Tag Archives: Privacy

Don’t Make These Marriage Mistakes

A marriage is a terrible thing to waste, especially when there are children involved.  People enter into marriages all the time with such optimism, but realize that perhaps they were overly optimistic.  Maybe you barely even knew the person, but you said you did because you had passion for them.  However, marriage is not about passion – that’s just part of it.  Marriage is about two healthy people learning to live together and take on struggles together.  They don’t turn on each other – they turn to each other. 

I want to talk about some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to marriage:

1. Before you get married, the various things that make you “you” get exercised with a number of different people in your life.  For example, you’ve got a friend you play golf with, somebody else you go beading with, somebody you talk to about politics, and somebody you share your religion with.  Well, do you know what happens when you get married?  You have the expectation that your spouse is now supposed to be the whole package, having all the accessories in life.  Your spouse should definitely be your best friend – no question about that – but not your only friend.  Some other people might be better mentors, workout partners, antiquing buddies, etc.

2. Sabotaging trust.  Love brought you together, but lack of trust will terminate everything.  Trust is all about the small things – hiding store receipts, telling small lies, and casual flirting.  If your spouse sees that you’re dishonest with the small things, they make the assumption you’re a big risk for the big things.  Be open and honest about the small things, and that way, you won’t be doubted.

3. Breaching privacy.  How many times have you heard me yelling at people on my show because they told their mother/father/sister/uncle/cousin/friend or posted on Facebook about what their husband or wife did?  They humiliated their spouse in public, made others think less of them, and now they’re wondering why their relationship stinks.  Don’t put your spouse in the position of feeling exposed and betrayed.  Don’t talk to friends and family about private things.  Just don’t.

4. Throwing around the “divorce” word every time you get pissy.  In the beginning of people’s marriages, even little disappointments and slights can turn into big arguments.  It’s no wonder why so many people call my show saying, “We’ve only been married a short amount of time and we’re fighting all the time.”  It’s because they went into the marriage with certain expectations, and then reality hit.  Their illusions about “he’s perfect…she’s perfect…it’s perfect” get dented and bruised, and they become angry about feeling let down, trapped, frustrated, and betrayed.  However, you have to see this as just “real people time.”  Don’t be throwing around “divorce” every time you have a disagreement.  Emotions can run high if you’re not good at resolving conflicts together.  In your minds, you should both be saying, “Divorce is not an option.  We must work to find a way to work through this.”

5. Insisting on being right.  Some of you folks do this like you’re arguing about what’s the best Italian restaurant in town. Constantly insisting that you’re right, that your opinion is the correct one, or that your way is the best way is a quickie way to make your spouse feel undervalued and underestimated. If you find yourself in this situation, whether it’s during a heated argument or just a friendly debate, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right or happy?”

6. You don’t spend enough time slurping each other.  When I talk to people on the radio, I don’t ask them if they are their spouse’s husband or wife – I ask them if they are their “husband’s girlfriend” or their “wife’s boyfriend.”  What I’m implying is whether or not they do all the flirting, slurping, complementing touching, cuddling, tickling, and smiling people do when they’re somebody’s girlfriend or boyfriend.  These are things that people tend not to do with their wife or husband.  It’s probably the biggest thing people admit to after going through a divorce: they know they weren’t slurpy enough.

If you’re thinking about getting married or contemplating why the hell your marriage isn’t going well, read my book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage, in addition to these tips.  Trust me, it’s really worth it. 

There’s No Such Thing As Internet Anonymity

Let me put things into perspective.  When I was a college professor, it was standard for students to fill out opinion surveys at the end of the course on what kind of job you did in the class.  Actually, when I was a student in college, we were asked to do the same thing and the opinions were anonymous.  Well, not in my case.  I always signed mine, because I felt if a crotchety, bitter student took out their failures, insecurities, and lack of effort on somebody who has an esteemed job and is earning a living and supporting a family, they ought to put down their name.  Otherwise, it presumes they expect something bad will happen if a teacher finds out.  That makes the teachers “bad” people and the students “good” people and I thought that was b.s. when I was a student.  So, I always signed mine, whether it was good or bad. 

