Weathering the Stormy Patches in Your Marriage
No marriage is storm-proof. Even with the best of unions, there are storms that a couple has to face. Perhaps because of changes they experience personally – with their feelings about each other, their going through different phases in their lives or facing addictions, their having substance abuse problems. The storms may also be due to other factors – money problems, issues with in-laws and children, the stress brought about by work…and the list goes on.
Yes, you can expect stormy patches in a marriage – they will happen. Perhaps these stormy patches have you and your spouse tipping precariously close to divorce. The question is, how will you weather these storms and keep your marriage intact, even stronger for what you have both gone through. The good thing about weathering the storm together is that you emerge with more closeness and more trust in your partner as you get to know him or her better.
Here are a few simple reminders to help you as you face the storms in life:
– Talk. Rather than sulk, talk it out. The damage that results are caused by miscommunication and by not understanding what the other spouse expects or wants. Don’t think that your spouse is a mind reader – he or she is not! Although there are times when no words are necessary, there will be more times when you will have to express how you feel and what you think about the problem you are currently facing.
– Have realistic expectations of each other. Before the storm even comes, it will be helpful to know what you expect from each other. Sometimes, we enter into a union without coming into a true understanding of our expectations from our partners and vice versa. Some crucial questions should be discussed that cover important topics like: rules about “fighting fairly” and resolving arguments, decision making, handling money, raising and disciplining children and spending time with each other. You should know beforehand what it is your partner needs from you in terms of showing affection and making him or her feel loved.
– Handle arguments constructively. If you must fight, you must agree beforehand that you will fight fairly. Sometimes, there is a temptation to be “historical”, rather than hysterical. Historical, in the sense that one tends to dredge up the other’s past sins for ammunition. When arguing, deal only with the issue at hand. Avoid the blame game and keep “you” statements away from the conversations. You statements such as “You never show me respect.” “You always do that.” put the focus on the person rather than the problem.
– Laugh together. A good sense of humor can do a lot to ease any tension and pressures resulting from what you are facing as a couple. Laugh together and you will find yourselves better (and more resilient) for it. As a couple, you can choose to face life’s trials with a joyful attitude or with a pessimistic and negative disposition.
– Reminisce about the happy times. Take time to go down memory lane – this will help give you more and more reasons why you stay together. Memories of better times will also give you the strength and fortitude to face the rough times ahead.
– Go get help. Sometimes the issues are too complicated or the wounds too deep for just the two of you to solve. Overcoming the storms may take outside help – don’t be afraid to go and seek the services of a trained professional who provides marriage counseling. A good marriage therapist will be able to effectively guide you and provide you with tools to help you build a stronger bond with your spouse and thus enable you to face the storms of life with a united front.
While Utah marriage therapy will not provide all the answers, it may provide you with a different perspective of the problem.
– Exercise patience. The storms usually do not go away after a day. Some storms in a marriage will need patience, commitment and gentleness. If you have been going for couples’ counseling, don’t expect results overnight. The damage that results from these storms may also take some time to fix and heal. Also, remember that you both can’t be perfect – you are bound to make mistakes. There may be times when you may need to have the spirit of forgiveness or to ask for forgiveness for both of you to recover.
– Take time for “we” and “me” time. Sometimes, you need to get out just to be able to see things from a different perspective. Go on a vacation together and come back rested and refreshed. However, there are also times when you need to have some space in your relationship – for you to go out with friends or to talk to someone you trust that can help give advice about your relationship.
Communication is key
For you and your spouse to emerge from a storm with your union intact and stronger, you need to root your relationship in communication. Getting a deeper understanding of each other will help you weather the storms. This is where a marriage therapist in Provo can help. He can provide you with a non-confrontational environment where you can discuss issues and where each partner can feel that he or she is truly heard.
If you are in the Provo, Utah area and are thinking of getting marriage or Utah family therapy, be sure to look for Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan holds Ph. D in marriage and family therapy and is firmly committed to providing therapy services to build stronger marriages and families.