5 Things Couples Can Do to Prepare for a Major Life Transition

BY: - 10 Mar '17 | Marriage

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If there is once thing I know for sure, it’s the fact that every couple has to experience change. Even if your relationship is happy and healthy, change will occur. It’s inevitable.

But change is not a bad thing. Change is a natural part of life. What determines your level of happiness and success is not your ability to avoid change, but your ability to manage it. What do you do when the unexpected happens? How do you handle major life transitions?

I am currently preparing to transition from being the mother of two to being a mother of three. Preparing for life as a family of five is exciting. It’s also a little scary. But my husband and I refuse to let this new addition catch us off guard. We know that we have to take steps to prepare. And yes, we know that we can’t prepare for every possibly scenario. But we also know that the more prepared we are, the easier this transition will be for all five of us.

Whether it’s joining two families, divorce, a new child, a major move, financial challenges, or any other transition you face, you have to do your best to be prepared. That preparation will allow you to manage change in the healthiest possible way.

Here are five things couples can do to prepare for major life transitions.

Ask for help.

We live in a very individualist society. Everyone wants to handle their own business and do things alone. But we were not designed to do this thing called life all alone. And we especially need help when we are preparing for a transition. Whether you are in need of emotional support or the type of support that comes in the form of childcare, meals, or physical labor, do not hesitate to turn to the people you love and trust for the support you need. It will help ease any major transition and that is a blessing you can’t ignore.

Improve your communication skills.

Nothing makes life easier to manage with your spouse than effective communication. You can’t make assumptions and you have to be able to talk about your fears, anxieties, and concerns openly. You also need to be able to express your hopes and dreams. When that line of communication remains open and you are able to stay on the same page, it makes all the difference in your ability to face a major life transition as a unit.

Do your research

Although this isn’t possible with unexpected events, we often do have the opportunity to research and prepare for many of the transitions in our lives. When you are able to research options and possibilities, you certainly should. The more information you have, the more prepared you are to make the best decisions for yourselves and your family. A well-informed decision is often your best decision.

A well-informed decision is often your best decision.

Be flexible

You have to be flexible as a unit if you want to manage change and transitions without losing your minds. Flexibility may seem trivial, but it really is a skill you need to work on. If you get so stuck on things being a certain way, you really don’t give yourself the space to explore different possibilities that may very well work for your family. Sure, you can’t bend on everything, but you should try your best to develop the ability to be flexible when it’s needed.

Have a plan

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, right? Well there is definitely some truth to it. If you know your family is about to face a transition, plan for it. Talk things out and put a plan in place. You may have to make adjustments along the way, but being prepared allows you to handle a transition with focus and grace, and that’s a beautiful thing.

BMWK family, how does your family prepare for major transitions?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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After 30 Plus Years, I Don’t Feel Loved. Is My Marriage Over?

BY: - 14 Mar '17 | Marriage

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TNMSeniorWomanThinking

Hello Dr. Buckingham

My heart is very heavy because my husband and I have been married 34 years, and although he claims that he loves me and he wants to remain married, I don’t feel his love. He doesn’t show any affection. When I share my concerns, it seems to me that it’s not important to him. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a good provider and has been a good father.  But as for me, I feel lonely in this relationship. I don’t feel loved by my husband and there’s no intimacy. What hurts me the most is that we are both Christian and we should be helping others concerning marriage. After 30 plus years, I have concerns. I don’t feel loved, Is my marriage over?

Thanks,

Lonely Wife

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Dear Lonely Wife,

The absence of love does not mean that your marriage is over.

Let me explain.

As most of us think about love, we associate it with optimistic thinking and positive behavior. Some of us even believe that love conquers all and that relationships can weather any storm if love is present.

At one point in my life I believed this, but not anymore. Not to sound too pessimistic, but I have witnessed too many marriages end in which I was convinced that love was present; although many would question whether love was truly present if the marriage ended.

Knowledge of love and how it works provides a road map for developing healthy self-concepts and relationships. Everyone desires love, but we often don’t know what it is or how to get it. In talking with couples about the meaning of love, I found that a good number of people agree that love is an emotion of compassion. Some individuals report feelings of exhilaration and excitement when they are in love, while others report strong, intense, and indescribable feelings towards another person. Moreover, a widespread consensus is that love should be untainted.

READ: Can I Thrive in a Loveless Marriage?

Personally, I define love as a powerful, compassionate and intangible emotion that directs the heart of women and men. This means that the heart is the control center that manages the emotions that influence our love. In reality, our hearts and emotions, like other things in our lives, change with conditions and circumstances. We withdraw or limit our love when our emotions are unstable and more often than not, we end up hurting others and ourselves in the process. Although we do not like the pain that is associated with withdrawing or limiting our love, we do so to manage our emotions and/or to protect our hearts.

When love is absent in relationships, I have found that compassion is lost or minimized due to internal suffering or hurt. Individuals who are in distress are often incapable of expressing love in a compassionate manner. I have also found that good-hearted people say and do bad things when they feel betrayed, wronged, belittled, unappreciated or disrespected.

Instead of expressing your concerns and talking about how you do not feel loved, try to figure out what is going on with your husband. When people change their course of behavior I try to learn about and pay attention to their underlying motives. This is important to understand because increased feelings of doubt or dislike toward self and others cause individuals to reserve their love.

As you strive to restore the love in your marriage, remember that love is by-product of good communication, respect and trust. Also, remember that love itself is not enough to prevent us from hurting each other. Human beings were created out of love to love, but we allow our emotions to distort that love.

God created us out of love and to live life without love is as harsh as living life without a soul.

I suggest that you look at the intent of your husband’s heart before give up on your marriage. If you detect that your husband is neglecting you because he lacks insight as to how to express his love appropriately, then you should provide support, seek professional counsel and pray. Basically, stick with him. If you detect that he is deliberately withdrawing his love to be spiteful then you should provide support, seek professional counsel and pray. If the deliberate behavior continues, you should consider moving on because love does hurt, but not intentionally. God created us out of love and to live life without love is as harsh as living life without a soul.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 170 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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