Don't let relationship difficulties destroy your family!
Before You End It All… try working on making your relationship better!
ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN – YOU OWE IT TO THEM!
No one can promise it will be easy to rebuild the love after it feels lost - it will be difficult! - but it is possible. The reason is simple - marriage is not the problem, it's the two people in the marriage who create(d) the problems. Things may seem even more hopeless to you now that you've read that. You may be thinking, "Oh, great! Now we're really out of luck for saving our marriage." But that isn't true either. Because there's a secret I want to share…If you're struggling in your marriage, it's probably because your parents struggled too. The thing is that we learn our interpersonal and relationship skills and techniques from our parents; the good and the bad ones. So, my question to you is, who's going to break the cycle? Will YOU be the one to change things for your kids and the generations to come? Or will your children have to suffer the same burden as you? It’s up to YOU. There's nothing better for your children than to be raised amidst the comfort and security of parents who love each other instead of being the victims of an unhappy and unhealthy family. If your children don't see love between you and your partner, (their parent or step-parent!) it won't really matter in the long run, where they go to school or how fashionably they get to dress. But, if they witness true love, you will be giving them the greatest gift life has to offer. How about it? Do you want to be a really great parent by doing everything you can to succeed with your marriage?
If you have no children and want to end a long-term relationship from someone you once loved… you might be thinking that what you just read does not apply to you and that you can just pick a plan from that song, `Fifty ways to leave your lover`` but, you are probably still wrong. So many people think that they will just find a ``better partner`` and all will be fine with their next relationship. Wouldn`t that be great! Just dump the lousy one and trade them in for a better model, as if people and relationships are disposable. Unfortunately, if we find ourselves in a relationship with someone whom we eventually believe have all the problems, created the problems or are the problem, we are usually very mistaken.
The simple truth is that if we come from a dysfunctional family, to whatever degree and about whatever issues, we are walking into our relationships with the blueprint for creating a toxic, troubled or dysfunctional relationship. We missed out on some of what we would have benefited from and we grew up with issues, wounds, insecurities, poor skills, etc. that were part of our baggage. If and when we are insecure, immature, angry, demanding, selfish, demeaning, and/or wounded as a result of our childhood or past relationships... we really can make a mess of things.
But, people can change! We can learn new behaviours, and stop ourselves from repeating the damaging ones. So, if you are in a committed relationship that is dying and you want to save your marriage (and put that spark back) into a whole new, healthy, loving, passionate relationship with the person you are already with you can… unless there was physical abuse.
Change is good, but it does not have to mean divorce?
Here are some of the ways to prevent a divorce:
- Commit to saving the marriage. When a couple has children, I ask them to promise that they will stick to the hard work of rebuilding their lost love for at least three months. It would have been great if you had both agreed that divorce would never be an option, but let’s just say that for now no one will be moving out, calling mediators or lawyers.
- Review and correct your expectations. So many people go into marriage expecting to ‘change’ their partner – for the better. In reality, they want to change them to being more fitting to their needs and wants, which is not very approving of them, as they are, for who they are. (The marriage started off with a troubled foundation if either of you intended to change the other.) But, what’s done is done. Now you have to take a good long look at yourself and your partner to see who each of you really is. When we understand our partner’s issues, wounds, needs and wants as vital to our healing, and ours to theirs, it makes it a lot easier to accept and honour each other as equals with neither one owing the other the loss of their self. A good exercise for this would be to think back to when you got married and list all of the expectations you had for marriage itself, and another of your mate. Then, ask your mate to do the same, and see how many matches you had for expectations of the marriage, and for each other. Maybe you both fell short. And, maybe one or both of you had expectations that the other could not fulfill (without making changes in who they are) and no you can see that unmet expectations led to more frustration, disappointment, and possibly anger and/or a lack of respect. Now you can start to focus on meeting each others needs and work on both of you healing and growing beyond the wounded selves you began as. If you switch your focus to showing love, behaving lovingly, even when you don’t totally feel so loving, you might be surprised by the result.
