Marriage can be tough. Even the happiest of couples admit that. After ten years of matrimony, fifteen years of coupledom, and now a family of four after bringing two children into the world, any couple will have done through quite a few issues.
According to a study conducted by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy some of the top marriage complaints include communication issues, lack of quality time together, financial stress, and differences in parenting styles. As storms are weathered and kids grow, the complaints move into seeing life differently, wanting different things, and never being able to to please or understand one another.
These challenges can often lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and disconnection within the relationship. Marriage can be difficult, but when looked at in a unique way those feelings can become ones of enthusiasm and sense of adventure.
With the people with whom we work, we involve them in the process and spark their ability to excel with their partner. That journey starts within each man and woman. There is no escape from the ups and downs; however, you can get so good at dealing with them that they will eventually seem like a mild turn on the road.
When you have the tools and insights to truly thrive in relationships, marriage can become much more fun and easy. Let's look at ten tips for overcoming challenges in marriage on your own.
Tip #1 Stop Trying to Fix Your Partner
A common mistake many couples make when faced with marital issues is for each partner to try and change the other. This approach rarely works as it often creates more tension and resentment between the two people.
According to Doctor Susan Heitler, in a piece published in Psychology Today, “Attempts to get your partner to change invite defensiveness. No one likes being told they're doing things wrong—or, far worse, that they are a bad person. It's better by far for both of you to each use your energies and intelligence to figure out what YOU could do differently.”
The key is for each of you to take responsibility for your own actions and any part that you may have played in creating or exacerbating the problem. Both parties have an equal share in any conflict. It’s a dance, and it takes two to tango.
Invite your partner to do a course or go to coaching with you. However, avoid forcing that. It can also be met with resistance. Do your own work. Leading by example will have a much more profound effect than you might imagine.
Tip #2 - Work on Your Inner Self
Increasing your own consciousness and inner clarity is vital to transforming a marriage or partnership. When you do the deep inner work, you can resolve the stuckness that, unbeknownst to you, has been affecting the relationship. So often, it’s our own past hurts and hidden biases that impede our ability to see what’s truly happening around us and identify the blessings in them.
Quiet contemplation and a commitment to face your inner fears, worries, and doubts is required. It’s time to address the old baggage that may be deep in a closet and so far out of view that you forgot about it. Here’s where it really helps to bring on a guide to assist with navigation and the transformation of what you find. These things can get sticky, and at the same time, the stickier the situation, the bigger the upgrade that lies on the other side of facing it.
Doing this work on yourself first creates a ripple effect which lifts your partner. It compels the other to raise his/her game without saying a word. Becoming a more elevated spiritual being is invaluable in any committed relationship; it allows both parties to reach higher levels of understanding within themselves and each other.
Tip #3 - Build Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) involves understanding and managing emotions in yourself and that come from others. In other words, when you get triggered you can deal with it well. You stay in control. You even utilize these moments to serve you.
Developing EQ results in increased self-awareness, the ability to act consciously and in a way that benefits all parties and results in improved relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. It builds your inner power, makes you more likable, and leads to better decision-making when the cards are on the table. Being better able to handle stressors that come up and to respond rather than react out of emotions or insecurity are skills that translate to every area of life.
In a relationship, emotional intelligence permits easy navigation through tension and disagreement, inevitable between two people that spend a ton of time together. As importantly, it builds trust and security and strengthens their connection when your partner sees that instead of flipping your lid or walking away, you can deal with whatever arises.
Tip #4 - Commit to 100% Loving Honesty
How you do one thing is how you do everything. A little white lie over here and a little lie of omission over there, as innocent as they may seem, are the drops that pollute the entire bucket.
Being honest means openly discussing your thoughts and emotions with each other, It doesn’t mean to dump everything on your spouse and to criticize and complain about things because that’s your honest take on a specific matter. Loving honesty means that you share as Love would. You share in a way that both rings true and serve the relationship.
It also means that, when it comes to the relationship, nothing that you’ve been stuffing can stay stuffed! Holding back is a weight for you and cheats your partner out of the opportunity to respond. The truth of the matter is that these things, which can seem so scary to bring up, can be the fuel to take your connection to the next level.
Speaking with 100% honesty, and bringing forth any issue or concern within a short time frame, also sparks trust. It’s an open and free energy that allows you both to relax at a new level.
Tip #5 - Open Up and Stay Open
Openness is essential for a secure, sustained connection with your beloved. It's the foundational wiring of the bridge that crosses gaps in viewpoints. As soon as you think that you’ve got the entire picture or that your position is the right and only one you are shutting the window on your own fingers.
According to multiple dating and relationship experts, openness allows partners to drop fear and to take risks with one another.
To ensure a safe and sacred space for both of you it’s crucial to come into conversations with palms up, ready to receive what your significant other has to share. More importantly, it’s about hearing with the possibility of learning something new. How you respond is part of the connective wiring.
