My Marriage Has Died: What Can I Do to Resuscitate It?

BY: - 4 Jul '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

Where do I begin? I have been married for 19 years and I don’t know where my marriage stands! At year 12, my husband was arrested then later sentenced to 10 years! Before his sentence, while out on bail, we both got jobs and lease to purchase a home. The marriage was strong and loving!

During his sentence (he did 5 1/2 years) so much happened: I lost both parents within two months of each other and I was their caregiver. I had to resign from my job, place everything in storage and move across the country to care for them but that was an honor and blessing. I had several surgeries while he was away. I felt so alone but our communication and love was very strong!

Fast forward to now. When he got out, I felt so alone and neglected! I know prison can change a person but with the communication we had, I figured that things would be okay and it wouldn’t take long to get the strong love back!

We have been in two different states as I having been helping my active duty children with my grandchildren in Hawaii and Texas. Our conversations are nonexistent and there’s normally silence unless I start up a conversation. I got more attention from him while he was in prison than I do now! I’m at a loss because I truly care for my husband. My Marriage Has Died: What Can I Do to Resuscitate It? Any words of encouragement would be appreciated!

Blessings for health and happiness,

Mrs. Alone and Neglected

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Dear Mrs. Alone and Neglected,

The best thing that you can do to resuscitate your marriage is to physically reconnect with your husband. You all have been separated due to his prison sentence and now due to you helping your children. The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true to some extent. Individuals in long distance relationships often report having more meaningful interactions than those who see each other daily. However, their report of having meaningful interaction decrease when the time away from each other is extended beyond expectations.

All healthy relationships have three levels of intimacy which include physical, emotional and spiritual. While physical intimacy (proximity, etc.) cannot sustain a marriage, it is needed to intensify emotional and spiritual connections. You were connected with your husband through conversation, but not through experience.

While physical intimacy cannot sustain a marriage, it is needed to intensify emotional and spiritual connections.

As you stated, “I lost both parents within 2 months of each other as I was their caregiver! I had to resign from my job, place everything in storage and move across the country to care for them which was an honor and blessing! I had several surgeries while he was away! I felt so alone but our communication and love was very strong!”

Based on the aforementioned statement, you primarily felt connected with your husband through communication and love. Good communication and the presence of love is helpful in restoring relationships, but so is physical proximity. In order to get to know your husband again, I believe that you all must reunite. Phone conversations can only go so far. Psychological closeness, which can be sustained via telephone, cannot prosper without common experience.


Your husband is probably silent on the phone because he probably does not know what to say. In therapy, I have heard women mention “jail talk” which includes intense conversations with men who make them feel good. The men say the right things and appear to be emotionally mature. I mention this because I want you to think about the quality of conversations that you had with your husband before and after prison.

If your marriage is to be resuscitated, you have to reconnect with your husband spiritually, emotionally and physically. You both are different people now. And, with so much passed time, I don’t think you’ll be able to resuscitate the marriage without some professional help.

I say this because there might be some unresolved psychological issues between the two of you. For example, he might be feeling guilty for not being available during your trials and tribulations. Also, he might be feeling anger and/or abandoned because you are not physically with him. Please get some professional help.

I wish you the best and hope that you and your husband can have what you all once had.

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 174 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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Is the Art of Give and Take Alive and Well in Your Marriage?

BY: - 6 Jul '17 | Marriage

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By: Dr. George James

We’ve all heard that it takes work to make relationships successful.  At the same time, most of us do not know how much work (effort, commitment, communication and more) it takes. Just when you think you’ve learned how to juggle your needs and your partner’s needs, something or someone else gets added to the equation.  For many, having children adds needs that are challenging to navigate.  How do you meet your child(ren)’s needs, your partner’s needs and still have time to take care of your own?

TNMCoupleFamilyBabySleepMany couples find themselves overwhelmed at this prospect. I spoke to a new father the other day who, after two weeks of caring for his newborn son with his wife, had an epiphany. “This is a lot and there’s two of us working together to take care of him.  I don’t know how single parents do it.  I give them a lot of credit.” It was hard for he and his wife to imagine caring for their son and meeting each other’s needs without sacrificing their own.

So, how could they and many others find the balance necessary? The answer to this difficult question is to practice give and take.  Give and take does not mean everything is always even.  But it does mean that both partners support each other fully and unselfishly.

5 Signs Give and Take is Alive and Well in Your Marriage

  1. Pay Attention to Your Needs – It is easy to ignore yourself to care for others. But remember, you have needs too.
  2. Don’t Forget About Your Partner – We know they are there but we can be so focused on everything else including ourselves that we forget about our partner. Let she/he know you didn’t forget about them.
  3. Check Your Giving Meter – We can push to meet everyone’s needs that we stop checking our meter. The signs are there that we are almost on empty but we keep going.  That’s when we have a huge fight with our partner or feel super overwhelmed.  Pay attention to your meter and ask for help before you get to empty.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – Being able to have a give and take in a relationship takes practice. It’s not something we naturally learn.  We tend to learn in extremes whether it’s all about the other person or all about yourself.  Give and take is balancing everyone’s needs.  But it takes practice.  If you don’t get it right away, keep trying. Keep practicing.
  5. Communicate Often – The best way to have a give and take relationship is to communicate with each other as often as possible to express and hear each other’s wants and needs.

To illustrate the above, check out the second episode Funny Married Stuff where a couple uses a humorous approach to discuss how they balance responsibilities and everyone’s needs as partners and as parents.

For more episodes and information about Funny Married Stuff go to www.funnymarriedstuff.com and www.youtube.com/funnymarriedstuff.

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at GeorgeTalks.com.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1220 articles on this blog.

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