- Create a ‘vision’ of what you would like your relationship to be like now. Years have passed, life has surely changed since you were dating, so it would be reasonable to come up with a new plan that might better fit your life circumstances now. Working on this together, and/or with a Certified Vision Board Counselor, will be easier than trying to communicate in words, plus it will be a nice way to discuss your needs and wants quietly.
- Get outside help – and that does not mean family or friends!
- Get serious about either talking with each other, if you can, or making the time available for each of you to attend your sessions with a coach/counsellor.
- Listen to each other. Remember we have two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth for a reason.
- Share the truth of your relationship problems with family and close friends - without giving details. Your marital issues are private and personal, but the fact that you are trying to save your marriage will probably be pleasant news to some people and they might even offer to babysit!
- Do not allow your discussions to become battles. If/when talking with each other becomes difficult, combative, or insulting, stop talking. Take a time out to cool down. The goal is to save the marriage!
- Avoid the ‘toxic’ topics that you find yourselves arguing about constantly. Accept that your conflict style is not working for this, and maybe other issues, and let a professional help you deal with those.
- Work at being polite and friendly. A smile usually helps to lighten the mood and spread a welcoming atmosphere in your home for everyone – your children do not deserve to be in a nasty/cold home.
The most important statement that a couple can say to each other, even when they feel it is hopeless, is something like, "Divorce will not be an option for us. We will do whatever it takes to work out our differences - no matter what.”
Doing small, daily, positive actions go a long way in showing you care. And, honest words of appreciation and acknowledgment will validate your partner’s efforts and help end a feeling of being taken for granted. So, watch your words and your actions! That old rhyme of sticks and stones being able to break our bones but never harm us is not true. They can break hearts and destroy love.
Before accusing your partner of being at fault for the serious state of your relationship, analyze yourself. Most of the time we tend to overrate ourselves and underrate others. So, do not hesitate to correct yourself and say sorry for your part – because you both shared in creating the relationship as it is. Whether it was what you did, or did not do, you are both responsible for how it is now.
And yet, no matter what situation your marriage is in - if you're willing to work on saving your relationship, you'll be amazed at how much better it can be in just a few months!
Saving your marriage is not about begging or pleading with your partner to stay, giving in to their demands, forcing them to accept your way, punishing them for their faults, or trying to get them to understand that everything that went wrong is all their fault - and not yours! It’s about each of you working on your own issues so that the two people in the relationship can start from inner peace and acceptance of themselves. Then, as each of you is able to view themselves, the other, and the relationship in a new light, without the past hurts and disappointments controlling your perspective, you will be able to support each other in figuring out and expressing your needs and wants in the marriage.
I have truly seen miracles work with troubled marriages that first appeared to be absolutely beyond repair.
You can strengthen your marriage foundation – and get reconnected with your spouse!
I often tell people that love is falling in love over and over again… with the same person. Once you discover how to fall in love again by renewing the intimacy, restoring the trust and learning how to communicate in ways that show acceptance, respect, connection and appreciation in the ways that you each need it to be… you will finally have the marriage or relationship you actually want.
Here are a few more ideas to get things started on working on rebuilding your relationship:
· If body image has affected the intimacy in your relationship, go to the gym to work out together, encouraging each other on personal goals rather than focusing on the flaws.
· If you have been saying negative things to each other, make a deal to counter that by paying two compliments per negative one from now on; like putting a quarter in a jar for each swear word.
· Since you probably forgot when you pleased each other, sit down together and share the most memorable ways that your partner demonstrated their love for you over the years.
· Once a day, express appreciation for 3 things about your partner or something that they did.
Saving your marriage may take a lot of work, but it can reward with the relationship of your dreams!
If you feel comfortable enough to try to get back on the right track of loving each other the right ways follow the “28 Days to Make Your Relationship Sizzle” calendar:
If you would like to receive your own copy of this calendar, simply email me