The most common and damaging misconception in marriages is the belief that to have a happy relationship we need to solve problems, those that arise whilst living together, or work out differences between partners. Not only is this practice unnecessary but it can actually be quite damaging and create more problems than those they solve. The correct approach is a lot simpler and far more effective.
One of the first lessons you will learn from this book is that to make your marriage more functional and fulfilling, you need to avoid working on marital problems and focus instead on following the wisdom of a set of laws, The Golden Rules of Marriage which, when respected, cause most problems to vanish.
Your relationship is governed by specific laws; those that regulate your thoughts, your mood and your attitude towards each other, and which make the game of marriage either easy to play or very complicated. By adhering to these rules you will be fostering feelings of wanting to be together, as different to having to be together, thus transforming your marriage into the enjoyable and durable institution it should ideally be.
You will learn that the differences that separate you are the very constituents for the success of your marriage, and that instead of eliminating these differences, you must profit from them – your marriage strives on compatibility, not similarities.
A crucial element in the success of your relationship is to understand what true love is. You will be pleased to know that love is something a lot simpler and a more down-to-earth feeling than the way it has been typically portrayed. You will discover that the force that binds you to each other is made of the same psychological constituents that create your attachment to all your possessions, including your car, your computer, or your clothes. By understanding these forces you will be able to appreciate the love you feel for each other in a more practical and constructive manner.
The future of your relationship stands on answering ‘yes’ to two fundamental questions: “Is it easy for my partner to love me?” and “Is it easy for my partner to live with me?” The wisdom of the Golden Rules of Marriage is contained in these questions. They refer to your ability and willingness to make matters easy and simple for each other and on fostering closeness, the constituents that power your love and make you a team. Answering ‘no’ to either of these questions foretells inevitable and unsurmountable hardships.
Life moves following two major strategies: cooperation and competition. Your marriage strives and develops on cooperation, and if you bring into it elements of competition, you are effectively introducing the very means for making it dysfunctional. The Golden Rules of Marriage are all designed to honour this fundamental premise, helping you perceive the importance of working with, and never against your partner.
In addition to these general rules, there are gender-specific obligations that apply to husbands and wives separately. They comprise concepts and strategies that both spouses must implement individually to cater for each other’s needs, thus facilitating teamwork and mutual gains.
In Chapter VI, the Golden Rules of Marriage are compiled into a training seminar that you and your spouse can complete at home over a period of five weeks. It is a step-by-step methodology covering the foundations of the rules and how they apply to your relationship. A credit-point system will help you instigate the necessary changes.
You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire to assess the state of your relationship before and after your training to appraise the benefits obtained.
In the last chapter, the book narrates a real-life counselling intervention program conducted by a professional psychologist. It demonstrates how these rules were implemented to assist a couple with marital difficulties.