Are You Giving Up on Your Marriage Too Soon?
Most of us enter into marriage thinking that it is going to be “forever.” For some people this is true. What makes the difference between those who stay together and those who give up?
Is it because those who give up have more serious problems to face in their relationship? Not usually. It is just that those who stay together have usually figured out a way to solve those problems, or work around them in some way. Can you do the same?
Many of the problems that seem insurmountable to young married couples really aren’t that insurmountable at all. What makes them seem that way is that they haven’t developed the knack of standing back and looking at a particular problem from a distance, and like an impartial judge might do. It is difficult to look for solutions when you a re in the midst of a heated argument over something you both have different opinions on.
So, what to do?
1. Give yourselves a “Time-Out” when things reach the boiling point.
No, I don’t mean sit on a chair in the corner, but you’ll have to admit that yelling at each other isn’t going to do anyone any good. You are adults who love each other and you can work this out. Decide to back off from the problem for a day, or two, or even a week. During that time, you can both think about possible solutions and give your emotions which were involved in the argument time to calm down so the problem can be approached more rationally.
2. “Take Turns” when no solution can be reached.
This works well for kids on the playground, and it can work for grown-up disputes, too. If a stalemate has been reached draw straws to see who gets to be first. The winner gets to make the first decision. Make a chart, if necessary, to make sure there is no future argument over whose turn it is, and when the next disagreement pops up, the person who is in line for the next turn makes the decision.
You can vary this by yielding a turn if one of you realizes that the other person is more qualified in a certain area.
3. Recognize problems that need outside help.
Marriage can be difficult. Of course every problem that rises in yours won’t be solved by the two simple solutions offered above, but you might be surprised how often they work.
There are times though when simple solutions are not enough. If this is the case in your marriage, it may be time to look for outside help. It’s true that marriage counseling can be expensive, but so was your wedding to begin with. It should be worth at least that much to see if anything can be done to save it now.
If you do decide to try counseling, check the references of your counselor to make sure he or she has a good track record. Ask questions about what type of approach they will be using before you commit yourself financially.
If you prefer not to discuss your problems with a counselor, at least look for a good book that has lots of testimonials from people who have used the advice in the book. You may be surprised to find that a problem you considered insurmountable and unique to your marriage has also been faced and overcome by hundreds and even thousands of other married people.
Those couples I mentioned earlier, whose marriages really do last have already found the answer. Don’t give up until you find it, too.