Are you suffering from the marital moody blues? Do you sometimes get so frustrated in your relationship you want to call it quits? If you answered “yes” to either question, you reside among many others whose relationships have lost their spunk.
But don’t despair!
Countless women have been seduced by the “happily-ever-after” myth of marriage; i.e., we say our vows and then expect a life of marital bliss. But quickly we discover that bliss does not always follow the wedding kiss!
Rather, more likely you’ll encounter conflicts or even some irreconcilable differences.
After all, life often throws us many unanticipated curveballs. So, there’s no way to predict how you or your honey will deal with the unforeseen challenges you may face as your future unfolds.
But does this mean you should throw in the towel?
No! I can safely say from my 30-plus years of professional experience (and even a few more decades from personal experience) that relationships often resemble menstrual cycles, i.e., filled with many fluctuations in mood and attitude. And just like with our cycles, we can either succumb to the misery of the emotional upheaval or we can face the turbulence and apply new remedies to feel better!
Granted, some relationships probably shouldn’t be saved, especially those wherein chronic untreated addiction, or some sort of abuse, exists.
But devoid of these conditions, you can take several simple steps to revive your relationship from funk back into spunk.
Try practising the following six tips:
1. Identify what bothers you in your relationship
For instance, do you feel unappreciated or burdened by more responsibility than your fair share? Regardless of what the issue is (be it small or big), make note of it.
Unless you can articulate what’s irking you, you won’t be able to focus on solutions.
2. Reflect on your own behavior, expectations, and actions
We can so easily fall into the trap of blaming our partner for the things that frustrate us. However, more times than not, we all play a part in why we aren’t getting our needs met.
For instance, if you expect your lover to read your mind regarding whatever you are wanting or needing – and he fails to get it right without you ever verbalizing those needs in real time – you are defeating your opportunity forgetting what it is you want!
While most couples rarely share 50/50 responsibility in creating each problem – generally we almost always have at least some contributing role.
And, by identifying that component, we empower ourselves to take new and better actions.
3. Communicate your concerns using the “sandwich method”
First, take out a slice of bread by stating the things you love about your marriage. Next, bring out the filling by expressing what isn’t working for you in the relationship, being mindful of not placing blame. (Use “I” statements whenever possible rather than “you” statements.)
Then, add the condiments, noting your intention for the conversation and possible ideas for solutions. (Note, many men like simplified concrete tasks.)
Finally, complete the sandwich with another yummy piece of bread; e.g. say something like: “Thank you for listening! It means so much that you care enough about me to improve our relationship.” (BTW-if you’re a low or no-carb gal—feel free to make it a lettuce wrap J)
4. Ask your partner how they feel about things
If you’re unhappy, they are probably too! By demonstrating your interest in their perception of the relationship, you’ll likely reduce defensiveness and increase their motivation to make changes.
5. Set up frequent relationship-building conversations
When two people define sacred time dedicated to strengthening their love – it helps them become more accountable and self-reflective.
Also, this creates a positive feedback loop.
6. Generate a happy list
Include at least five things you and your sweetie enjoy together. Make it appealing and easy to view! Then post it someplace where you will both see it.
Hopefully, by implementing these tools, your mood will be uplifted, making room for a happier more playful you! Keep in mind, attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Debra Mandel