Happy marriages require some amount of effort to stay that way. Those who believe their relationship can sustain the dizzying highs of their honeymoon phase early tend to be disappointed when life gets in the way. We are born wired to connect and intimate relationships are particularly important to successfully attach early on. This is why so many of us get doped up on the giddy brain chemistry of love in the beginning! Alas, most of us can attest to the fact that the your brain and heart “on love” changes in time. Ideally, you’ve securely attached in other ways to get you through this inevitable transition via a strong friendship, fondness and admiration for each other.
If you have found that your marriage isn’t what it once was, you’re not alone. But this doesn’t mean there’s a problem! This is where the people with the “marriage shouldn’t be work” folks can get into trouble. If there’s an expectation that marriage and long-term relationships should be easy, there is a set-up for failure, especially when times get tough. It can be far too easy to jump ship with this line of thinking.
Want a happy marriage? Get back to the basics.
- Remind yourselves of why you married in the first place. Hard time can make us forget why we picked our partner in the first place.
- Brush up on elementary communication techniques such as “I feel” statements, active listening and shaping your language in a softer way.
- Get familiar with the elements of emotional safety; where couples feel heard, validated, prioritized and respected by each other (among other things).
- Check in on your relationship balance. Are you each getting time for the “you,” “me” and “we” of the relationship or marriage?
- Are you each content with the logistics of your marriage or relationship? Do you feel things are fair?
- Be familiar and sensitive to each others childhood wounds. They are likely areas that get triggered between you.
- Discuss your goals; individual, marriage and family. How do you both see the future together? How can you support each other?
Many couples find themselves emotionally disconnected at various time in the relationship. Those who are successful at navigating these rough waters, making repairs when needed and coming towards each other when things are uncomfortable tend to have a greater chance of getting through it. If you get back to the basics as mentioned above, the foundation on which your marriage or relationship stands can only be more solid as you move forward together.