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Marital Bliss

There was an interesting article in yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Review about the difficulty of maintaining happiness in a marriage after the first two years (but hang in for another 20 years or so, and it may return).  Though I found exception in my own life to the timetable and also the belief that happiness always departs, I know from conversations with clients that joint joy is sometimes hanging on by a thread.

Whenever a conversation client starts out with “Am I responsible for…?” I know my client wants to do something counter to her or his conscience and/or in contradiction to the contract. I usually hear “Oh, yeah, that’s what I thought” after I explain the questioner’s obligations (or sometimes, lack thereof).

Once, after I had this most predictable conversational exchange, I went off-script and asked, “Just out of professional curiosity, if you knew this is what I was going to say, why did you ask?”

The man’s reply indicated that he wanted to maintain his marriage happiness for as long as possible: “So I can tell my wife that while I totally agreed with her, you said we couldn’t do it.” 

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