If we stop working on our marriage, our marriage stops working
This sentence has been one that Ben and I have lived by for the last 7 years, it helps us stay focused on one another and it helps us remain solid. But we weren’t always… When we first together Ben was afraid of commitment and I was afraid of being dumped… A pretty dangerous combination, especially for me and my frightened little heart. Since then so much has changed, I love him so much more and yet the fear of him leaving has disappeared. It’s helped by my increased self-confidence and inner strength who knows that even if he did up and leave, I would be just fine. Ben is no longer afraid of commitment (lucky when you’re married with three kids!) in fact he hates being away from us.
And this transformation happened when we started really working on ourselves and our marriage.
So, how to work on your marriage and prevent the day by day drip drip into separation? Broken marriages are never an overnight affair, its a build up of countless seemingly insignificant choices that either move you closer together or move you further apart milimetre by milimetre, its so hard to see and that’s the nature of the beast. However there is huge hope for all of us, but it requires a shift in consciousness, a new paying attention with fresh eyes and here are some ideas to help you with that:
Pain is a part of living, depression on the incline, a feeling of separateness stronger than ever. And none of this strengthens marriage. We’re all in some way broken (aka none of us perfect, if you are please let us know), we’re all on our own journey of recovery and healing. We all have an inner voice that sometimes speaks of gratitude and happiness but often speaks of all you should be doing, who and how you should be, and who you are not.
Developing yourself helps to develop you both. Ben has been working on himself for about 10 years, he recently attended a 5-day men’s retreat in Ireland. He came back a different person, he learned of his true self, he was immersed in an environment that forced him to grow. The energy he brought back was infectious. My own self-confidence and inner-peace grew. Our marriage has changed, it’s more loving, understanding and more intimate. There are so many books, blogs, courses that help us to connect more to something outside of ourselves, that help us to grow. Study, go find something that will nourish your soul and watch it fill your relationships.
Our relationship reviews are a regular meeting where you talk solely about your marriage. Ben and I tend to take it in turns to share what we are grateful for in the other person. Then we allow just one thing each that we’d like our other half to work on. This meeting is a safe place to build one another up as well as to offer a suggestion of how they might strengthen your marriage. This also stops us criticising …….ok, reduces the criticising, in the heat of a moment or adding drama to the situation by saying things such as “you always do that!” or “you’re doing that thing again which you know I hate!”. The informaton you convey might be really important for your partner to hear but given at the wrong time, when they aren’t in a place to hear it, is the equivalent of helping a butterfly out if a chrysallis with a spade - urgh, yes just like that.
Spend time together
We know that life is busy. And hard. And that curling up in front of the TV when the children are in bed is all you have the energy for at times, but we also know that as nice as this is (and we do love doing this) it just isn’t a connecting experience. Try switching all technology off once a week to just talk, just be together. Talk about your dreams, your current trials, what you’re enjoying. Never assume you know everything there is to know about your partner no matter how long you’ve been together. Get on a mission to discover something new as often as you can.
There are other things you can do but we want to keep it simple if you implement just one of these things you should see a difference in your level of connection. And of course, we would love to hear about it if you do.
Thanks for reading. Now let’s get to work people.