The Bulletproof Marriage team welcomes expo visitors to stands G10 and G11 where engaged couples can invest in their lives together by learning what makes a successful marriage and how they can live happily ever after.
Written by counsellors Renato and Cristiane Cardoso, the book explains why relationships fail, shares wisdom on how to love intelligently, provides tools to manage marriage successfully and offers practical advice on how to safeguard marriage and say no to divorce.
Besides creating awareness of the book, which is available at the show special of R150, the team offers free, non-judgmental, confidential relationship counselling at the Bulletproof Marriage stand. Since this service was introduced three years ago, response has been overwhelming, with young couples saying how valuable it was to be able to chat through challenges with people who have overcome difficulties, and partners who have been married for many years, saying they learned insights and problem solving strategies that have strengthened their relationship.
Writing in his regular blog, Renato Cardoso highlights common complaints that he and his wife hear when counselling couples. One of these is the dream of: “I want someone who completes me, to find my better half, my significant other, my soulmate.” In response he writes:
Marriage wasn’t designed to complete a person. Marriage was created so that two complete people may form a partnership that will result in something much stronger and beneficial than if they remained alone.
In the mathematics of a marriage between two complete people, 1 + 1 can equal 3, 5, 10… the result is maximised.
Complete people complement each other within marriage, while incomplete people torment and bring each other down.
Don’t look for someone who will complete you; be complete first so you won’t place a burden on your partner by expecting them to make you happy.
Another common solution to relationship challenges is: “I’ll find someone better.” Renato Cardoso writes: When a couple faces a crisis and they can’t overcome it despite many efforts, it’s common for them to think that breaking up is the best option. “I’ve chosen the wrong person,” they say. “But I’ll find someone better.”
The truth is that even if they move on to a new relationship, they’ll realise that, to make it work, they’ll have to make the very same efforts they’re now trying to avoid in their current relationship.
Yes, you need to find someone better — but this someone is you. You need to find a better way of being, evolve as a person, and make changes to grow. This will increase the chances of you breaking out of this crisis.
Sometimes separation is inevitable. But in most cases, it’s unnecessary. All that is needed is that at least one of you decides to find their better self.
Offering wisdom on how to be more mature, Renato Cardoso writes: One of the main signs that someone is mature and fully grown is that they’re capable of taking responsibility for their actions and reactions. On the other hand, a grown-up who is immature, childish, or simply not fully developed, tends to blame others for what they do.
For example, if a husband doesn’t understand that he’s responsible for his own temper, he may even blame his wife for his verbal abuse of her. “You provoked me, that’s why I insulted you. Had you not done this, I wouldn’t have done that.” In other words, he takes zero responsibility for his actions.
A wife who doesn’t understand that she’s responsible for her own feelings may feel unhappy and blame her husband for her unhappiness. “You don’t pay attention to me, that’s why I’m needy.” Her message to him is that she’s needy because she lacks his attention. She holds him responsible for how she feels. In fact, his behaviour is something that should be addressed separately from her feelings. Yes, he’s accountable for what he does, but she alone is responsible for how she feels. As a complete and mature person, she should deal with the problem without all the drama, without playing the victim.
A complete person takes control of their actions and reactions. There are many things around us that we can’t control, but when we understand that we’re responsible for ourselves, then we can be considered grown-ups.
It’s impossible to be mature without being responsible.
Another common relationship challenge is how to confront unacceptable behaviour in a marriage. Renato Cardoso writes: Love is not all about romance. At times, it requires confronting the person we love when they’re wrong.
Understand that confronting someone does not mean attacking the person. This is how it should be done:
Be certain that there is wrong and unacceptable behaviour.
Make sure you’re not in error yourself.
Be clear about the change you want to see and the consequences you are willing to bring about and suffer if the change doesn’t happen.
Communicate your position to your partner in a clear and respectful way.
Act according to what your partner decides to do (bearing in mind that if he or she doesn’t decide, that itself is a decision).
We grow when someone who loves us “wounds” us by telling us the painful truths we need to hear.
The desire to control your partner is another common area of conflict. Renato Cardoso says: Love cannot thrive in an environment of control. Few things bring more stress into a relationship than one’s attempts to have control over their partner.
Love should be given and shown freely, not by pressure. If it’s done by pressure, then it’s not out of one’s free will; therefore, it’s not love.
Only when there’s freedom, can we give and receive love. When you’re free to be with other people but chose to be with your partner, he or she knows you truly love them.
Love and control don’t play well together. To love is to set limits to your freedom, out of your own free will, for the sake of the person you love.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to control your partner, you should stop it right now. Set your boundaries clearly and let your partner know the consequences of not respecting them, but never impose your will on them. It’s like the posted speed limit on a freeway: it’s there, but you can ignore it if you want – subject to persecution by law. Just set the limits and make the consequences of ignoring these limits clear; then, stick to them.
If your partner is controlling, it’s probably because they have issues with insecurity. Try helping him or her by reassuring your love and feelings for them through words and actions. In doing so, you’ll be able to resist when the urge to control them strikes.
The book, Bulletproof Marriage: Your shield against divorce is filled with wisdom gained from personal life experience and years of counselling couples. It offers practical solutions to ensure a win-win situation for both parties in the relationship. Singles wanting to prepare for marriage and married couples wishing to live happily together, can gain insights and learn valuable lessons from this practical relationship toolkit.
For counselling, book sales or further information, please contact the Bulletproof Marriage team on 011 224 3413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Bulletproof Marriage website: www.bulletproofmarriage.org.