What everybody ought to know about saving your relationship and marriage
My parents (pictured) did not fare so well and probably should have gotten a divorce a lot sooner.
Our relationships aren’t over because of one single bad incident occurred. This doesn’t happen during the course of one day either. Problem is that smaller issues accumulate over time and then one day it is too late: One of the two partners withdraws and the silent treatment happens. Before you know it you are no longer sharing one bedroom and sooner or later you may go separate ways. Misery galore.
I observed this pattern with my parents, close relatives and good friends. It is especially hard to watch when children are involved. Often they are the collateral damage of nasty divorces potentially setting them up for their own future miseries.
Give your own snow globe a little stir and ponder the following points that may help avoid going down the hill of separation.
1. Realize the problem starts with you. Are you clamming up? Is the silent treatment your “weapon” of choice? Think about why that is. Realize that the moment you are stopping the communication on your side there is no chance for a mutual listen-plan-do-review-correct cycle to occur.
Without corrections you will only slip into deeper silence and hence now definitely nothing will change. That is a devilish cycle.
2. Think about the person you fell in love with. What has really changed? Most partners do not change at all. They stay the same; it is you who changed the view of the other partner perhaps.
During the first stage of the relationship we tend to be so infatuated that we cannot and will not be able to see the flaws in the loved one. Only much later when the mature relationship settles in are we seeing it – and we are annoyed by the issues.
3. Curb the blame game. Think about how 3 fingers point back at you when you point 1 finger at others. Blaming others may feel great for a while and soothe your ego, but it is one of those unsustainable things that will not help sustain any relationship. When you are together you either figure it out together or you won’t. Stop blaming or soon you will indeed be on your own. Just make that choice wisely.
4. Start the conversation. Find the things were commonality still exists and start talking about future events. Venture into other areas and do the same. Chances are you both had a vision about how your future was supposed to look like.
Well, what are you waiting for? I can all but guarantee you that your single futures will not nearly look the same as the one that you can build together. I’m sure you know plenty of folks that can testify to this.
5. Get enrolled in counseling. I used to not believe in sharing my thoughts with anyone. I am a man; I should be able handling all problems by myself. How wrong I was. A third conflict neutral party can almost always help you get back on track.
You know why? The neutral party listens to what both parties are saying with a rational ear. Love and hate are very similar, but most of all they are extremely emotional based. Emotion taps into the lizard brain of yours and what you say in an emotional state is not as important as how you say it. When your partner is upset she/ he will only pay attention to your mannerisms and the words you choose – not necessarily what you say.
A counselor can really help turn the downward spiral around. Make good use of it.
6. When everything else fails seek mediation. Sometimes it is better when we part ways with our significant others. It should really be your absolute last resort though. When you have reached this conclusion please consider mediation over going straight to a lawyer. It is typically the small stuff that gets couple into huge trouble in divorce court. I have heard one story about how a man turned the proceedings totally ugly over a weed whacker – that he really did not need as he had moved into a condo.
See what I mean? Mediation helps keep the channel of communication open. Only when this channel exists will you make the greater progress and overall save yourself a lot of money. I am not against lawyers, but when lawyers get involved communication goes through them. They use lingo that the other party usually does not take well to and that is a pay-per-view scenario that can take a lot longer.
Like most things in life, thinking about your relationship is more about having a dialog with yourself more than it is about your partner. Make sure to ponder your journey in solitude. The answers lie within you. Once you have a clearer picture open the channel of communication; let it be good or bad. Make absolutely certain you do what you do with your head, heart and guts fully on board with it.