Let's Face It - Marriage Can Be Difficult
Most of us have heard the common statistic that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, but I don't think most of us know how long it really takes for the average couple to seek help when the relationship is not going well.
And, if you have been married for any length of time, you know that marriages have their peaks and valleys - especially after the couple starts a family and is dealing with the stresses of parenting and less time to spend with each other.
Did You Guess Correctly?
If you took our quiz it asked:
"How long does the average couple wait before asking for help with marital problems?"
A. 7 MONTHS
B. 1 YEAR
C. 3 YEARS
D. 6 YEARS
The Gottman Institute did a study and found it takes the average couple 6 YEARS to seek outside help for their relationship!
That adds up to more than 2000 days when two people know there is a problem but are just hoping things will change.
5 Quick Tips if There is Tension in Your Marriage..
1. Start Gently
Starting gently can be difficult when you are upset at your spouse.
But, a great way to do this is to make sure there are not "time stressors" before you start a conversation! Find a time when both of you have a little bit of "down time" and are not rushed to get out the door for work or need to put the kids to bed.
When starting the conversation - avoid blaming and saying "you always" this is sure to put your spouse on the defensive.
Instead, start with saying some things your spouse does that are good that you appreciate - even if it is small.
2. Apologize if You Get It Wrong
Sometimes the conversation starts out OKAY - but ends up getting heated with raised voices. If this happens, apologize and start over.
This can be hard to do, but make sure you stop going down the wrong path - the goal was to sort things out so you can be on the same team - not opposite teams trying to win!
3. Calm Yourself Down
If you need to take a 15 - 20 minute break - that may be good for the discussion.
Very important note...make sure your time out it is only a small break, and not a full day silence (or longer!)
Not communicating with your spouse makes for a high level of tension that is un-healthy and uncomfortable for everyone in the family!
4. Find Common Ground
If you are arguing about your finances - maybe you both agree that it is ridiculous that the health care premium increased by 15% this past year and that has made a bad situations worse.
You can both agree on that fact (actually, I think we all agree on that fact!) When you find common ground you are now "on the same team" instead of blaming one another for the budget not balancing. It makes the conversation easier to talk about what can be done as a team to get your finances back on track!
5. Accept Your Partner Faults
We all know we are not perfect. When you got married, you were not perfect and neither was your spouse.
All of us want to be accepted for who we are, junk and all.
Think about it. Don’t you prefer to hang around people who love you unconditionally rather than those who constantly criticize and nitpick? When we feel this kind of acceptance from our partner, especially in the midst of an intense discussion, we can relax and feel safe to do the right thing.
Try to be understanding of your spouse’s background and personality, and you may find that you will have more compassion for them, and not take their faults so personally.
Are You Looking for More Help?
Juliet West Counseling has been able to help many couples get a fresh new perspective on their marriage and start going down the path of growth, friendship and true love again!
If interested, give me a call at 512 746-7453 or click to set up Your FREE 15 Minute Phone Consultation to get stared and see how I can best help you meet your goals!
I look forward to meeting you!