A friend mentioned today that she has been having some difficulty in her over a decade long marriage. She cannot remember it ever being like this and it was quite upsetting to her. There were several of us there and many gave their opinions, words of encouragement, support and advice. Mine was pretty simple. It happens to all of us, and if it doesn’t, well that is a reason for even more concern than if it does. (Come on, admit it, you have had yours as well- unless… nope, nevermind, can’t think of an unless that would be true!) I also gave some other words of wisdom from the profession but I’ll save those for a little bit later. As I was thinking about it later, and trying to decide what today’s blog post should be about I thought I would take it a step further and discuss how to make sure that what this friend is going through, a hiccup in how her marriage normally runs, doesn’t turn into more of a problem
No matter what lead you to this hiccup, one of the things that is likely keeping you there is the way you are thinking about and viewing your relationship currently. As soon as you start feeling a bit down about your relationship and partner you are more likely to notice all the things he/she does that you did not notice before or that just didn’t really bother you much. What I’m saying is that your frame of mind and thoughts have a big impact on the way that you feel and vice versa and they affect your actions. As you well know, your actions have consequences and in this case can self perpetuate your situation. So one thing that is important to is to change the way you are thinking about your situation. When your partner leaves the house without cleaning their morning dishes, instead of thinking about how they must see you as their slave, realize that they must have been in a hurry to get to work or get the kids to school. Or when they make a comment that comes across negative, give them the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t trying to be hurtful. This can keep you from stewing further and reacting negatively to your spouse.
If you do find yourself in this situation, it is important to talk openly to your partner. For some, this can be hard to do without it escalating, especially when you are already in a tense situation. My recommendation for you is to go into the conversation with the intention of fixing the problem instead of pointing out your partners flaws or mishaps and to make sure they are approaching the conversation with the same intention. It may be helpful to have a reminder throughout the discussion of your intention so each of you words things appropriately and does not become unnecessarily defensive. Just remember, your intention is to discuss solutions and come to a resolution to your current problem.
Another problem that comes up during these times is a sense of not being as connected to your partner. This is often due to the increased negative feelings. It takes 5 positives to cancel out 1 negative comment or experience. So start working on increasing those postive interactions with your spouse. The more you make them feel good about themselves, the more they will make you feel good in return, and both of you will begin feeling more positive about your relationship. As you begin this it will also be important to begin connecting in other ways as well. This could be with date nights, in depth conversations, or other romantic gestures.
Of course these things alone cannot guarantee your marriage will get better. It depends upon your circumstances and that the hiccup is really that and not indicative of a more major problem in your relationship. If you have more going on than these tips can help, it may be wise to see a marriage counselor. If you are in the Brevard County area, please feel free to give me a call!