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