Struggling through challenging times in a relationship can be emotionally draining for both partners. It is important to remember that every relationship experiences ups and downs. Seeking expert guidance should not be seen as a sign of weakness but as a tool to help create a more fulfilling partnership.
- Before Making Difficult Decisions
- Question #1 – Rekindling the Flame
- Question #2 – Open and Honest Communication
- Question #3 – Embracing Change for a Better Future
- Question #4 – Eliminating Harmful Influences
- Question #5 – Rebuilding Together
- Question #6 – Realistic Expectations
- Question #7 – A Shared Vision
- Question #8 – Gratitude and Appreciation
- Question #9 – Seeking Expert Guidance
Before Making Difficult Decisions
Question #1 – Rekindling the Flame
You might be feeling unhappy, angry, frustrated, or sad. Take a moment to reflect on why you are experiencing these emotions. What changes would need to happen in your relationship for you to regain that newlywed joy?
To help you answer this question, visualize the things that would contribute to your happiness in your marriage. For example:
- “I want to feel more respected.”
- “I need more personal space.”
- “I want to spend more quality time with my spouse.”
- “I desire greater financial stability.”
- “I want a more active and fulfilling sex life.”
The more specific and detailed you are when creating this list, the more beneficial it will be.
Question #2 – Open and Honest Communication
Even if you have both acknowledged the unhappiness in your marriage, you may not fully understand each other’s reasons. It is essential to find a quiet moment to sit down and have an open conversation with your partner. Choose a time when you are both calm and free from distractions.
During this conversation, listen attentively to each other’s feelings. Share your needs and concerns openly, using “I” statements to avoid accusations or judgment. For example:
- “I would like us to communicate more frequently.”
- “I want to spend more quality time together.”
- “Let’s share household responsibilities more equally.”
- “I believe we need to experience more intimacy.”
Remember to be receptive to your partner’s feelings and be open to their thoughts and suggestions. Even if you feel strongly about something, keep in mind that your spouse may see it from a different perspective.
Question #3 – Embracing Change for a Better Future
After discussing the changes needed for a happier relationship, determine which changes you can personally initiate. Establish a set of goals to strive for, such as scheduling regular dates or sharing daily experiences after work.
Once you introduce these changes, commit to them for at least a month. You may be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact you can have on your marriage.
Question #4 – Eliminating Harmful Influences
External factors can often pose a greater threat to a marriage than expected. While extramarital affairs can divert attention from improving the relationship, they are not the only destructive distractions.
Well-intentioned friends and family members can unknowingly influence your thoughts, manipulating you into decisions that may not align with your own desires. Career and other obligations can also consume your energy, leaving little room for investing in your relationship.
When your marriage is in serious jeopardy, it is crucial to minimize external distractions and prioritize healing between you and your partner.
Question #5 – Rebuilding Together
Both you and your partner must be fully invested in the journey to transform your marriage. If you have mentally given up on the relationship, you are likely to interpret every action or remark as a reason to end it.
To heal your relationship, focus on investing in positive change rather than seeking excuses to leave. Reflect on the reasons you should strive to save your marriage rather than focusing on reasons to move on.
Question #6 – Realistic Expectations
Divorce may not solve all your problems, even if you have endured a painful and challenging period in your marriage. In fact, it can lead to increased conflict when it disrupts your home, family, and personal life.
Consider the expectations you have for your post-divorce life. Are they realistic? Divorce is unlikely to eliminate financial, personal, or other obstacles that may hinder your happiness and fulfillment.
Creating a “marriage vision” is a powerful tool for building a healthy partnership. This vision should encompass your ideas, hopes, and dreams for the relationship and define the steps needed to achieve those goals.
If you haven’t developed a marriage vision together, take the time to sit down with your spouse and discuss your expectations. Create a set of ideas that inspire and motivate both of you as individuals and as a couple.
Refer back to this vision during challenging times, using it as a guide to navigate troubled waters. Update it together as your relationship evolves and your needs change.
Question #8 – Gratitude and Appreciation
Instead of solely focusing on what needs to change, take a moment to appreciate all the positive aspects of your relationship. Make a list of everything you are grateful for and everything your partner brings to your life. This exercise helps you see your relationship in a positive light and reminds you of the reasons you fell in love.
Question #9 – Seeking Expert Guidance
Even in the healthiest relationships, seeking professional help can work wonders, especially during challenging times. Marriage counseling offers effective strategies for healing and transforming your partnership. It is a valuable resource that even the happiest couples utilize.
If you are facing difficulties in your marriage and feel that ending it is the only option, consider reaching out for help. Visit Six Minute Dates to explore available Imago Relationship Workshops, Relationship Therapy, Online Couples Therapy, Online Couples Workshops, Imago Professional Membership, Imago Professional Facilitators, Imago Professional Training, and Imago Educational Webinars.
Remember, there is always hope for rebuilding and revitalizing your relationship. By taking these critical steps and seeking professional guidance, you can embark on a journey of renewed love, fulfillment, and growth.