When I got to be a college teacher, I gave that lecture.  If you are going to comment on me, good, bad or indifferent, you ought to stand up and be counted for your opinion.  Just like in a court, you have to face your accuser.  You shouldn’t be able to hide behind anonymity and hurt somebody.  Most students never signed them.  They were brought up with cowardice and the feeling of entitlement that somehow an 18-year-old kid knows what constitutes quality teaching based on whether or not they could do the work. 

Then we had the internet.  I’m not saying the internet is evil, just like electricity is not evil even though you can stick your finger inside a socket and die.  That does not make electricity evil.  The internet is not evil, but it can be used in an evil way, and it has been.  The greatest number of sites in any one category is porn.  It’s probably the number one way pedophiles get to rape, molest and murder your children.  Children give out all kinds of information because they are naïve and curious and thrill seeking and don’t get it.  I would also say most parents do not tightly supervise their kids’ use of cell phones and the internet in general. 

So, the internet has become a very dangerous place.  People can create accounts using other people’s names, they can hack in, they can put up horrible things, humiliate and try to destroy somebody and they can do all of this anonymously and they are protected by Google or whomever because they have a rule “we can’t tell.”  This is infuriating.  I got into a minor tussle, myself personally, where a website that has interesting information on one of my hobbies, also has forum sites where people use pseudonyms and the site protects the pseudonyms.  I don’t think there should be pseudonyms.  I see no reason for people to be able to comment on anything, anonymously.  I had a long discussion about that to the person running the site.  He thought there would be a lot more activity and therefore, he would make a lot more money, if it was anonymous.  Ok, so he follows the money. What can I do?

The anonymity, in my opinion, allows the worst in people to come out, especially kids.  Think about all the horrible things kids do to each other on Facebook and MySpace which have caused some kids to kill themselves, yet they are protected.  The anonymity allows evil to really flow.  So, it was interesting recently when there was an article in the New York Times saying “Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone.”  The article says:

Not too long ago, theorists fretted the Internet was a place where anonymity thrived.
 
Now, it seems, it is the place where anonymity dies.
 
Women who were online pen pals of former Representative Anthony D. Weiner similarly learned how quickly Internet users can sniff out all the details of a person’s online life. So did the men who set fire to cars and looted stores in the wake of Vancouver’s Stanley Cup defeat when they were identified, tagged by acquaintances online.
 
The collective intelligence of the Internet’s two billion users, and the digital fingerprints that so many users leave on Web sites, combine to make it more and more likely that every embarrassing video, every intimate photo, and every indelicate e-mail is attributed to its source, whether that source wants it to be or not.

I’m happy for  this erosion of anonymity which is a product of pervasive social media services, cheap cellphone cameras, free photo and video Web hosts, and perhaps most important of all, a change in people’s views about what ought to be public and what ought to be private. Experts say Web sites like Facebook, which require real identities and encourage the sharing of photographs and videos, have hastened this change.
 
People involved in riots also find themselves on the net.  If you do things in public in Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Syria, activists have sometimes succeeded in identifying victims of dictatorial violence through anonymously uploaded YouTube videos.
 
They have also succeeded in identifying fakes: In a widely publicized case recently, a blogger who claimed to be a Syrian-American lesbian and called herself “A Gay Girl in Damascus” was revealed to be an American man, Tom MacMaster.

The internet is getting to be less and less a place where bad guys can hide.  Should you be concerned?  Yes, a lot of you are innocently putting up a lot of information which gives the bad guys ways to get to you and yours, e.g., by signing up for dating sites.
 
I’m pretty careful, but still I get emailed all sorts of things.  For about a month, I was getting requests to sign up for senior dating sites. I must admit that ticked me off; I showed them to my husband and we couldn’t stop laughing because I said it was the “senior” part that ticked me off the most!