Stop divorce – Sometime after the honeymoon, if not before, spouses realize that their fantasy of happily-ever-after is not unfolding quite the way they expected. How such a recognition is handled can either make or break a marriage. The fourth agenda topic of a Marriage Meeting is called Problems and Challenges, because they arise in any relationship.
A good marriage requires that issues be dealt with constructively. Prevent them from festering into crises and by addressing them positively and on a regular basis.
- 1 Recognize a Spouse’s Uniqueness
- 2 Relationship Coach Recommends Self-Talk to Stop Divorce
- 2.1 Why Self-Talk is Vital
- 2.2 Transform a Marriage via Self-talk
- 2.3 Congruent Communication Requires Willingness for Speaker and Listener to be Vulnerable
- 2.4 Positive Self-talk Can Keep Relationship Thriving
- 2.5 Instead, the discussion should be with herself!
- 2.6 Build Trust and Intimacy By Handling Conflict Constructively
- 2.7 Share this:
Recognize a Spouse’s Uniqueness
It is important to recognize that each person is a unique individual with a separate personality, says relationship coach. This means that a husband and wife will have some differences in how they view the world and in how they behave. In fact, the differences are often what attracted them to each other in the first place.
However, every trait that each liked about the other initially will have a flip side that can be viewed as a fault.
For example, a wife might have liked her husband’s easy-going, supportive nature when they were dating. After marriage, she feels disappointed because he takes only jobs that aren’t stressful, and therefore earns less income than he potentially could. She can easily come to resent him for not being able to provide some material things she expected to have.
Obviously, some traits in people are not likely to change. Ideally, spouses will learn to focus on each other’s positive characteristics and accept the less desirable ones as part of the package to stop divorce.
Family Therapy Expert Virginia Satir Shows How People Communicate Disagreement
According to relationship coach, conflict is a normal part of married life. Pioneer family therapist, Virginia Satir, identified the five ways that people communicate when disagreement exists.
Congruent: In this type of communication, the person levels with the other in a straightforward, honest, respectful manner. The person’s words are consistent with his or her feelings, thoughts and nonverbal signals. “I” statements are an example of congruent communication.
Blaming: A blamer lashes out at the other person, using “You” statements like, “You always to that,” or “You never remember to take out the garbage.” This person attacks the other for being different and insists that the other person is wrong, harshly criticizing the other person, with name-calling and in the most extreme cases, physically.
Placating: This person goes along in the hope of getting along with the other. He or she may say everything is fine but really feels just the opposite.
Reasonable: This person denies the feelings of someone by saying that it is wrong to feel that way or that it just doesn’t make sense. An example is when someone is upset over the death of a parent and is told, “She led a long life. Be glad for that.” The reasonable person may have the best of intentions but it can feel awful for people overcome with grief to hear their feelings discounted so readily.
Irrelevant: This person does not respond directly to the other when there is a disagreement; instead will make a joke or change the subject. In extreme cases, the person will flip out into a state of insane behaviors.
Build Trust and Intimacy in Marriage With Congruent Communication
How do each of the above ways of communicating disagreement affects a relationship? Couples who usually relate in a congruent, self-assertive manner are likely to have a marriage that thrives. Because they handle conflicts respectfully, they will feel good about each other and about their relationship.
Conflict is normal in any marriage. Spouses build trust and intimacy by communicating their different points of view honestly, responsibly, and respectfully. Congruent communication is a key ingredient for a a lasting, fulfilling marriage.
Relationship Coach Recommends Self-Talk to Stop Divorce
Difficulties in relationships happen, most often not because one partner doesn’t understand the other so much as because of a lack of self-understanding.
For example, a client called a therapist requesting help to decide whether or not to divorce her husband, to whom she had been married for over 25 years. Her husband, who had recently been diagnosed with a serious disease, was being rude and short-tempered with her. The problem was not so much her husband’s behavior as that she told herself, erroneously, that it meant her marriage was over.
Why Self-Talk is Vital
The wife told herself that her husband no longer loved her. She began withdrawing from him emotionally. The therapist suggested that her husband was protecting himself, putting all his energy into dealing with his illness. Then she was able to give herself a different message: “Don’t take his behavior personally.”
Only a few therapy sessions were necessary for this wife to change her self-talk and get her marriage back on track. She recognized that she had become passive in the relationship ever since quitting her job to raise their children. They were now grown, and she had recently resumed her career.
Transform a Marriage via Self-talk
It was time to for her to transform her self-talk further, to tell herself, “I am responsible for my own happiness.” Instead of expecting her husband to make her happy, she enrolled in an exercise class. When her family didn’t want to go on a vacation, she had been looking forward to, she went on her own. Both activities restored her feeling of aliveness.
She also leaned how to assert herself with her husband and others by making “I” statements. He was able to hear her and to respond respectfully. By changing her self-talk, she created a happier life for herself and a confident attitude for coping with the challenge of a seriously ill husband.
Congruent Communication Requires Willingness for Speaker and Listener to be Vulnerable
“I” statements, which are expressions of one’s true feelings, thoughts, wants, and needs, require a willingness to tune into oneself. They also require an ability to be vulnerable and a partner who can accept a difference of opinion. If a wife tells her husband, “I am upset because you forgot to take out the garbage last night, ” she is being congruent, expressing her true feeling. If he is the type to say, “I hear you, and I’ll work on remembering next time,” all is well and good. Their trust and intimacy is likely to grow.
But if a partner criticizes her with a “You” statement, like, “Well, you never cook anything I like to eat,” or puts her down for getting upset “about nothing,” he is creating distance. Seek couples or individual therapy if one or both partners are not able to converse honestly and respectfully.
It is Normal to Slip Into Unhealthy Communications When Upset
Most people, when stressed, may slip into insensitive interactions. Try to notice when this happens.
In a good relationship, each spouse will become aware of when he or she communicates negatively, then correct the behavior with an apology, a request for forgiveness from a partner, and a determination to practice more congruent communication in the future.
Positive Self-talk Can Keep Relationship Thriving
The importance of self-talk cannot be overstated. The wife who is disappointed in her husband for being earning a relatively low-income, should not express this to him if he is not likely to change. What good would that possibly do for their relationship?
Instead, the discussion should be with herself!
First she will need to recognize that she is feeling resentful. Then she should accept the feeling, without blaming herself or her spouse. Next, if she is emotionally healthy, she will look at the situation objectively. She will realize that having a kind, easy-going husband is more important to her than the money a more competitive type of man might bring in, along with the stress the latter would bring home from the office.
The wife, ideally, will remember to appreciate that her husband is the same person she chose to marry because of all of the positive traits she still sees and loves about him. She can either let go of some materialistic cravings or she might be able to figure out how to earn more herself. Either way, the best thing she can do is to learn to accept her partner’s nature.
Build Trust and Intimacy By Handling Conflict Constructively
Remember that conflict is normal in the best of marriages. Communicating with one’s self is the first step for dealing with upset feelings. Then talk honestly and respectfully with a partner, building trust, intimacy, and a lasting, fulfilling marriage.