Articles Tagged with marriage

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questioning my marriageQuestioning my marriage and asking what is the difference between a good marriage and a bad one? While the routines and expectations for every couple is different, one thing is for sure: Even couples in healthy relationships don’t necessarily begin and end every day floating through their relationships unburdened with the weight of questions that haunt those in unhealthy, unhappy marriages:

  • Should I stay or should I go?
  • Is this what marriage is all about?
  • Is this as good as it gets?
  • Are either of us happy?
  • Do I like my spouse?
  • Is this “normal?”

If you are lucky enough to go through every day without asking yourself these questions, or if from time to time some thought is given to such questions but dismissed, then you have already unconsciously made the determination that your marriage is worth it, and you are all in. If, on the other hand, you question whether or not you are in the right place, its time to get honest with yourself.

A Marriage Worth Fighting for

In the event that you are seriously unhappy, it is time to own up to the situation and make some tough choices. Is the life you have created worth fighting for? Is there still a flame there? Do you admire and respect the person to whom you are married? If so, it is possible that you are just in a slump and need to find ways to revitalize your relationship. Experts provide some advice on how to do this:

  • Forgive past mistakes and move forward;
  • Play 20 questions;
  • Plan a getaway;
  • Learn something new together;
  • Schedule a meal with just the two of you on a weekly basis;
  • Be lazy together. Just hang out with movies and junk food to decompress;
  • Show appreciation in new ways:  a note on his windshield, a card mailed to her office, anything novel to bring a smile to your partner.

Questioning My Marriage and Recognizing Things Are Not Going to Work Out

What if you really do not like your spouse? Does the idea of a getaway makes you nauseous, and would you would be far happier working all weekend than spending a day on the couch watching movies together? If you just can not imagine reigniting the flame, or if it was never there to begin with, acknowledging the situation for what it is can feel like a breath of fresh air.  Now, finally, you will begin to see your options.

No One Will Believe it!

You think this will come as a big shock to others. Really? Do you honestly think your kids, your friends, and your family has been fooled all this time? Think about it. Unhappiness is easy to spot:

  • A polite (or not-so-polite) tension hangs over every activity;
  • Snappy tones, eye-rolling, or other telltale signs are clear;
  • That playfulness of the early days has become obligatory civility;
  • There is always an excuse for why you do not show up as a couple;

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living togetherLiving together? Research has long indicated that couples who wed at a young age are more likely to divorce than their older counterparts. What about couples who choose to move in together before tying the knot?

Living Together – What the Numbers Reveal

Studies suggest that couples who live together actually experience more stress than those who are married. In fact, nearly half of cohabiting couples choose not to get married at all. Of those who do eventually tie the knot, the risk of divorce is higher than for couples who never lived together. However, if those couples make it past seven years in a marriage, the chance for divorce drops off to be equal to the rate for couples who did not cohabitate prior to marriage.  Here are some other facts of note:

  • Couples who live together separate five times more often than married couples do, and reconcile one-third as often.
  • Infidelity is a more likely occurrence for cohabitating couples than for married ones;
  • Domestic violence rates are higher among couples who lived together prior to marriage;
  • Couples who live together before marriage typically earn less than their married counterparts throughout life.
  • Depression and substance abuse levels are higher among couples who cohabitate than for married couples.

Living Together and Commitment Theory

Some research indicates that couples who marry after living together tend to simply slide into the greater commitment of marriage because it seems a logical next step, whereas couples who actually choose to move from single life to marriage make a committed decision. The theory is that couples living together do not weigh the love factor as heavily as those who do not cohabitate.

Age is Still the Key Determining Factor of Marriage Success

On the other hand, according to one researcher, the age at which couples commit is the issue, whether it involves formal I do’s or not. The decision to live together or to get married right out of high school has statistically shaky results. So, how old is old enough?

Studies indicate that by age 23, when most individuals have had the opportunity to graduate from college and achieve financial independence, they are more successful in committed relationships.

