Marriage is anything but perfect. As life progresses, outside forces like work, caring for your children, and maintaining a household get in the way. Over time, couples lose touch with each other. Compatibility dwindles, and resentment and lack of understanding take the forefront in your relationship. “How did we get here?” Wouldn’t it be nice to find some secret formula that pieces everything back together?
Although a magic solution does not exist, there are methods of making marriage stronger and building a solid foundation again. Today, we cover the underlying principles to making marriage work so that divorce is never an option and the one thing all married couples have in common. Read further to learn more about making your marriage different and helpful resources you and your spouse can use together.
The Truth About Married Couples
According to research, 33% of married couples want and need help solving their problems. Based on studies by world-renowned marriage researcher; Dr. Gottman, these reports demonstrate couples do not seek help until an average of six years after their troubles begin. Six years is a long time to ignore your feelings and leave your spouse entirely in the dark.
One thing to remember is, time does not fix problems over time but instead makes matters worse. Keeping important thoughts to yourself create this building block of emotion that is guaranteed to fall and lead to a marriage crisis.
The critical problem most marriages face is communication. Many couples have not mastered the keys to proper communication, and it continues to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Communication is not complicated if both people are aware of what their spouse is saying and how they feel when a disagreement arises, but the intent behind the words.
One of the biggest reasons for martial downfalls is lack of communication and feeling disrespected by your spouse.
Reasons Why You and Your Spouse Are Communicating Poorly
Communication is the way you speak and express yourself to your spouse. Communication covers so much more than words; it’s gestures, tone of voice, volume control, body language, action versus reaction, and facial expressions. Without trying to understand what your partner is expressing, whether it’s their feelings or a story they wish to share, messages become misconstrued, and what your spouse meant can get misinterpreted by you to tell another.
Without following up on your spouse’s point of view or what they meant by their statements at the moment, misinterpretation causes a disconnect. It leaves the offended spouse feeling disrespected and unheard, leading to long-lasting resentment. There are three primary reasons why relationships become rocky or tether on the edge of divorce: the way you believe your partner sees you.
- I don’t think you like me
- I don’t think you love me
- I don’t feel that you respect me
Many couples question how their spouses feel about them, and these three claims are the foundations of poor communication. The solution is communicating in a way that allows your partner to feel respect, love still, and like by you. Your spouse wants to feel heard. They want to feel like their opinions and actions matter, and that you value what they say. The bright side is, you’re not alone. Thousands of couples experience communication problems daily, and there are ways to get over those obstacles towards life-long happiness and understanding.
How to Determine If You Are Angry at Your Spouse or Angry at Yourself
Think back to a time when your spouse made you feel angry or unheard. You felt so bothered by what was said that you started questioning your feelings about your spouse. “How can I feel good about them again?”, “How do I feel love towards my partner after they emotionally hurt me?” When you feel that way, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “What am I angry about?”
In relationships, we tend to make mountains out of molehills and get into unnecessary fights over things that honestly have nothing to do with our partner but our internal conflict. Not all arguments and feelings are invalidated. Sometimes big debates and discussions are warranted if you feel very strongly about the matter. But think to yourself, “does this need to be discussed right now?” The truth is, not everything needs a discussion. Before its time to start the yelling, fighting, and pointing blame, question,
- Did my spouse mean to hurt me, or do they lack understanding about why this bothers me?
- Is this because of past trauma or resentment I feel from my childhood or earlier life experiences?
- Do I need to have an intense conversation about this right now?
- Is this coming from someplace deeper?
- Is this something I need to work on within myself?
Discussions, arguments, and feelings from a week, month, or even year ago and surprising your spouse with these repressed emotions makes them wonder how long you kept this to yourself or what they feel about me if I just found this out. If something happens at the moment, then the time to discuss these issues is right then and there, not weeks or months from when it first happened. Pick and choose your battles. If you can get over something, get over it.
If you need to have a conversation, express your point of view and where the hurt is coming from? “You may not know this about me, but something similar to this happened in my childhood, and I feel hurt.” Understand the meaning of what’s going on. Your spouse may not have known that about you, and communicating your discontent leaves room to solve future problems in a better and healthier way.
How to Have Conversations In Your Marriage That Begin With I Instead of You
It is essential to refrain from accusations in your speech to have proactive conversations with your spouse about what they have done to you. Having “I feel” discussions instead of “you did” makes an impactful difference for healthy communication. Saying things like “You make me so mad” or “You did this” causes your spouse to become defensive and emotionally inclined to react negatively.
A better alternative is having conversations from an I framework. “May I tell you how I feel about when this happens?” May I tell you how I feel when I hear those words?” “Hey, I want to work this out with you.” Approaching the situation from a more gentle and internal perspective allows your spouse to hear your thoughts without feeling attacked. Increase collaborative solutions with your spouse and decrease accusatory statements and opinions.
Make Your Marriage Different With the Marriage Helper Team
Learning how to work together as a team is essential in a thriving marriage. If you take the steps we discussed in this article, it will make your marriage different than most marriages and place you both in a healthier position for sustained love.
Working together means more than just sharing the bulk of household duties. It is about working together to make sure you both communicate effectively with each other. Understanding the emotions and intentions behind your spouse’s statements builds a common ground of understanding and, most importantly, healing when one feels hurt by the other. When issues feel beyond simple repair and communication, do not feel ashamed to seek out help.
At Marriage Helper, we have worked with thousands of couples trying to figure out how to understand each other again and have a positive success record of mending relationships and bringing couples closer than before. We have many resources like workshops that offer a life-changing transformation for teams and individuals alike.
Visit us online for more information about our free resources, like our videos, podcasts, free mini-course, or coaching and course services. Book a free strategy call with one of our marriage helper specialists today and start seeing immediate differences in your marriage.