10 Things To Try Before Giving Up On Your Marriage
When you’re in the middle of a disagreement with your spouse, the range of emotions that are expressed may certainly run the gamut. If you’ve been noticing a pattern in communication, take this as a sign to re-write your listening and speaking methods.
If you’re both wanting to repair an extended period of hurt and blame, it starts by sticking to the main topic at hand and doing your best not to dictate their behavior and focus on your own responses.
The key to being an “emotionally intelligent” couple is learning how tackle any issue without trying to attack each other emotionally or physically.
Seth and Kayla, both in their late forties and married for fifteen years, are considering divorce. “I’m done with this marriage,” complains Kayla. “I feel unloved and rejected by Seth, we don’t have an emotional connection and rarely have sex anymore.”
Seth puts it like this: “Kayla loves the kids more than me and she’s always on the attack. She keeps threatening to leave, and that might be the best option.”
Many couples like Seth and Kayla are ready to throw in the towel and want quick solutions to save their marriage. Truth be told, this is a common problem, but the solutions are never easy.
A Radical Shift in Mindset
The good news is that if you are willing to put effort into rescuing your marriage, there are things you can do that can give you a fresh start. Breaking the cycle of an unhappy relationship dynamic requires a radical shift in mindset.
Taking responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute is a great starting point. One person’s ability to do this can change the entire dynamic of the relationship.
Studies show that the most common reason why couples develop serious difficulties is that one or both partners withdraw due to feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment. In a recent study of 14,000 participants, Dr. Paul Schrodt found that women were usually (but not always) the ones who demanded or pursued and men tended to withdraw or distance.
Stop the Blame Game
Many couples play the blame game, leading to a pursuer-distancer dance that causes one partner to chase the other around. After a while, they are no longer addressing the issue at hand and enter into a vicious cycle of resentment, frustration, and anger.
Relationship expert Dr. Harriet Lerner explains that the recipe for failure in a marriage is waiting for the other person to change. Rather than giving up on their marriage, couples need to lean toward each other. She writes, “It’s the dissatisfied partner who usually is motivated to change. If you don’t take some new action on your own behalf, no one else will do it for you.”