Here comes the continuation of my summary of the book „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier.
I think the author has some interesting and valid points – I think: I am not even married one year, so I am looking forward to read your comments =)
I try to excerpt the most important viewpoints here.
The first condition for mutual understanding is the „desire“ for understanding.
Tournier describes a couple where the wife was „suffering because the husband did not pay attention to her.“ He says that this couple was „one of many“, where „gradually man and wife have grown apart without there ever having taken place any serious conflict.“ Tournier mentions that there are many couples which „live side by side, without hurting one another, but poles apart because of no real understanding of one another.“ He says that there is „an important difference between degrees of understanding. Many people live for years together without deep understanding, without even seeking it. This we see in outstanding, cultured, intelligent families, people of the very highest order, learned men, even professors of psychology.“
Tournier mentions that the so-called “emotional incompatibility is a myth.” “There are misunderstandings and mistakes, however, which can be corrected where there is the willingness to do so.
He points out that the most frequent fault seems to him the “lack of complete frankness.” He sees many couples and he discovers behind their difficulties this “lack of mutual openness, a loyal and total openness to one another without which there can be no real understanding. A couple who are courageous enough always to say everything will without doubt go through many upsets, but they will be able to build an ever more successful marriage.”
He says that many couples “no longer realize, that they are hiding a part of their real feelings from each other, a part of their ideas, convictions, and personal reactions.“
And then he points out that many couples „put aside certain subjects“ in order to have peace, but these subjects are most important for their „coming to a true mutual understanding.“ So „they are starting to become strangers to one another…“
In the bibel we read, that when a woman and a man marries „they shall no longer be two, but one. And what does it mean to be one? Obviously „not to have secrets from each other. As soon as a couple begin to hide matters from one another they compromise the basic openess of marital life. They start off on the road to failure. This is true even if it is done out of the best intentions, or even if it is a very good thing that is hidden.“
???I think Tourniers points are very interesting and I would be interested to hear from experienced couples (I am only married for a few months now, so I am not that experienced): Do you think Tournier has a valid point? What is your experience with understanding the partner???
Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier