Difficult: Do you and your spouse have a difficult life which places stress and strain on the marriage?
Are you faced with challenges regarding kids, money, work, health, in-laws and other circumstances?
These marriages have faced one thing after another and making not only life difficult but placing added stresses onto the marriage.
Differences: Do you and your spouse have lots of differences?
Such as differing opinions regarding how something is done, how the kids should be disciplined, how the dishwasher should be packed and how money should (or should not) be spent?
Couples who are constantly at odds with each other get stuck between two options: either push for their way to be done, or to give in with resignation and resentment.
Disconnected: Have you and your spouse drifted apart and live parallel lives?
Maybe it is because of a busy schedule as you have attempted to juggle life, kids, work and extended family.
Or maybe unresolved issues lurk under the surface and the smallest thing sets you off.
Or maybe you have swept the unresolved issues under the rug and your guarded hearts only push you each further away.
And even though you each carry out your role and duties in the family, you are more like roommates than close lovers.
Whether your marriage is strained from life’s difficulties, filled with conflict over differences, or unresolved hurts have pushed you apart … if you want to find a way through the chaos to each other… keep reading.
1. Most distressed couples are actually wanting to love and be loved by their spouse.
Most are still in love and long to heal the hurts and be close. Have hope.
Even though your spouse is yelling or shutting down, remember those are ways your spouse is coping with the pain and fighting to be heard and loved.
Yes, more than likely your spouse’s ways of protesting and protecting are not working, but then your methods are probably not as well.
Try understanding what is really going on.
Maybe reach through your porcupine quills or cold wall to get to your softer side, so you can do the same with your spouse.
2. Most couples are different.
It is how you deal with the differences that makes all the difference.
John Gottman’s research shows that most couples are different, actually 69% of what a couple argues about won’t be resolved as the arguments are based upon lifestyle preferences and personality differences.
It’s how a couple argues when these differences arise, that matters.
Knowing this, stop the tug-of-war fight over my-way versus your-way, and come to the table to find the us-way.
That’s right. What is in the best interest of ‘us’.
That means, ‘you are just as important as I am, and in the best interest of our marriage and family it is best I listen to you and weigh your view with mine.’
With this kind of attitude, you will be able to come up with an ‘us’ solution, an ‘us’ way of doing things.
3. How you and your spouse come back together and emotionally re-connect after arguments, is key to the happiness and longevity of your marriage.
It is how you turn toward each other to care and be ‘there’ for one another.
The tender connection between you and your spouse is sacred space. If this space becomes unsafe, or always conflictual, neither of you will want to be there.
It takes hard work to make this space a safe haven, a space where you both want to hang out. It will require you each to be kind, loving, patient, forgiving, respectful, honoring, appreciative and I will add - flirtatious.
Remember, even the best of couples face difficult pressures from life, are different, and sometimes drift apart when life is complicated or when they don’t resolve issues.
A good marriage is made.
It takes time, effort and the promise to work it out no matter what.
If you and your spouse would like to learn more about facing difficulties, differences and disappointments so you can foster a safe haven, sign up for our 4-week Safe Haven Marriage Webinar with Dr. Sharon May.
Or if you have attended an intensive, and would like a review, please sign up.
We will review the Safe Haven Model, including the argument cycle, your dragons, the ways you cope when your dragons are raised, the impact you have on each other, how to change the way you argue, and how to repair the hurts.