Marriage has some thorns, but celibacy has no roses.
~ Vernon K. McLellan
Problems in marriage life or married life will effect I am pretty sure ever marriage at one point or another. With this understanding in mind please take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
If you think about it, you will realize that human relationships are riddled with strife now and then. I am very close to my brothers and sister yet we still have our squabbles and disagreements occasionally. Learning how to deal with problems in your marriage or any other relationship for that matter is learning how to grow and stretch yourself as a human being.
I think it will be helpful if we first take a moment to discuss human relationships in general and how difficulties arise before we attack how to fix problems in a marriage.
We are all unique, colourful and interesting individuals. But as the song – “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” – goes, you say tomato, I say tomato. Human disagreements often boil down to misunderstandings. This is true of states as well as siblings.
So how can you work to fix your marital problems if you are finding yourself in a marriage that has difficulties where you can barely stand to look at each other and ever word said turns into a fight? Well, below are some of the tips I have used to help calm the troubled waters that have come into my relationships – both marriages and other intimate relationships generally. The great thing about the strategies is that most of them are free and broadly applicable to any difficult relationship you might be involved with. From the boss and employees to brothers and sisters and friends too.
Take a moment
The first thing to do when your marriage has problems is to take a moment to step back. Just as a painter needs to step back from the canvas to see how his painting is going so to do we need to step back from the argument to see the forest for the trees.
This is the first part of coming to terms with a problem marriage and learning how to fix it.
From trees to forest
Stepping back from the issue at hand or the ongoing arguments and fights in your marriage helps give you a broader vista from which to see your marriage.
From this aspect you can take a look at your marriage in the greater context. What I mean by this is that you can now see the positive aspects of your marriage. Take a moment to think back to the earlier times you were both madly in love. Perhaps even recently you can find a moment of kindness when your spouse did some small thing to try and recapture that spark.
Those shoes were meant for walking
Stepping away from the minutia of the disagreements and arguments in your marriage you have a chance to calm down and see your relationship in its entirety. The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts. And your marriage is probably stronger and filled with more love and commitment than the small daily disagreements and arguments might suggest.
So when you are calm and you can see the bigger picture or your marriage it is time to try on your partners shoes. They might not fit so good but it’s important that you try and get some mileage in them.
Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes will give you an appreciation of their side of things. If you can open your heart to hear what your hurting spouse is trying to communicate then you have come a very long way towards reconciling any difficulties that your marriage might have.
The road to marital bliss is paved with good deeds
Good intentions is not enough, as the cliche goes, that road leads to hell. But if you’ve had the chance through stepping back and calmly allowing for clarity you have likely seen where your partner is hurting and where their bark and bite is coming from.
With good deeds you can know start to heal the pain that you have partly been responsible for in the marriage.
A note, a card, perhaps a bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates will go a long way towards starting the healing process. Perhaps cook a favourite meal or take him/her to a show. Whatever it is that you think your spouse might like is something to consider doing.
An apology is the salve that soothes the sad soul. It is hard to do that is for sure. If you can’t do it in person then start with a letter, a heartfelt letter of apology. It takes two to tango and you likely have something you could apologize for.
One day at a time
The journey towards healing a broken marriage takes time. It is not a 100 meter dash, but rather it is a walk along thorny brush before you come out into the calm sunny vistas of the meadows of marital peace and harmony.
Each day provides a unique opportunity to practice the steps provided above and to renew your commitment to fixing the problems in your marriage. For owning those issues for which you are responsible and for taking new action in a new direction to bring peace and love back into your relationship for you and your spouse.
Sometimes professional help is needed. Sometimes you will have to do it alone. There is no shame in seeking counselling in order to help you save your marriage or fix the broken parts. It is part of the evolution of the human spirit that we become more than we think we are capable of. And troubled marriages are great opportunities to reach beyond, to stretch yourself and grow into a more loving, committed and peaceful human that offers their partner a sanctuary in a safe and fulfilling marriage.