As parents, we spend a fair amount of time agonizing over our mistakes. Certainly, we would have done many things differently. If only we hadn’t been grown children ourselves when we made our relationship choices and eventually married. Most of us had no idea our marriages would end. If we had, we wouldn’t have walked […]
It’s hard to admit shortcomings in any aspect of our lives. It’s even more challenging to face the fault in our relationships.
It signifies the frightening possibility of surrendering to the potential demise of the complex relationships that sustain us when they do not drain us.
There are a variety of ways to kick a decent relationship up a notch. A couple can revisit dating nostalgia, take vacations, have date nights, or find a joint hobby…to name just a few possibilities.
A married couple can also mix-up normal routines in order to spark romance. Friday night dinners can be replaced in favor of wine, appetizers, candles and a movie. Include the kids with their own appetizers and beverages and it’s a win-win. Everyone is having fun and the children witness both a loving parental couple and wonderful family time. Saturday morning coffee can be replaced with a morning date at the coffee shop. A return home in the evening can start with a kiss rather than an immediate change of clothes and the computer.
These are super simple nuances which in many ways are far more attainable and sustainable than vacations and hobbies. They becoming new loving imprints in the relationship. A couple just needs to do them long enough that they become a ‘loving habit.’
These types of inventive ideas can make a tired relationship better and a good relationship great.
What are your choices when your marriage is not suffering neglect but is in dire trouble?
A result of extended careless negligence or perhaps even bigger issues. Couples plan for the wedding, they plan for a house, for children and even retirement but they don’t plan for problems.
The irony? Let’s just say those four words again…Wedding, House, Children, and Retirement.
While these are all joyful words they are not what you would call carefree words. They all take commitment.
If you are a couple and you’re having problems which you can’t resolve together, you need to go to counseling. There should be little patience for a man or a woman who scoffs at marriage counseling. You give up the right to that luxury when you decide to make a serious lifetime commitment to another human being.
Additionally, the sooner the appointment is made the better. It is a mistake to allow water to keep accumulating under the bridge because resentments continue to build. The phrase ‘water under the bridge’ looses its meaning in favor of turning into something huge.
Adult problems require adult solutions. Marriage is something adults enter into. Make sure you are married to or marrying an adult who recognizes marital problems made lead to this inevitability.
Parish-Based Counseling and Support:
If a conventional marriage counselor is not the right solution for you, a faith-based member of the clergy might be.
If you are close to or have a recommendation to a priest, minister or another member of the church this is a good place to start. They can provide one to couple counseling, spiritual retreats, couples workshops, seminars and more.
Start with your own church and investigate the opportunities and services they provide to couples. If they are limited or not a good fit, look for their recommendations outside of your parish. You can also inquire with other couples who have experienced successful spiritual guidance and counseling. Do not necessarily limit this to your own religion. Great spiritual guidance for couples does not mean a departure from your own faith. It can be a supplement to your already strong religious faith. One does not necessarily cancel out the other.
A Combination of Counseling:
There are excellent faith-based psychologists and counselors outside of the church.
It is a way to combine couples counseling and spiritual support. It may be the perfect combination for you both as a couple.
One of the richest benefits of faith-based counseling is the promotion of healing.
It combines the ‘he said – she said’ with the belief that all things happen for a reason, we are all flawed, we should all be accountable for our wrong-doings and be capable of forgiveness.
In other words, it may be extremely effective in eradicating self-blame, blaming the other person, victimization, and anger. Spirituality can provide the necessary and powerful strength to overcome battles involving alcohol, abuse, affairs, and various addictions.
Marriage Counseling for One:
Hopefully, both parties are adult enough and care enough to work together.
Unfortunately, it is not always the case.
Marriage counseling for one may sound like an oxymoron but it can be helpful.
At the very least, it’s the best option to consider before remaining perpetually unhappy or abandoning the relationship for good.
What is the benefit of going to counseling alone?
You discover things about yourself, you learn to take accountability for the choices which led you to this place and how to navigate the relationship from here. This type of counseling should be about personal development and not a tool to go home and blame your spouse. Which of course, will be challenging. Therefore, view it as helping yourself and not the relationship. If the eventual outcome is the success of your relationship all the better. Conversely, it may lead you to deduce you no longer want to be in your marriage.
These four options provide hope for a failing marriage.
The type of love which inspires an individual to devote themselves to one another for life deserves a problem-solving strategy.
Even more importantly? These solutions should be open and spoken and an expected and acceptable part of marriage.
They should not be whispered cocktail party rumors, tearful confessions or shameful secrets.
They should be the proudful boasts of two people who value love. An appraisal so immense, they will shout to the world their desire to devote themselves to it.
And to the ‘carefree’ joy of weddings, houses, children, retirement, and each other.
(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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