It seems every few months we are flooded with headlines, announcing the next celebrity divorce or separation. Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas are the latest to reveal their marital woes. And according to reports, the couple have allegedly been living in separate homes for months now.
This had us thinking. There is usually a point before divorce, where the spouses aren’t quite willing to pull the plug on the relationship but can neither tolerate the relationship’s current climate. When you’ve come to a point when your marriage has taken a turn for the worst, what can you do?
We turned to certified relationship coach Paula Y. Martin of Marriage Relationship Synergy for advice on what can be done in these situations. For couples wading in a rough patch, considering separation or even nearing closer to actual divorce, she outlined five common marriage-ending troubles and what to do about them.
1) You and/or your spouse do not feel accepted, wanted or loved for who you really are.
- Don’t let your pride and/or pain block you from acknowledging your spouse’s good contributions. Take actions to show your spouse how much you appreciate them and the contribution they bring into the relationship (if you’re not letting temporary anger cloud your viewpoint, you will be able to come up with a long list of qualities you value in your spouse).
- Accept each other’s differences and seek ways to work as one while leveraging one another’s strengths to offset one another’s weakness. Reset your mindset, remembering you two are a team and not competing forces.
- If there is a behavior that you would like your spouse to change and it is reasonable, instead of criticizing and complaining, make a request.
2) You and/or your partner neglect to share thoughts, ideas, feelings or life events with one another.
- Show that you care for your partner by making a conscious decision to be an active member in his or her live on a daily basis. Take an interest in: How their day went, What they did today; How they feel about, etc.
- Try not to dwell in the negative. Every day, consider how important your partner is to you and how grateful you are for them in your life.
- When a well-meaning partner experiences the care and concern you have for them and the relationship, they begin to reciprocate with kinder, more considerate behaviors as well.
3) You and/or your spouse stopped giving one another the benefit of the doubt.
- When couples no longer hold a space for love and respect, an undercurrent of anger and bitterness rears its ugly head in large and small conflicts. Extent your spouse the trust and respect you originally gave him or her when you first married. Reverse the atmosphere of anger and frustration that you’ve created as a result of your distrust and past hurts. You’ll eventually see positivity enter your relationship again.
- Understand that the love is still there. Couples should say, “I know my spouse loves me, therefore, I will trust that my spouse won’t do anything to intentionally hurt or harm me. The disagreement is a misunderstanding that we must willingly work together to understand with love, patience and consideration.”
- Lastly, listen for understanding instead of rebuttal and create viable resolutions that will help your marriage move forward and grow.
4) You and/or your spouse no longer enjoy spending time together.
- Remember the time in your relationship when everything was new, exciting and you could hardly wait to see your partner face-to-face. Channel those feelings again. When you buildup positive anticipation to see your spouse, you’re already in a better emotional space for that interaction.
- Yes, we all get busy; it happens. But invest some time for your marriage. Make your moments of togetherness an outlet you both can enjoy and relax in—away from the day-to-day stresses. Experience new hobbies, new projects and new healthy interests together.
- If work has driven a wedge between your marriage, become the work release for your partner. If you or your spouse have stressful careers, become one another’s physical and emotional pacifier. Touch one another more. Make each other laugh. Hear each other out.
5) You and/or your spouse’s vision for the future do not include your mate.
- Every successful relationship should have a vision and goals for how it wants to evolve, grow and thrive. Collaborate on your individual goals and dreams, then plan on how you can achieve those goals together.
- Secondly, plan on your relationship goals, and weigh what it will take for both of you to achieve those goals. Create a directional plan on how to move from where you are now in your marriage to where they want to be.
- If your idea of “a better life” in the future does not include your mate, then it’s time to examine the questions, “why not ?” and “what can be done now to infuse longevity into the relationship?”
BMWK, have you ever hit a rough patch in your marriage? What did you do to turn it around?