How do we go from “ I can’t see myself without you” to “I can’t stand being around you”? Why does the vision of forever all of a sudden become unbearable?
In the last ten years, I’ve been working with couples from all walks of life and have heard all kinds of stories. One thing that remains constant is the change that inevitably shakes any marriage at its core.
It’s brand new
When we decide to merge our lives and become a family, we are enamored by one another and captivated by the excitement of the new chapter we get to write together.
We can write it any way we choose to. But far too often we leave no room for edits. We’re not educated on love. We don’t even realize that love and marriage need skills and proficiency like any other goal you would want to accomplish.
Our commitment to love one another through the thick and thin is what is supposed to be the captain of our ship.
The irony is that the ship rarely sails the calm seas, and the captain barely knows the way. Perhaps it is fair to say that our promise should be our willingness and courage to master the lesson of love and continue to evolve.
The reality is that a marriage left only on the back of that special feeling you had for your partner is going to lose its pulse and flatline over time.
Couples enter a mode of irritability and zero tolerance
Once the connection and a sense of harmony are compromised, couples enter a mode of irritability. Anything you do or say will be held against you.
There will be no tolerance for mistakes and certainly no acceptance of apologies. It becomes tension city. Couples tend to drift apart because they fall out of alignment with one another.
Winning an argument becomes more important than the workability of their relationship. Overtime and over many instances, they take steps away from their original goal and fall prey to the subjective opinion of self and people around them.
So what do we do?
How do we reconcile our differences? I have witnessed the journey from the early phase of marriage to the point of separation and along the way exists the opportunities to learn and to grow.
Here are some examples that will help you set your marriage up for success, regardless of how far things have gotten.
1. We all bloom in certain seasons and for specific reasons
Pay attention to the environment that your partner has always thrived. Every individual has their preferences and tolerance when it comes to people, places and things. But when we get married, by default, we assume we are blossoming at the same time.
This can’t be a bigger trap for disappointment.
Keep in mind that just because you’re married now, your nature will not fizzle away. Nature will always prevail, and you don’t want to be shocked when it does. Therefore, go into observation, and discovery mode.
2. You must hold the golden key to your heart and your partners
When it comes to communicating, we are accustomed to relying on the exchange of words to feel heard and to hear our partner. However, when the communication doorways are shut closed, nothing will get through.
It’s essential that you know how you and your partner relate and download information.
You may need to be held and hugged to open up first while your partner needs to know the reason behind something. I teach this concept in my coaching practice through The ULT Assessment, a comprehensive tool for understanding your nature.
3. Both parties must hold themselves accountable
To maintain the health and integrity of any marriage, both parties must hold themselves accountable for keeping their well-being as their primary focus.
All it takes sometimes is a compromised mind and body to alter our perception and come from a very negative perspective. When you’re feeling fatigued, volatile, detached, in physical pain, and any other sensation of discomfort, your ability to love unconditionally leaves the room, and you will hang on to anything that will create more of the same feelings in you.
Be sure to check-in with yourself morning, noon, and night and feed your inner needs before expecting your partner to fulfil them for you.
4. Know yourself when you are faced with adversities in life
It’s normal for our competing responsibilities and daily to-do’s, to drain us and drag us to an unpleasant headspace.
Walking into your home after a long day can be very risky.
Everything you’ve been bundling inside of you can feel like a volcano that’s ready to erupt. Pause for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and bring your awareness to how you feel and what you want to do with that emotion.
It’s imperative to be aware of how you behave when you’re in a tough place. Make sure you communicate that with your partner and don’t shock them or alienate them with your response.
5. Learn what it means to love unconditionally
It’s paradoxical to say you will do something when you don’t even know what it truly means. At the altar, we promise to love each other unconditionally but yet when the conditions arise; we are too quick to drop the ball.
One of the fastest and more effective ways to demonstrate your unconditional love without creating a conflicting emotion within yourself is to ask your partner what they need most from you.
Never take your behavior or your partner’s response to something at face value.
Perhaps, their reaction is a buildup of angst and discomfort. Treat yourself and your partner lovingly, and you will get a completely different result.
6. Take time in solitude to clear your head
When you feel like giving up because nothing you do makes a difference, remember that neglect leads to more neglect.
It’s ok to take time in solitude to clear your head and work on being more mindful, but make sure you specify this need, so you don’t alienate your partner during the process.
On the other hand, when your partner asks of you to be mindful of their timings, and not take this request as a confirmation of the distance between you.
7. Stay away from labeling
We tend to hurt those that are closest to us.
Love breeds predictability and safety. With those sensations, comes the comfort to press our subjective interpretation of their behavior on to them and therefore causing the biggest gap between us.
It’s important to know that your words matter and they can pierce through the heart and leave a big scar.
8. Refrain from words that are hurtful, judgmental, and overall negative
People don’t bounce back as quickly as they may portray. Be gentle with your words and stay away from the need to associate your partner’s behavior with a descriptor.
In conclusion, marriage is a work in progress
It’s a living, breathing, and evolving part of our reality, and only those who know how to improve and improvise can truly enjoy their union.
Happy constructing and reconstructing your marriage.