How do you work through those feelings of anger and uncertainty to get to the literal heart of the matter and rediscover love?
Couples that have been together in a committed relationship or marriage often fall into a trap of passive-aggressive arguing as a way of communicating with one another. One of the two may start the process by throwing out disparaging comments and in retaliation the other responds by throwing hurtful insults back. Talking escalates into yelling and at some point couples find themselves communicating solely through arguments. To them, this behavior seems relatively normal; almost a comfort zone of what they have grown used to when interacting with one another.But, as we all know, committed couples didn’t start their relationships with constant arguing. Love, compassion and respect once reined. So where along the term of the relationship did love become replaced with anger, resentment and disgust? If you find yourself in this love/hate trap, you can make a conscious effort to pull yourself and your partner out of this negative abyss by following these simple steps for change:
1) When an argument starts up, try to stop, break away and take a moment to really think about what the argument is based on.
Are you bickering over small things such as who is going to walk the dog or more serious issues like money and child rearing responsibilities? Are you or your partner harboring resentments over past actions? Are you holding on to old grudges that can’t seem to be resolved? Your tone and your reaction to the discussion will (predictably) be mirrored by your partner. If your temper flares and reason is replaced with emotional unreason, before you know it a full blown argument ensues. So try to determine what the root of your anger consists of and try to remain calm and talk civilly
2) Try to set aside some time to sit down and discuss the state of your relationship and work on your conflict resolution skills.
Try to listen to each other’s statements, questions and concerns and do not interrupt one another. Arguments often grow out of one person’s frustration at feeling unheard or unappreciated. By giving each other the time to clearly state how you feel will go a long way to lessening the angry outbursts that have come to dominate daily interaction.
3) Make it a solid rule never to fight in front of others. This type of passive/aggressive arguing – putting each other down with subtle digs and/or insults can be extremely detrimental to your relationship and the friendships you share with others. If you have a disagreement, try to hold out from arguing in public until you are both alone where more constructive conflict resolution can take place.
4) Perhaps spending some free time away from each other can help. Many couples that work together and live together end up getting on each other’s nerves because they are, well, always together. Spending some time apart from one another can actually help the relationship because it will give you a chance to interact with others and build friendships outside your marriage which in the long run will enrich your life and make you feel good about yourself.
5) Look back into your family’s history and your partner’s Did you grow up witnessing parents that always argued? Often times the behavior we witnessed as children we repeat when we become adults. We tend to believe bad behavior is normal and therefore unconsciously accept it and continue it. If you do remember growing up in a household where Mom and Dad were always screaming and yelling at each other, then perhaps this is why you may be in this love/hate relationship. Look into consulting a therapist to help you (and/or your partner) work through some old childhood issues. Hey, a little couple’s counseling can help even the healthiest of couples, so don’t feel awkward looking into this considered option.
All in all, continual conflicts in a love/hate relationship are never healthy and rarely lead to long-term happiness. As the love dissipates and the hate grows, so try to break the pattern in order to find that positive love that once dominated your early relationship and continue to work on it day by day.
Marriage can be Wonderful! Fabulous! Magical!…and at times Tedious! As each year passes and as children come along, how do you keep your marriage alive? How do you keep that love sparking and sizzling, especially after five, ten, twenty years?
Here are five recommendations to improve your marriage:
· Respect each other. Don’t act entitled and expect your spouse to take care of all the daily chores (such as cleaning, food shopping, taking care of the kids 24/7). Marriage is a team effort, respect each other and help each other with the responsibilities of daily life. Also try not to be too critical, respect your spouse and help them through a challenge, don’t bash them on the inability to handle a given circumstance or situation.
· Consider scheduled daily talks as a means of improving communication.
· Take time to work on intimacy. Schedule romantic dates or vacations. Trust me, you need time apart from the daily grind to keep your marriage healthy and happy.
· Support one another’s goals and achievements
· Be willing to forgive. Don’t hold on to past grudges. The negativity will eventually erode the marriage.
In honor of the Royal Wedding, I wanted to share the Seven C’s for a great marriage!
1). Compromise – When you’re married to someone, you’ll discover your partner has a few irritating habits. (I.e. men leave the toilet seat up, women “borrow” their husband’s razors to shave their legs). Whatever your gripes may be, try to civilly talk to your spouse about their habits and if they aren’t that important, let it go….. in other words, compromise!! Also, be open to change if your spouse approaches you about your habits.
2). Be Considerate – Always be considerate of your spouse! Never talk down to them or humiliate them in public. Don’t throw your day’s frustrations on to them.
3). Be Compassionate– Ask about their day, be available to offer support. Be interested in what is going on in their lives. Offer a shoulder to cry on, be the first one to congratulate them if they have achieved a personal or professional goal. Compassion goes a long way in marriage.
4). Compliment – Try to offer small compliments to your spouse on a daily basis. Do not wait until your spouse asks you for a compliment, surprise them!! It doesn’t take a lot of effort. Also, when they have achieved something truly wonderful, state how proud you are of them – mentioning this goes a long way! It has been proven that couples that verbally state how proud they are of one another increases the love between them.
5). Be Creative – Buy an occasional gift; just a spontaneous little something such as flowers, a card, a decadent dessert, a fabulous bottle of wine. You don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day, a birthday or holiday to show your love. Also, make time for a “date night.” Like when you were first dating; call him/her up and ask for a date. It could be for a movie, or dinner, or a drive to watch the sunset with cocktails.
6). Celebrate – Try and remember why you fell in love in the first place and try to keep those feelings alive! One of the best ways I keep my marriage alive is to celebrate our time together by booking little mini vacations. It could be a two night stay at an inn two hours away from home, or something more extravagant. We all get caught up in the daily stresses of life and take our spouses for granted. By getting away more than once a year, we can celebrate our lives together by simply slowing down, relaxing and spending quality time with one another.
7). Canoodle – A surprise afternoon tryst or a romantic evening at a hotel; a spontaneous “public display of affection.” All these things are wonderful and keep your marriage healthy.