7 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage When Painful Experiences Try to Destroy It

BY: - 30 Oct '17 | Marriage

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We all know life is about finding happiness and experiencing joy. But as much as we know that, we also know life is about managing the inevitable: pain. None of us enjoy it, and many of us aren’t sure how to deal with it, but we know that we have to face it at some point. And even though many of us
know painful experiences will come and go throughout the course of our lifetime, we often aren’t as prepared for them as we should be.

As much as painful experiences can hurt, they don’t have to destroy your marriage. There is hope, and you can recover from the pain. It takes time and work, but it is possible.

Here are a few tips that can help you and your spouse begin the process of working through what
happened (or is currently happening) and help you create the marriage that you both deserve.

Accept what happened.

This may seem cliché, but the reality is that we cannot change the past. Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s easy to wish that things worked out differently, but we often have very little control over how our
painful situation came to be. And even if you did have control over it, it’s done, and beating yourself up over what you wish you did differently isn’t serving you or your marriage.

Express your emotions.

Try to find a way to express what you are feeling. Keeping it bottled up not only damages your marriage, but it can cause your harm and damage your strength of spirit, making it more difficult for you to deal with the next painful experience that may come along. If you just can’t talk to your spouse yet, write a letter and hand it to him or her. If you aren’t ready for that, consider a counselor or a pastor, so you can ensure that what you say is confidential, but you have an outlet to get it off of your chest.

Forgive.

Easier said than done, I know. However, forgiveness really does set you free, and it enables you to move on. Having trouble with forgiveness is normal, but if you are truly unwilling to forgive, you have to ask yourself if you really want your marriage to work. Release the anger, resentment, and
bitterness, and make the choice to forgive and move on.

Appreciate your differences.

Your spouse does not have to handle pain the same way that you do. Recognize that everyone handles pain differently, and as long as your spouse isn’t doing anything that may cause harm (e.g.
drinking, behaving recklessly, etc.), give them space to just be and figure things out for a bit. Forcing someone to manage pain the way that you do can potentially cause him or her more pain.

Let go.

This may not apply, depending on what your painful experience is, but if you feel like your spouse did something wrong that has caused a great deal of pain and damaged your relationship, you will only be able to start a journey towards recovery if you are truly able to let go. Holding on to what was done wrong and bringing it up constantly shows that you haven’t forgiven and you simply are not ready to move on.

Practice empathy.

Empathy and sympathy are very different emotions. To express sympathy means that you feel sorry for what someone is going through. Empathy, however, means that you are taking the time to mentally place yourself in someone else’s shoes in an attempt to truly understand their pain and perspective. It is easy to show sympathy, but expressing empathy towards your partner does a lot more in terms of moving past the pain and working on your relationship.

Seek professional help.

Oftentimes, implementing all of the best strategies is not enough. Your relationship needs more. This is where professional help should become a consideration. Consider seeing a counselor or therapist to help you and your spouse work through the pain. Also, remember that you may need more than couples therapy. There may be a need for individual therapy as well. We have to strengthen 0urselves if we want to strengthen our marriages.

When you are in the midst of a painful experience, it’s incredibly difficult to recognize how much the experience will strengthen you. Yet, with time, perseverance, and hard work, most marriages can truly survive experiences that have the potential to break your spirit and leave you lost. Most
marriages can come out stronger with the right advice and a strong will to move forward and find joy again.

BMWK, for a more in-depth look at moving beyond the pain, get your copy of the E-book above!

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 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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Married in the Military: 8 Key Questions Every Military Marriage Should Ask

BY: - 6 Nov '17 | Marriage

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By Michael and Myra Holmes

Making a marriage work is hard…and the challenges are exponentially compounded in military marriages. Frequent deployments, separation from your family support group, and the extreme pressures of military life can take a heavy toll on military couples creating anger, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, heartache, and fear.

After you say, “I do,” no one gives you a user’s manual to guide you through the treacherous minefields of marriage.

Click here to download the 7 Practices of Highly Successful Couples from Michael & Myra Holmes for FREE!

No marriage is perfect; however, when you address these 8 questions, you will discover you have taken a huge step toward beginning the hard work to improve yourself, and to secure and transform your marriage. Remember the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” By simply focusing on changing your attitude you will begin the transformation process of becoming more intentional in your thoughts, words, and actions. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Before you can begin to address the issues of your relationship, you have to first conduct an honest self-inspection assessment. While your spouse may be acting differently, distantly, or defiantly, it is unhealthy to retaliate in-kind. Rather, take a 60-second pause to search your own heart with willingness to accept the hard, naked, ugly truth about how your actions and attitude have contributed to your relationship challenges.

