A couple falls in love, marries, and then they seem to grow apart. What causes this? I believe it can be traced to two things: our concept of love and our concept of what we expect to feel in a marriage.
In regards to the first, some cultures get married and then fall in love. In America, we fall in love and get married. Although, I don’t believe it’s actual “love” since a level of commitment is involved which takes time to prove and experience. We expect marital bliss to continue for years with little effort on our part. That’s basically how we got started; we saw the person and we melted. Well, bitterness sets in as we see all the things that are wrong with the person. This is a formula for disaster. Unlike when we were young or dating in college, work takes up a great deal of our time and then children come into the picture and (let’s be honest) suck the life out of us. What should you do to save your failing marriage? Start doing the right things and stop doing the wrong.
In Fighting for Your Marriage, authors Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg say to avoid the following:
Escalation – “Escalation occurs when partners respond back and forth negatively to each other, continually upping the ante so the conversation gets more and more hostile.” 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” Don’t cause the argument to get worse. Be level headed, particularly if your partner isn’t. Peace was never found between two people if they both want war.
Negative Interpretation – “Negative interpretations occur when one partner consistently believes that the motives of the other are more negative than is really the case.” Just because your partner says something does not mean that it is meant as a derogatory comment. Work on communication means you must put your guards down. Discuss it if your partner’s comments hurt, but don’t assume anything.
Invalidation – Listen to the other person’s feelings and validate them. By name calling and disregarding what the other person is saying or feeling, you are building a wall of division rather than trust or love. Hear his/her feelings or thoughts and let them know you understand then work to be understood yourself.
Withdrawal – With these first three in place, emotional and even physical withdrawal is sure to follow. We avoid people that are not pleasing to be around. Stop doing these wrong things and reconnect.
For more articles on love and marriage, visit Dale’s blog at www.insearchformore.com; rated one of the top 50 blogs on the Internet for marriage advice by MastersInCounseling.com.
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