Here’s how to fix a marriage gridlock situation in a nutshell: do something different than what you’ve been doing.
If your marriage is gridlocked in some sort of holding pattern, it may feel good that it’s not moving backward. But at the same time, you’re miserable because it’s not moving forward.
In this blog, I offer you 3 tips on how to fix your marriage so that it moves out of the holding pattern and into drive. Keep reading…
Understanding How a Marriage Gets Stuck
Relationships, like people, experience phases of growth—if there aren’t obstacles in place.
One of the biggest obstacles to growth is any effort or attempt to avoid change, even when you know change is inevitable.
As human beings, we like predictability. It’s nice to know what to expect from day to day. In your marriage, this means you don’t want any surprises, especially if things have chugged along steadily without any major upheavals. The relationship is comfortable, and you generally know what to expect from your spouse.
However, things in this type of holding pattern, where one or both of you is afraid of “rocking the boat” can lead to predictable—and downright boring.
Often, we try to resist natural changes that would otherwise occur for fear of it changing our relationship dynamic. If, for example, you decide to take up running and aspire to run a 5k race, how will this affect your relationship with your spouse? How will your spouse react? Will he/she think less of you for committing time elsewhere?
But without these changes, either individually or even as a couple, the marriage can get caught in one place. By resisting change, you snuff a bit of the oxygen out of the relationship that is needed for growth.
Just as often, you and your spouse may be caught in a certain pattern: “We’ve done things this way, and we’ll continue to do them this way.” It’s predictable and comfortable—and it resists any changes that may ‘threaten’ the status quo.
If your marriage has been rocked by an affair, you or your spouse may be trying to hold on to what the relationship was in the past. But an affair has created a drastic change: in perception, in trust and in commitment. The circumstance has changed, and if you are trying to save your marriage, you don’t want to get stuck in place: it’s an opportunity for a positive change that leads to growth in your relationship.
By clinging to how the relationship was before, you could be resisting what are obviously needed changes that could move the relationship forward, such as how you both define boundaries and how you communicate.
Next, we’ll look at 3 tips for how to fix a marriage that is deadlocked and needs a push forward.
3 Tips to Help Move Your Marriage Forward
Tip 1: Redefine Change
You and/or your spouse may subconsciously consider the idea of change as being a bad thing. If things need to change… does that mean there’s a problem? A lot of people prefer to avoid any hint of a problem. So, if you deny change, that means nothing’s wrong, correct?
Assess how you view change: is growth a bad thing? What about changes happening in your marriage do you fear: is it a fear you’ll grow apart?
Tip 2: Embrace Growth
Once you get comfortable thinking of change as being positive, you can look for growth opportunities—and embrace them. Instead of looking at changes and growth as threats, view them as opportunities for you and your spouse to strengthen the bond between you.
Tip 3: Get Your Footing
Change, whether bumpy or smooth, can make you feel uncertain. Don’t forget: humans like and strive for some degree of predictability. As you go through any new changes, give yourself time to adjust and regain your footing once again. You’ll soon establish a new pattern—it’s what we do.
My best to you as you navigate change in your marriage.