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Introduction   ::  Problem Sources  ::   Moral Sense   ::   Two Worlds   ::   Escaping

Three Sources of Our Problems

"Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you. You only have to become quiet enough to hear them."
-Debbie Ford

Discussion: What Gets Us In Trouble

Ignorance, incompetence, and resistance to conscience are all relationship problems we can do something about. We can overcome ignorance and incompetence through learning, practicing, and putting into place new skills. As you consider marriage and making preparations for it, you will hopefully engage in a variety of learning and skill-building activities. These activities are valuable and will contribute greatly to your chances of having a strong and long-lasting marriage. Your marriage preparation education may come from religious leaders, parents, books, professional counselors, other couples, classes, lectures, videos, pamphlets, or websites such as this.

Hundreds of valuable books and workshops have been created to help people become better husbands, wives, and parents. We can learn how to better communicate, resolve conflict, deal with stress, manage our finances, as well as hundreds of other things. So, why do we continue to struggle in our relationships in these areas? It may be because there is still more to learn about how to do well in each of these areas, which is a worthwhile effort. However, some of our struggles may have more to do with our resistance to, or refusal to use, the knowledge and skills that we already possess in each of these areas. Resistance to conscience is when we refuse to do what we believe is right to do.

When we resistant our conscience, we refuse to act on our knowledge and skill to seek solutions to problems and we are creating the very problems we are trying to solve. Instead, we use the knowledge or skills we do have to justify ourselves in our resistance. When we are resistant to our conscience, we are "blind to the truth of the situation," and this includes being blind to the solutions. 1 (Note: More examples of this will be shared in the following module.)

Relationship Problem Source Solution
  • Not reading or learning about positive relationship skills.
  • Poor role model(s).
  • Visit educational websites.
  • Read good relationship books.
  • Ask happy couples how they do it.
  • Ask religious leaders, family, and friends.
  • Not practicing what you have learned.
  • Poor role model(s).
  • Lack of skill to do differently.
  • Practice using what you have learned in your own relationship.
  • Role play with your partner.
Resistance to Conscience
  • Refusing to do what you believe is right to do.
  • Refusing to use knowledge and skills you have constructively.
  • Give up resistance to conscience and what you believe is right about how to treat others.
  • Use knowledge and skill in being true to conscience.




Quality relationships are much more about attitude and willingness than skill, although skill is important. Development of good relationship skills is essential to a healthy marriage. Learning and developing new skills help us to overcome the barriers of ignorance and incompetence, but not resistance. A successful long-term marriage requires skilled couples who are willing to continue developing and nurturing new relationship skills, but it also requires couples who are not resistant to the knowledge and skills they have--couples who act in each other's best interests. In other words, quality relationships begin with listening to and following your conscience.

1 This understanding has been pioneered by C. Terry Warner and the Arbinger Group.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, November 22). Your Partner. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License