How To Save Your Marriage
Photo provided with Permission
“It takes two people to couple up and get married”, says Lerner, “but only one to make a relationship better."
Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. and celebrated Author believes waiting for your Spouse to change first is a recipe for unhappiness and divorce. How to improve your marriage is explained by Lerner in the form of 10 steps to save a failing marriage.
COMPLAIN WITHOUT BLAME:
Have you developed a habit of criticizing your partner? Talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, a complain is: “I was worried when you didn’t call me. We agreed that we’d check in when one of us was running late.
Versus a criticism: “You never follow through, you are so selfish”
Do you see the difference between complaining without blame? So, practice it with your Spouse.
REPAIR CONFLICTS SKILLFULLY:
Don’t put aside resentment that can destroy your relationship. 69% of conflict in a marriage never gets resolved, so, the focus needs to be on managing it successfully.
Bouncing back from disagreements rather than avoiding conflict is key, because couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships.
STAY FOCUSED ON THE ISSUES AT HAND:
Ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish? Avoid name-calling and don’t attack your partner personally.
Remember, anger is usually a symptom of underlying hurt, fear, and frustration.
So, ask questions that go deep to understand the positive need your partner is seeking.
Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm, etc…)
BOOST UP PHYSICAL AFFECTION:
According to Author Dr. Kory Floyd, holding hands, hugging and touching, can release oxytocin (the bonding hormone).
Physical affection also reduces stress hormones, lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
NURTURE FONDNESS AND ADMIRATION:
Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with their flaws – and express your positive feelings out loud several times each day.
Search for common ground, rather than insisting on getting your way, when you have a disagreement.
Listen to his/her points of view and avoid shutting yourself off from communication.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PARTNER ON A DAILY BASIS:
Try a variety of activities that bring you both pleasure. Kyle Benson recommends, that couples adopt a new way of structuring their “How was your day, dear?” conversation that shows empathy, express understanding and validates emotions.
Feeling like your partner is on your side, can help you to sustain a deep meaningful bond and a “we against others” attitude.
COMMUNICATE HONESTLY ABOUT KEY ISSUES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP:
Be sure to be forthcoming about your concerns and express your thoughts, feelings and wishes in a respectful way. Resentment can build when couples sweep things under the rug, so be vulnerable and don’t bury negative feelings.
DON’T ALLOW WOUNDS TO FESTER :
Challenge your beliefs and self – defeating thoughts about your partner’s behavior, when you find it to be negative –
Listen to your partner’s side of the story.
Are there times when you feel mistrustful or hurt even when he/she present evidence to the contrary about your grievance.
DEVELOP A HURT – FREE ZONE POLICY:
This term, coined by Author David Akiva refers to a period when criticism is not allowed.
Without it, couples usually feel less defensive and so, hurt feelings dissolve.
Akiva writes: “your prime directive right now is to eliminate the most toxic negative communication and reduce intense negative emotions for 3 to 4 weeks.
10) PRACTICE FORGIVENESS:
Forgiveness is not the same as condoning hurtful actions, but it will allow you to move on.
Try to remember you are on the same team. Accept that people do the best they can and try to be more understanding.
It is understandable that you might feel hurt, frustrated, resentful or rejected if you perceive that your partner has checked out of your marriage.
The next time you have a disagreement with him or her, stop second-guessing their reactions and examine your own responses.
Instead of shutting down or becoming critical, adopt a resilient mindset and work on ways you can repair your relationship and get back on track!
Always try to remember that there is a light under the sun, which means even if your relationship started to be failing, there is always a solution and ways to be the same as it was in your honeymoon. It depends on both of you!