Dealing with Marital Issues in a Healthy Way
Marital issues can be some of the hardest trials a person can face. Your spouse should be the one person who unconditionally supports you and cheers you on, and yet they have become the person who makes you feel bad about yourself. If you are dealing with negative feelings in your marriage, consider the following suggestions to help get you back on the path of a happy relationship.
Give it Time
When you are trying to rebuild a broken relationship with your spouse, it is easy to start expecting things to happen right away. After the first "I'm sorry", you might immediately expect a romantic spark. After the first week of talking through things, you might shrug it off and start to focus on other things. But it's time to remember that you get out of a relationship what you put into it. Something that is fixed in a sloppy way will be far likely to break again soon. Rebuilding relationships will take time. And when you accept that, it will be easier for you to embrace the process.
Take a Step Back
Marriage is no sprint. It's more like running a marathon... and sometimes you need a breather. Perhaps it's time to back away from the constant fighting, and simply assess your relationship. Clear your mind of the issues that are coming between you - money, time spent working, household chores, life goals, other people, etc. Don't allow yourself to bring up specific incidents. Don't compare the money you've each spent. Don't accuse your spouse for spending too much time in the office. Don't tell your spouse that they don't care about you because of x, y, and z. Instead, simply think about the relationship. Specifically think about what you want out of the relationship.
A relationship goes both ways. No one person is completely right or completely wrong. Chances are you are both at fault in some areas and you both have some legitimate concerns about each other. You can't control what your partner does. But you can control what you do. Try to put yourself in your spouse's shoes. How might they feel about the way you are acting? How have you hurt them? Apologize and adjust your behavior where necessary. It is painful to admit where we are wrong. But it is far more painful to let a relationship die because we are unwilling to change.
So you have stepped back and assessed your relationship and your own behavior. Now it is okay to let your partner know what has hurt you so much about their actions. Start thinking about your expectations for the relationship. Are they reasonable? If so, it's time to voice these expectations to your partner. Don't yell. Don't patronize. But do, clearly, kindly, and calmly, tell your partner what you want in the relationship and how your needs are not being met. Ask your partner how you are not meeting their needs. Be open with them if you think you cannot meet their expectations.
This might be the last thing on your list. You might feel embarrassed to share your struggles with someone. You might feel like you don't need help - you can do this on your own. Firstly, it might help you to realize that you are not alone. Many couples have struggled with the exact same things that you are struggling with! And, to be honest, just a little bit of help can go a long way in healing a wounded relationship. If you know of an older, wiser friend who can give you marriage advice, go for it! Or, find a professional. Often, marriage counseling can be the turning point in a relationship.
If you need a compassionate, trustworthy counselor to help you along your journey, please contact me. I will help you find joy in your relationship once again.