Sometimes it can feel as though our marriage is all consuming.
If your marriage problems feel as though they are sucking the very life force out of you, check out these 5 easy ways to fix marriage issues.
1. Describe your issue in three sentences (or less).
All of us have the ability to overcomplicate our situation. All too often a seemingly simple marriage problem is blow out of proportion by historical wounds or peripheral issues. Your spouse might say things like “I don’t want to talk” or “I’m not good at talking.” Usually, the real issue is that he or she gets easily flooded with too much information and shuts down. So, when bringing up an issue, end your description after three sentences. For example, cut off your point at “You said you’d clean up the kitchen, and you didn’t.” Don’t add on all those extra but related issues like: “You don’t do what you say you’re going to do. I can’t trust you. I can’t even trust what you’re going to do next. And by the way, I saw that you also left the toilet seat up again.”
2. Praise, Praise, Praise.
Surprise your spouse with praise just when they are most expecting you to criticize them. For example, if your spouse has a tendency to be overbearing with your children, and the two of you have fought about this, repeatedly, wait until you hear them talking about something together. After he or she is finished and your child has left the room, say something like: “I so admire the way you used negotiation to work out a solution. I appreciate how you explain where he’s done wrong, not just that he’s done something bad.” It’s disarming. It’s unexpected, and it encourages new behavior — from both of you by focusing less on the negative and more on positive reinforcement.
3. End the phony I-statements.
Many of us know about the value of an “I-statement,” a technique that requires you to talk about your feelings instead of your partner’s behavior. For example, if your partner is frequently late, instead of saying to him, “You’re always late. It’s so rude,” you might say, “It’s more difficult for me when you’re late because I don’t know how to plan the dinner.” This way, you can talk about the issue without attacking him. But be warned: Not all statements that begin with the word “I” are I-statements. Tacking on an “I think” does not necessarily mean you are talking about yourself. Avoid comments like “I think you’re controlling,” or “I think you’re treating me like your nosey, pushy mother.” That is, unless you want to start a big fight.
4. Anticipation is worse than reality.
If you’re sick of hearing, say, your partner’s repetitive worry about what’s going to happen in his job, you need to initiate that very conversation to get it out in the open and get it dealt with. You may worry that you will open the emotional dams and have to talk about what you least want to hear about — for forever. But in fact, your partner will dwell on the issue less if you really invite them to tell you everything in one fell swoop. You don’t have to come up with solutions or cheer them up. You just have to listen. Your spouse has to feel as though you are the first person they can come to. If they go to others first, your marriage is in trouble.
5. Invent an imaginary guest to stay.
All of us have much more control over our behavior than we like to think, even when we’re fuming with our spouse and feel that they are the sole reason for our misery! For instance, if you had a very proper, prestigious guest at your home, sleeping in the bedroom adjacent to yours, sitting with you in your loungeroom and dining with you at your table, you’d act differently during arguments. You’d behave more kindly and politely to your spouse when, say, he lied to you about working late when in fact he was having a swift beer with his buddies, if only because you didn’t want to feel deeply ashamed. So the next time you consider screaming, imagine that high status houseguest lying in the guest room, overhearing your every word. It will modify your behavior like nothing else!
This is only the beginning of what you can learn. If you want 3 more priceless insights to save your marriage from divorce, or want to discover the 3 deadly mistakes you must avoid in your marriage, check out this short video:
Even if you’re the only one who wants to fix things.
Watch it now.