Living Together – Erroneous Assumptions

Whether couples decide that cohabitation is a good step for their relationship or not, they should not misconstrue the difference between cohabitation and marriage. Cohabitation is necessarily more ambiguous than marriage, often with lesser commitment and/or responsibility. Many couples view it as a bit of a test, providing an easier way out if circumstances dictate. Continue reading →

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marriage bluesDo you have a case of marriage blues? Is the spontaneity missing from your marriage? Is your routine so predictable that you feel like you are sleepwalking through your relationship? If so, you are one of many couples who feel marriage is not nearly the paradise you were hoping for when you tied the knot.

Marriage Blues – Underlying Problems

Frequently, when relationships start to become stale, there are stresses on the couple that may wear on the energy and enthusiasm partners bring to their interactions. Some common stressors include:

  • Finances;
  • Long work hours;
  • Health issues;
  • Demands from the kids;
  • Lack of intimacy.

When there is a cloud over all of a couple’s interactions, individuals may begin to feel unhappy, to blame one another, or to start drifting apart.

Defeating the Marriage Blues – Connection

Partners who make an effort to connect with one another in small ways experience more fulfilling relationships that tend to last. In one study of couples’ connections, those who connected only 33% of the time were divorced within six years, whereas those who connected 87% of the time were still married six years later.

Shared Time

If you are not prioritizing time with each other, you can not really expect a fruitful outcome. So, if your partner truly is important, do not wait to express it. Sit down together often just to share your thoughts, enjoy a moment, or hold hands.

Date Night

Some couples try to keep their marriage alive by going on regular date nights. One psychology professor who studied such couples found that repeating the same date over and over is actually less satisfying than you might think. Instead, he suggests mixing it up, and having more exciting dates that are out of the norm. Instead of dinner and a movie, choose a community play or a day at the beach. Challenge one another to do something new and different.

Negative Thinking

For some, it is going to take more than a few fun outings to spice up the marriage. What if when one person makes an effort to do something nice, the other partner becomes full of suspicion rather than gratitude? Clearly, there are underlying issues in such a relationship, and both people need to be ready and willing to get to the bottom of it. One person cannot save a marriage independent of the other. Continue reading →

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your marriageImproving your marriage in 2018. If you are half of one of the millions of couples who are in an unsatisfying marriage with your spouse, the New Year is here. For 2018, how about resolving to improve things at home?

Taking Steps to Improve Your Marriage

The problems in your marriage did not develop overnight and your marriage is  going to improve overnight, and it is not going to improve without specific, targeted changes. That being said, perhaps it is time to buckle down and get to work:

  • Get your head around the fact that you are going to have to make changes to improve yourself before you can improve your relationship with your spouse. Figure out what you need to do to become better, stronger, more flexible, happier, etc. How can you bring your A-game to your relationship?
  • Focus on one key thing you can do to make your partner happier. It does not have to be a huge thing; just something that will make it clear that you are tuned in to the relationship. Put down your phone during meals; quit commenting on bad driving; take out the trash before it is overflowing. Tiny adjustments can make a world of difference, so jump in!
  • Greet your partner with genuine affection. When you run into friends at the mall, you smile, make eye contact, and find out how they are doing. Why not do the same with your spouse?  That to-do list can wait until after you have asked about the workday and shared a few basic pleasantries.
  • Go to bed at the same time. Even if it is just to share a few moments talking, connect with your spouse at bedtime.
  • Avoid withholding feelings of dissatisfaction. Instead, discuss problems openly and honestly, with an eye toward creating mutually satisfying solutions.
  • Apologize when you are wrong. Whether you forgot something important to your spouse, overreacted to a silly event, or let unkind words slip out. Saying the words I’m sorry with sincerity always helps.
  • Connect. That’s right. It’s more than coordinating schedules or fulfilling your share of the household obligations. Connecting with your spouse is the single most important thing you can do to create a healthy relationship.

How can you do that? Here are some quick and easy tips:

  • Engage your spouse in a topic that he or she is passionate about.
  • Flirt a little.
  • Turn off the television.
  • Surprise him or her for no special occasion.
  • Do something together—take a walk, read a book, share a sundae…
  • Exercise together.

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