You may think that giving some thought to your marriage will make things better. After all, a relationship that is pushed into the corner may not stand a chance, but a relationship in which you acknowledge some work is needed has to be better off, right?
But if you wait too long, you may doom your marriage. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some recent marriage research about couples in crisis, and three steps for turning your marriage around—for the better. Read on…
Marital Problems and Rocking “The Boat”
A recent article cited research findings from the Gottman Institute that unhappy couples stick with the unhappy marriage on average six years before getting some marriage help.
Think about that for a moment: two people, living uncomfortably for an average of 2,190 days. Most people wouldn’t allow a plumbing problem to go on for two hours, but when it comes to one of the most important relationships of their life… they let things slide along.
Either a couple is in denial over the extent of their problems and their need to seek marriage help, or they are hoping those problems will either cease to exist on their own or at least not get any worse.
When you don’t address marital problems, though, here are some of the things that can happen within your relationship:
- Communication disconnect
- Emotional connection lapse
- Senseless affair
- Unbridled anger
- Divorce citing ‘irreconcilable differences’
The majority of couples really want their marriage to work. But to make your marriage work requires… you both joining together and doing some work. Next, will look at how you can shine a light on your marriage problems and face them down, one by one.
Marriage Help: It’s Up to You
It’s not likely your marriage troubles will dissolve on their own. If anything, they’ll fester beneath the surface, wreaking havoc on your relationship and leaving you vulnerable to some of those relationship issues we covered a moment ago.
Here are three steps for getting your marriage problems resolved, which will also pull you and your spouse closer together, strengthening your emotional connection:
Step 1: Accept that Change is Possible
You may not have stepped forward to try to resolve your marriage problems because you hold a common belief: “people don’t change.” That has been buried deep in our psyche to the extent that many people feel themselves powerless within their own lives.
But science supports this fact: our brains are vastly capable of change. There’s nothing physical, then, that stands in the way of people making a change.
Step 2: Make Change Happen in YOU First
You are not powerless. You may not be able to change another person—such as your spouse—but you can change you by changing your attitude and perspective. When you make positive changes, your spouse will have to respond in some way that matches that change.
For example, if you normally respond to your spouse with snide comments, your spouse may become defensive in response. So, try speaking to your spouse the way you would talk to a neighbor or your boss: use a respectful tone. Now, is your spouse likely to respond defensively, if he or she doesn’t feel as if they are being attacked or otherwise dismissed?
Step 3: Be Patient with Change
Most of our marriage problems are bad habits we’ve developed, whether it’s lazy attempts at communication or we’ve simply forgotten how to have fun as a couple. The creation of new, better habits takes some time. And understand that there may be lapses: change feels uncomfortable until we get used to a new way of doing things, such as interacting with our spouse in a loving manner.
Yes, being loving toward one another may feel strange at first, because you’re unsure in your new role! Stick with it—your marriage is worth it.