Sometimes, partners stay intertwined together and don’t experience difficult “growing pains.” Sometimes couples struggle with the ebb and flow of their marriages. The classic line, “He’s changed…” may be an accurate statement. But I would bet that “She’s changed…” and “We’ve changed…” all are valid as well. Why does there need to be something wrong with that – as long as focus on the marriage itself isn’t lost?
Couples who adapt well to change – and make modifications where needed – are more likely to do well in the long haul. Many married couples don’t consider the possibility that their marriages might benefit from a bit of “refreshing” every now and again. In other words, long time marriages (and even short time) can benefit from revisiting who they are as a couple, being open to adjustments and remembering how they ended up together in the first place.
Do you have the tools to get over marriage “bumps in the road” as well as other potential life storms?
If your marriage feels deadened or dull and there’s a growing gap between you and your partner, perhaps you don’t. This doesn’t mean you both cannot learn them now. It’s never too late to inject new life into your marriage – as long as you both are on board for a little work to get yourself off and running again.
Let’s take a look at the “tools” I’m referring to:
- How are your communication skills? Are you listening, validating and empathizing with each other?
- How “emotionally safe” to you feel together? Do you still trust, respect and love each other, knowing that the other has your back?
- How is your relationship balance? Is there adequate attention paid to the “you,” “me” and “we” of the marriage?
- Is your marriage negatively impacted by old childhood wounds suffered by either of you?
- What are your individual, marriage and family goals? Have they changed and are you in sync?
- Have other problems gone unattended in your marriage such as resentment, lack of sexual intimacy or infidelity? Burying issues such as these can create a mountain of resentment between you which is ultimately toxic to your marriage.
One of my favorite counseling clients are premarital couples because they often come very fresh in love and excited over their coming nuptials – and are eager to fill their own “marriage toolbox” to use in the future when needed. The experience can be quite different from those who come in with deep issues causing disconnection. I’ve often wondered if some of the couples in such distress had done any premarital work.
My message is, it’s not too late. Consider the above general topics in how they apply to your relationship. See if you can get your partner on board for backing up and learning some of the tools you might not have gotten but would like to get now. There are many ways to get those tools including couples counseling, workshops and self-help books by trained relationship health professionals. My workbook, The Marriage Refresher Workbook for Couples (located in The Toolbox Store), is an ebook couples can use together based on basic principles of relationship oriented premarital education. Whatever your method – the most important thing is to remember to pay attention to your marriage.
We all need to be able to turn to our partners and other important people for support. At the end of the day, we only have each other.