Look at what you are expecting of your spouse. Can you see that you expect your partner to make up for what you did not get when you were a child? Can you see that no one could meet your needs the way you want them met? In-between expectations and reality is misery. The only way to lower your misery is to make your expectations realistic and get some help with why you make those unrealistic demands. If your spouse continues to expect the impossible from you, try to talk about your feelings of pressure to fulfill what you can’t. Meet the expectations you can that are realistic. Don’t let your partner’s disappointment infect you. It is their problem, not yours. But work on things in your life that need work and be responsible to implement change where it is needed. And finally if you did a “bait and switch” on your spouse, ask for forgiveness and get help in developing an honest and open relationship. Be sure your expectations don’t become unrealistic also.
Secret Number Three: Your lifetime vows need to cover more than your sex organs. Quite frankly this is probably the area that needs the most help in the most relationships. Her unfaithfulness may never land her in bed with someone else but constant comparisons of your spouse to someone else’s is a form of distancing and even betrayal. All that you know about your spouse will never measure up to the façade you see in the other person. And every comparison sets you up to attach emotionally or physically to someone else, even though that was the last thing you thought would happen. Stop comparing and start faithfully connecting.
He may never visit a prostitute but his use of pornography and self-gratification is severe breaking of the vows of faithfulness. I don’t know of any woman who does not hate him looking at other women, especially ones without their clothes on that demand nothing and need nothing because they are just images. But those images break connection and actually lower his desire for her and even hampers his ability to have sex with a real live human being.
“If your spouse is not totally honoring your vows you need to stop enabling them to cheat,” write Arterburn in The 7 Minute Marriage Solution. “Demand that they get help or the two of you start by getting help together. Don’t listen to their excuses or promises to change. Just watch what they are willing to do to restore the relationship back to one of connections and fidelity.”
Secret Number Four: The more you focus on your mate’s past, the more likely they are to repeat it. Everyone comes to the marriage with a past. Much of that past was before you were around and had nothing to do with you. In other cases there are desperate things that happen in a marriage, especially in the early years, that become the past. If you are not willing to forgive and move forward, you keep your partner focused on their mistakes, obsessing over their failures and setting themselves up to do it again. No matter how hard they resist, if you don’t free them from a focus on the past they may stop protecting themselves and fall prey again, since you won’t let it go.
You don’t want to forgive and forget, you just want to forgive. If you forget you set yourself up to be hurt again. When you forgive you are agreeing to and committing to never bring it up again. If your spouse won’t stop obsessing over your past, be sure you have asked for their forgiveness and asked them to move forward with you. Get involved in a character building program that insures you will grow from whatever you have been through. Set up safe guards you both agree on that lower the possibility it will ever happen again. And if needed continue to ask for forgiveness until it is no longer needed. If things don’t get better you need a third party to help your partner get over a past that cannot be changed.
Secret Number Five: The more fun you have out of the bed, the more fun you are likely to have in the bed. To say the least sex can be very tricky for a lot of couples. They get bored with it or it becomes too much effort. Desire dies and they can end up in a sexless marriage where even a good friendship is difficult to maintain. The best way to draw the two of you together in bed is to be creative with your relationship. Fun and romance have to be planned. They don’t just come naturally. You have to put forth some effort.
“My wife and I love to dance,” writes Arterburn in The 7 Minute Marriage Solution. “In fact last night there was live music and we were the only ones dancing. If the music is right in a mall we will dance and sometimes others join in. Our relationship started with a dance and every dance is a reminder of our beginnings. It seems that the more non-sexual attention I give her the more sexual she wants to be with me. If you are married to someone who won’t respond romantically to you, be sure you are both working through anger and bitterness so a lack of forgiveness does not form a barrier between the two of you. Continue to affirm your spouse and remind each other of the good things about each other and the relationship. Sexual difficulties are often a result of a bigger problem to seek help if you need it.”
Secret Number Six: Being other centered is the best thing you can do for yourself. I discovered that my wife’s love language is acts of service. So one day when she was away for three hours I made our house look like a model home. I put away, stored, threw away and cleaned stuff all over. When she walked in and saw what I had been up to, she could not stop crying. Before that act I had really been trying to stay tuned to her needs and she had already begun to wonder what had happened to me and why she felt so good about us and about life.
It is so simple, but so difficult to do on a regular basis, but the more you take the focus off of yourself the more your spouse is going to focus on you, appreciate you and want to bless you. So it all starts with you deciding to meet the needs of your partner rather than demanding that your needs be met by your spouse.
If your spouse only focuses on their own needs, refuse to put up with self-centered behavior that leads to controlling your or demeaning behavior. Express your boundaries and stand your ground or you will reduce yourself to a doormat, training your partner that it is okay to neglect you. And rather than nag and complain express your desire be close and connected.
Secret Number Seven: Relationship rebooting needs to happen everyday. The seven minute marriage solution is about taking seven minutes a day to reconnect and refocus. Eyeball to eyeball you need to sit down everyday and check in. It also helps to pull out a Bible and read some scripture together. In fact the Center of Biblical Engagement has done extensive research to determine that if the two of you will do this at least four days out of seven it will change your character and choices and your entire relationship. It is so powerful it reduces the chance of an affair by 59%. And when you pray for each other, you tend to place the relationship into a spiritual realm and begin to overlook the minor irritations that can become so large.
Seven minutes is not a long time but it could be the most important seven minutes of your entire day. Everyone can take 7 minutes to reconnect with each other. It is just a matter of consistency and commitment.
Willingness is the key to everything. “I guess you could say this is a bonus secret because it is so powerfully true,” writes Arterburn. “If two people are willing to look at themselves and make some changes, anything is possible. I know of several couples who have come to our marriage renewal weekends who were either divorced or separated for over two years and put things back together in a way they never dreamed possible. How? They both went from stubborn resistance to humble willingness. They went from pointing a finger at the other to putting the finger on their own flaws and inadequacies.”
“The best thing you can do for your marriage is monitor the amount of willingness you possess,” writes the author in The 7 Minute Marriage Solution. “If you have it or are willing to develop it, the outcome may shockingly surprise you and you may end up with the marriage you always wanted.”