you discussed more concrete plans for engagement/marriage?

 

I also agree that while relationships require maintenance, it should not be something that feels like a forced issue, or where you are LOOKING for issues to fix...and he may feel that way a bit if you are telling him he needs to "fix things" now. Maintenance is about more than fixing things, it's also about caring for one another, listening, communicating...these are things that you can be doing right now without books too, and maybe he feels are done?

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Wow - Thanks everyone for your great responses. I can see the points made about basically not making a mountain out of a mole hill.

 

I think I might just get the books that interest me most, and read them myself, and keep them on the shelf incase he's ever interested - or maybe even bring up some good points in conversations. At the very least, I might learn a little something more than can help me, since I'm the one with the minor complex here.

 

Thanks

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