Today I’m wondering whether you’ve ever thought about the fact that all the problems you are experiencing are not necessarily “marriage problems?” Sometimes just everyday problems are blamed on your marriage when they are really just life problems that are causing problems for your marriage.
My suggestion is that you take a few minutes to really focus on some of the aggravations or problems that occur frequently. It is important not just to focus on the manifestation of the problem itself, but the often repeated events that precede the occurrence, problem or aggravation.
Think of this process as turning yourself into a detective on your situation. Sometimes it helps to “brainstorm” with your spouse or older kids (if you have them) to see the pattern that shows up. Much of the time you and your spouse may experience the feeling of being “blind-sided” by the “event.” The good news is that “it” can often be prevented or at least dealt with in a more productive way when you realize or recognize the things that precede the occurrence or problem.
An example of the above could be this problem usually occurs when the person(s) is tired, hungry, overstimulated, stressed out with homework or work problems, feeling unloved, feeling bad and not knowing what to do with the feeling??? Some may need to draw, write, shower, bath, take alone quiet time, one on one talk time, or need escape time – headphones with music, reading, TV, video games, physical and/or outdoor time.
We all “recharge” in different ways at different times.
When you as spouses choose to be sensitive to one another’s needs and also be sensitive to helping your children learn to meet their needs, you will have gone a very long ways toward creating a more peaceful and loving atmosphere within your family.
On the other hand, there are just random problems (not the ones referred to above) that suddenly come up that are not really your fault or anyone’s fault but just “life happenings” or things that become a problem, inconvenience or aggravation because something out of your or anyone’s control has occurred.
My motto for many years is “Always have a Plan B” knowing that sometimes you have to go down the alphabet a bit if B doesn’t work. Right now, I am appreciating the saying “life happens” not as a negative, but a bounce back, let’s lighten up, flexibility approach that is so helpful to use when life does not go the way we had planned it.
Going back to the beginning of this article about the problems that seem to continue to occur on a regular basis, I’ve observed the following.
Many times it seems that everyone is expecting almost the impossible of themselves. It is acceptable and even expected in many circles these days for both spouses to be working full time jobs, commuting, and raising children plus taking care of just the routine tasks of the household and life.
Couples that learn and become able to cope, thrive, and get back to the really important things, find ways to take time for themselves, both individually and as a couple plus times with their family. They learn to say “no” to the less important expectations of others; learn to let go of their own perfectionistic ways and unrealistic expectations as a necessary part of the solution.
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Of course, finding shortcuts that work for you and your family is another way to cope. By trial and error, you will come up with simple systems that you and your spouse take on as personal responsibilities.
Some examples would be taking turns bringing takeout food some nights; having items in the freezer that are quick; finding organizational ways that work for getting out the door in the morning; acceptable cleanliness in the main living areas of the home; closing bedroom doors (no Saturday activities until cleaning is done); having the bills on automatic bill pay; both spouses have a certain amount to save or spend each payday; no spending over a certain agreed amount without agreement; both being aware of what funds are available so one spouse doesn’t have to be the one to say no – but is it checks on whether it is in the budget; and priority planning the family fun and couple fun!
Saying “No” would involve not signing kids up for everything they want to do without checking on the family schedule and budget; the transportation – can we carpool with others; accept that the kids will not be deprived by spending more time with the family or making time so Mom and Dad won’t feel so stressed or pressured; extended family expectations that are over the top – with kindness, but maybe including them in ways they can actually have fun times with the kids or you and be helpful at the same time – skills, homework, one-one times together.
Until next time…Just some ideas to get your wheels turning…
Love to hear your own experiences, stories or questions on the above. Feel free to contact me at CoachWaverly@WaverlyHanson.com
Marriage Counselor & Author
In my personal life, I have had a long successful marriage and have remarried following my husband's death. I have had three sons and helped raise a niece for three years and have seven grandchildren. I have loved spending time with them as they were growing up.
I also enjoy getting together with family and friends, ATVing in the mountains, photography, hiking, and traveling. I also enjoy reading, creating art, decorating, and serving others by volunteering.
Assisting couples in rebuilding their marriages has been so rewarding as I've had the privilege of seeing hundreds of couples reunite and get back to being positively connected to one another.
I also work with personal development and those who want to move forward by making positive improvements such as goal setting, self-care, boundaries, behavioral improvements, overcoming procrastination, conflict management, etc.