Responding with peace and calm to viewpoints or behaviors with which you disagree reaffirms your openness. It will also drastically enhance the trust and security that your other feels with you. Practicing doing that in all occasions will give you an air of trust and confidence with your children, coworkers, friends, as well as your partner.
Tip #6 - Be Vulnerable Courageous
With a nod to the success of Brené Brown’s vulnerability movement, we offer a significant upgrade that creates strong bonds to build on. That’s courage.
In a world where every word matters, which of the two conveys greater strength to you: vulnerability or courage? We choose big, bold courage. That’s what it takes to become victorious in life and with your relationship when one is open and has the courage to share that the doors of connection push wide open.
You only reach the highest partnership peaks by stepping into real courage. That means if something has been bugging you in your relationship, you make the time to share. If you have felt embarrassed about something that went down between you two and you’ve been hiding it, you share anyway.
When you both exhibit that type of courage to share and to display the courage to hear something that you might otherwise avoid, you start the path to healing a marriage and then realizing the partnership of your dreams.
Tip #7 - Create a Safe Space for Sharing
If you are waiting to speak your views to your partner when a conflict arises, you’ve waited too long. Neither of you are in the position for a conscious, loving chat when you have your hackles up about something. Being proactive is key.
Creating a safe space where both partners feel comfortable is providing the fertile ground for courage to grow. That’s both a physical space and the time to engage within it. Make it intentional like you would do for an important conversation with your partner when you just met. Do it with purpose.
Carry the energy of the space with you. This means stopping what you are doing and listening attentively when your partner speaks. It’s dropping the counterpointing and simply hear them. That’s also engaging meaningfully in conversations about topics that matter most to them.
Tip #8 - Utilize Challenging Moments as Growth Opportunities
Rather than looking at conflict within a marriage as an obstacle to happiness, flip the script and use them as an opportunity for personal growth.
You will get triggered by something your partner does or says. It’s pretty much a given. All of us have things that flick us into a mood or at least a snappy retort. By utilizing such moments to their full potential, couples can gain a better understanding of one another. They can then build on these exchanges and develop new productive partnership habits that will lead to long-term relationship growth.
Part of that is taking time to reflect on what may has led to the fight or disagreement. These things seldom happen in a vacuum. There’s something deeper going on that’s asking to be addressed.
Be honest with yourself about your role in it. It takes two to tango, and you participated energetically in bringing about this situation. Learn how to recognize your own patterns and behaviors that lead to and exacerbate arguments.
If you can do make an exercise out of finding the root of issues with your partner and discovering the gift in your troubles, you increase the trust and collaboration in the relationship. You forge a stronger bond. You can also light the flame of desire inside!
Tip #9 – Appreciation
Even when you have a lot to complain about in regards to your partner, and your conversations are filled with anger, what you love about each other still exists. Bringing those things to the surface can do wonders for cooling down the conflicts.
Start by appreciating any effort your partner has made to improve the relationship. If one of you has been putting in extra effort or time to work on communication or problem-solving skills, make sure to recognize and appreciate these efforts. Because you still have arguments going doesn’t negate the effort. Acknowledging that contribution helps moves things forward.
Show your gratitude regularly. This effort will show your spouse that he or she is valued and encourage them to keep on even when you haven’t had your best day. It can be stuff outside the relationship such as how your spouse reads bedtime stories to your kids each night, how they tuck them in, and how hard they cheer for them when they score a goal or get a hit.
A good rule of thumb is ten compliments to every criticism. Those are ten real things you appreciate. Keep it substantive and tangible.
Tip #10 - Nourish Your Own Physical and Mental Wellness
When dealing with marriage struggles, it's important to remember to find healthy outlets for your stress. Making time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you joy can help restore energy and balance to you that you can bring to the relationship. Avoid treating your spouse like a punching bag.
Does this mean avoiding the issue until you have had a workout or putting off difficult conversations until you have meditated? For a heated fight that may be the answer. Also, you can face things in the moment to the best of your ability. By getting the harmony inside of yourself you’ll feel more ready to deal with what arises in the moment.
Also consider what you are taking in your mouth. What are you eating? What are you smoking? What are you drinking? Another step towards nourishing your physical and mental wellness is through high-vibrational foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, which can help improve energy levels and clear the mind.
Decreasing the levels of toxins, even though some substances can be “natural” and feel like they sooth the pain of the time, build up in the body over time and clog up your ability to become masterful with your emotions and with any tension that arises.
You Can Flip Your Fights into Something Beautiful
A struggle is more than just something to cope with or tolerate. A struggle, silent or annoyingly loud, is a chance at transformation. It’s a sign from the universe that there’s something waiting for attention on your soul path. Embrace them. With a few tools, you can consciously craft the relationship of your dreams.
And remember that help is always here should you require it or you’d like to move things faster. Usually, we can easily spot many things that lie just outside of the awareness of our clients. There’s zero need to slog through it for weeks and months on end.
If you’d like to further your wisdom on this topic we also have a sweet bundle of recorded relationship discussions that reveal a heap of insights that you can put to use right away. Click this link to get yours.