It’s all too easy to get caught up in the various problems we all experience in marriage Sometimes, we can get so focused on the problems that we think things will never be different. Here are three More2Life Hacks that will help you bounce back from tough times in your marriage and re-experience the love and joy you crave!
1. Check your Commitment–Happy couples know that recovering from marital struggles starts with being even more committed to their vows than they are to each other. What do I mean? At various points, even the happiest husbands and wives become frustrated with each other and can feel like their spouse is undeserving of their commitment. But where less happy couples use this as a justification for withdrawing their love and entertaining thoughts of divorce, happy couples remind themselves that their commitment is to their marriage, itself, even more than to their feelings for their spouse. This allows couples to not catastrophize their problems and, instead, get to work on the problems. Research shows that couples who make this greater commitment to their marriage bounce back from problems more quickly and are happier overall, than couples who regularly allow tough times to call their overall commitment to each other into question.
2. Re-Engage Through Care-taking–Every couple gets stuck in arguments from time to time–even for extended periods. But happy couples know that sometimes they have to disengage from the fight and find little ways to remind each other of their love for each other BEFORE re-engaging the discussion. While struggling couples either adopt a “fight til we die” approach or simply give up the fight from exhaustion, happier couples adopt a pattern that allows them to alternate between arguing, intentionally stepping away to build rapport, and then re-engaging the discussion from a more secure base. If you’re going through a rough patch, don’t stop talking about it altogether, but take breaks where you intentionally choose to do little things that remind each other that your relationship–and your commitment to loving each other– is bigger than this present problem.
3. Seek Help–Happy couples know that when a problem starts to feel overwhelming, it’s time to seek new resources. When you feel tempted to stop working on a problem–or stop working on your marriage altogether–see that as a sign that it’s time to get help. Read a new book together that offers new ideas for improving your relationship. Go on a Marriage Encounter or Retrouvaille weekend. Or seek professional marital therapy. Research shows that most struggling couples wait 4-6 years before seeking professional assistance but that just makes problems grow. Seek help early to get the new skills you need to reclaim the peace and joy in your marriage.
For more tips on how to make your marriage thrive, check out “For better…Forever! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage.” AND spend time with us every weekday at 10am ET by tuning in to More2Life on EWTN Global Catholic Radio.