Sit down facing each other, holding hands, and while looking into each other’s eyes have a Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment session and address each of the following questions:

1) What do I need to “Change” to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? Instead of making a resolution to exercise more or watch less TV, conduct an  introspective inventory of yourself. None of us are perfect and all of us need to grow. As Dr Gary Chapman, Author of the “Five Love Languages” says, “Marriages and relationships don’t stay the same; they either grow or they atrophy.

2) What do I need to “Sacrifice or Give Up” to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? We enter the world as selfish little creatures, who grow up to be selfish big creatures. When babies are hungry, need their diapers changed, or want to be held; they cry…and they will continue to cry because THEY WANT IT NOW! Making the shift from selfishness to selflessness is a deeply personal gift that can create an atmosphere to foster healing, forgiveness, and deeper communication.

3) What “Commitments” do I have to make to become a better husband, wife, companion, man, woman, and friend? Which commitment takes priority? Does commitment to your service take priority or commitment to your wife and family? The strain associated with the competing  commitments of marriage and career can wreak havoc on a relationship. Military families find themselves caught-up in a never-ending battle of tug of war.

4) What should we “Start Doing” that perhaps we haven’t done yet? Identify specific behaviors, actions, and activities that will ignite (or reignite) passion, excitement, fun, and fulfillment in your marriage. Dare to be creative and challenge yourselves to think outside the box. Consider every aspect of your relationship (e.g., romance, lovemaking, date nights, intentional time together, sharing your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, concerns, and fears).

5) What should we “Stop Doing” that’s not contributing or is getting in the way of our happiness? Most marriage teams consider this to be a much-needed, long overdue exercise. It provides an excellent opportunity to trim fat, declutter, and eliminate those things that don’t yield any relationship value. You eliminate time sink holes by aggressively seeking out activities that suck up a lot of time. We like to call this “garbage time.” Things that qualify as garbage time may include: television, social media, video games, sports, Lifetime Movies, etc.,).

6) What should we “Continue to Do” that’s working and we need to ensure it continues? As you conduct your Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment, it’s important not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Therefore, successful marriages maintain a laser-like focus on the things they do that work and generate positive results in the relationship. Maintain a clear situational awareness of these value-added actions to ensure they don’t inadvertently drop off your radar screen.

7) What should we “Do More Of”? This is closely related to the previous item (What should we Continue to Do?). However, now you can use your list of those things you need to continue to do as a baseline, and review the list to see if there are any high-value items that provide high-impact results. These may include things that are easy to do…you do them routinely…and they are responsible for much of the love, peace, and joy you enjoy in your relationship.

8) What should we “Do Less Of”? As you build this list, you will target things that are value-added, but doing them more frequently doesn’t produce significant gains. Activities fitting into this category might include: going out to dinner (a nice “to do” occasionally, but you don’t have to do it
every week).

The late 1970s and early 1980s singer/songwriter Pat Benatar won a Grammy Award for the song, “Love is a Battlefield.” While it may be true that marriage sometimes seems like a battlefield, it does not mean that you should be fighting each other. Instead of fighting against each other, you should be fighting side-by- side to fortify, enhance, and enrich your relationship.

Regularly completing this Strategic Brainstorming Self-Inspection Assessment will help you to target and neutralize your relationship vulnerabilities, while further developing your strengths. This will generate an outcome that will transform your marriage, putting it on a path of continual renewal and improvement. Dr Johnny Parker, author of “Turn the Page,” says, “Marriage Success is Hard Work, It’s Heart Work, Do the Work Because It’s Worth It.”

Click here to download the 7 Practices of Highly Successful Couples from Michael & Myra Holmes for FREE!

About the Authors: Michael and Myra Holmes are the founders of LifeM8Z (pronounced Life Mates) Life Coaching and Marriage/Relationship Mentors. LifeM8Z is especially focused on strengthening and saving military marriages by helping them to overcome the unique stresses of military life.

Michael and Myra are a unique husband and wife Life Coach and Marriage/Relationship mentor team who work together to ensure the perspectives of both clients are given equal time to be seen, felt, and heard. Together they have coached and mentored hundreds of couples over the past 20 years.

Michael and Myra Holmes are Certified Professional Life Coaches, Certified Better Marriages Leader Couple, Certified Prepare/Enrich Facilitators, and Co-Marriage Ministry Leaders at Six Mount Zion Baptist Temple in Hampton VA. Michael served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force before he retired in May 2006 in the rank of Colonel. Mike and Myra enjoy helping couples learn how to give and receive love.

Click here to download the 7 Practices of Highly Successful Couples from Michael & Myra Holmes for FREE!

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BMWK Staff wrote 1241 articles on this blog.

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