Is your marriage suffering right now? Have you lost the zip and excitement that you had years ago?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been married for six months, or 60 years, a lot of people today feel stuck in a rut in their marriage. Millions of couples in the United States alone are in an unhappy marriage. And the number one reason of this unhappy state is pointing fingers at your spouse.
“If they would only change. Be nicer. Be more attentive. Be more thoughtful. Be kinder… Our marriage wouldn’t be in this current state of upheaval.”
And the more we point the finger, the deeper the rut begins to form. So instead of doing that, it never has, never will work, look at the four tips below to get that loving feeling back into your relationship.
1. Make a list of things that you did together
Write down a list of the activities that you did when you first met your spouse, that was fun. Exciting. Fulfilling. Did you go on dates on a weekly basis, but you’re not doing that now? Did you love to go to watch movies together? What about vacations? Are there simple things that you used to do around the house or apartment when you first met, that you’ve totally let go of?
This is the first exercise I have my clients do when I work with them one on one, in order to start to turn the marriage around. Look at what you used to do that you enjoyed, create the list, and then just pick one activity out of that list and try to engage your partner in doing it today.
2. Cut down on your passive aggressive behavior
What are you currently doing that’s adding to the chaos and drama in your relationship? Are you involved in passive-aggressive behavior? The blame game? Anger? Are you spending more time at work to avoid being with your partner and family? Are you drinking more? Eating more? Smoking more?
When you look in the mirror, and you see that you’re doing one of the above activities to avoid dealing with the current state of your marriage, you can begin to heal it if you stop those activities. Taking ownership for what you’re doing in the marriage that is not working is a crucial step, and when we do this in writing, it becomes quite apparent that it’s not simply our partner’s fault. We are part of the problem as well.
3. Disengage at the start of an argument
When you begin to see a discussion turning into an argument, disengage. Stop. I work with couples on a regular basis who get into texting wars. Why? Neither one wants the other one to be right. It’s like a competition. We need to win this text war game.
Nonsense! One of the most powerful tactics that you have right now is called disengagement. When you start to sense that the text messaging is going awry, stop completely and handle it this way.
“Honey, I see we’re going down the same road and blaming each other and I am so sorry for being a part of this. I’m going to stop texting right now, I love you and I’m not going anywhere, I will come back in two hours and let’s see if we can be a little kinder. Thank you so much for understanding. I love you.”
By handling it in the above way, it doesn’t mean your marriage is going to instantly become better, but you’ve got to stop the insanity, and because you’re reading this article, it is up to you to be the leader in dismantling what has been killing your marriage.
4. Get help
Get help on your own if your partner won’t join you, with a counselor, therapist, minister or life coach. It’s amazing how many couples that I eventually help turn their marriage around, only one of them will come in, in the beginning. It doesn’t matter who it is whether it’s the husband or the wife, but someone has to take the chance and open up the door to their partner and ask if they will come together into a session to heal the relationship.
Many times your partner will say no. Do not use that as an excuse for you to stay home as well. It amazes me how many relationships we have helped when only one of the partners have come in. Sometimes the other partner never shows up, but the one who arrives can make some huge changes in the relationship, and actually save the marriage if they’re willing to do the work even on their own.
Relationships are challenging. Let’s face it, throw away the love novels just for a little while and look at the reality of relationships in general. We’re going to have bad days, weeks, months and maybe even years. But don’t let that stop you from trying your best to turn the relationship around.
I have faith, that if you follow the above tips, that you will give yourself a good chance of saving your current marriage. And if for some reason in the unfortunate case your marriage does not hold on, you will have learned some valuable tips to bring into your next relationship.”
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 David Essel