WOU hosts talk on Marriage and Relationships

Attention, appreciation and affection are important to keep marriages and any relationship going, according to well-known psychologist Paul Jambunathan. He listed some common prevailing negative language processes that occur in a marriage, and these include: silent treatment; emotional arsenals where you remember all the bad things and make snide remarks or put down your spouse in public; attacking one another instead of the problem; not being honest; overly critical without proposing solutions; making sweeping statements; not admitting when wrong; emotional abuse and violence.

Psychologist Paul Jambunathan offers his expert advice.

Psychologist Paul Jambunathan offers his expert advice.

Speaking at a public talk on ‘Marriage: An Alternative Language of Love’ at the WOU main campus, he advised partners to “talk about your values, what or how your feel about things.”

He said emotions are always simmering behind every human behaviour, suggesting they get in touch with how their spouse is feeling instead of making problems the central focus. He asserted, “If you spend talking with people who matter in your life, then you don’t need to see someone like me.”

Paul finds that most people basically need to be loved, need to feel important, and need to be able to make choices. He noted that problems arise when people chase exorbitant needs and wants. “All relationships need to get the balance right. Don’t let your wants and needs overtake you.”

He clarified that relationships are dynamic and must therefore be “communicative, enthusiastic, thoughtful, supportive, sensual and fun”. He felt that if partners are not having fun in their marriage, then they need to re-examine the relationship as the emotional aspect of their marriage is going stale.

Giving emphasis to his points.

Giving emphasis to his points.

He lamented that the company called ‘family’ and today’s marriages are disintegrating. “As directors, we hold meetings but when do we sit down as partners to discuss the goals and visions for our family?” he asked. “You have to sit down and talk. Most of us in our marriages are deaf and dumb. And we find a lot of excuses.”

He said among the common complaints for unhappiness are breakdown in communication, demands, expectations not made known, criticism, manipulation, overprotection, taken for granted, or intrusion from the extended family.

Paul, who had come close to death from heart attacks and a near road mishap, urged to show affection daily to family members and not wait until close to death. He proposed physical intimacies like touching or hugging, conversation, recreational companionship like doing things together, honesty and openness, domestic support, attention, and being aware of the emotions of your partner.

He listed some common prevailing negative language processes that occur in a marriage, and these include: silent treatment; emotional arsenals where you remember all the bad things and make snide remarks or put down your spouse in public; attacking one another instead of the problem; not being honest; overly critical without proposing solutions; making sweeping statements; not admitting when wrong; emotional abuse and violence..

About 200 people attended the three-hour talk organised by the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) and Pusat Perkhidmatan Wanita (PPW), Seberang Perai, with the support of State Women, Family and Community Development Committee.

The crowd enjoys the entertaining talk.

The crowd enjoys the entertaining talk.

Paul is a consultant clinical psychologist at Sunway Medical Centre and senior lecturer at Monash University School of Medicine.