10 people share coping strategies during tough marriage moments
Seun and Teniola are both in their forties and have married for fifteen years. They have been through the good and bad times together. They have loved each other, hated each other, liked each other’s company and avoided each other but they are still together. They still feel loved and have an emotional connection and also enjoy sex.
But Nicholas and Bertha are not so lucky. They are going through a rough patch and things have gotten so bad that they are considering divorce. Bertha feels unloved and Nicholas feels he can no longer please his wife of 11 years.
Nicholas puts it like this: “Bertha a loves the children more than me and she’s always on the attack. She doesn’t appreciate my efforts. She keeps threatening to leave, and that might be the best option.”
Many couples like Nicholas and Bertha are ready to throw in the towel and want quick solutions to save their marriage. Truth be told, this is a common problem, but the solutions are never easy.
Some couples who have waded through the turbulence of marriage shared some of their winning strategies with Effects.
Mildred: Couples need to face their problems squarely
I have been married for 16 years now and it’s not easy to live with one man for over a decade. There are times I just want to pack my bags and leave but I think about my children and how far I have come with my husband and stay put to make things work.
The good news is that if couples are willing to put in collective effort into rescuing their marriages, there are things they can do that can give them a fresh start. Breaking the cycle of an unhappy relationship dynamic requires a radical shift in mindset.
Taking responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute is a great starting point. One person’s ability to do this can change the entire dynamic of the relationship. Some marriages develop serious difficulties because one or both partners withdraw due to feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment. They need to face their problems and work it out.
Stella: If you want your marriage to last, stop the blame game
Couples who want their marriages to last should stop the blame game. Many couples play the blame game and this leads to more difficulties as one partner chases the other around. After a while, they are no longer addressing the issue at hand and enter into a vicious cycle of resentment, frustration, and anger.
Having been married for almost 10 years, I can say that the recipe for failure in a marriage is waiting for the other person to change. Rather than giving up on your marriage, couples need to lean toward each other. It’s the usually the dissatisfied partner who is motivated to change. If you don’t take some new action on your own behalf, no one else will do it for you.
While it’s natural to want to give up when your spouse becomes distant, reacting expands the divide between you. Instead, you need to take responsibility for warming things up and increase positive reinforcement. You can start highlighting your partner’s positive qualities and things you admire about them. It worked for me.
When couples are in tune emotionally with each other, there’s no challenge they can’t surmount. Staying connected to your spouse through bad times in your marriage can help you stay connected in spite of your differences. This means turning toward one another, listening, and showing empathy rather than turning away.
Peter: Spouses can complain without blame
Some men and women have developed the habit of criticizing their spouses instead of talking about the unpleasant things they are experiencing. I have been married for almost 20 years and from my experience, talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, I can say: “I was worried when you didn’t call me. We agreed that we would check in when one of us was running late.” Versus a criticism: “You never follow through, you are so selfish.” I noticed that whenever I criticize my wife, she fires back with a more vicious criticism, so I don’t do that and this has helped us through many difficult times in our marriage.
Obiageli: My husband and I settle conflicts skillfully
One thing that has helped my husband and I since we got married is not putting aside resentments that can destroy our relationship. Some conflicts in a marriage never get resolved if couples refuse to deal with their issues directly, so the focus needs to be managing them successfully. Bouncing back from disagreements rather than avoiding conflict is key to building a lasting marriage. This is because couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships.
Chibuzor: Couples going through tough times should boost physical affection
I have been married for 8 years and I know that holding hands, hugging, and touching causes calming sensation. Studies show that it’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones lowering daily levels of the stress hormone. Whenever my wife and I are going through hard times, I make sure to maintain physical contact with her otherwise, the issues will escalate. Physical touches have been helping us deal with our issues better.
Francis: My wife and I find a common ground during disagreements
Marriage is not easy. I remind myself of my partner’s positive qualities even as I grapple with her flaws and express my positive feelings out loud several times each day. Dealing with marital tough times can tear a couple apart if care is not taken so my wife and I search for a common ground rather than insisting on getting our way whenever we have a disagreement. I listen to her point of view and avoid shutting myself out from communicating with her.
Nkechi: We spend time together to wade through tough times
My husband and I have been married for seven years and we try different activities that bring us both pleasure even when we are angry with each other. We have adopted a new way of structuring our conversations that show empathy, express understanding, and validate our emotions. Feeling like your spouse is on your side can help you to sustain a deep, meaningful bond.
Linda: We communicate honestly about key issues
In my marriage of 12 years, my husband and I communicate honestly about key issues instead of waving them aside. We are forthcoming about our concerns and express our thoughts, feelings, and wishes in a respectful way. Resentment can build when couples sweep things under the rug, so we remain vulnerable to each other and don’t bury our negative feelings.
Lauren: My husband and I don’t allow wounds to fester
I always challenge my beliefs and self-defeating thoughts about my husband’s behavior when I find it to be negative. I listen to my husband’s side of the story even when I feel like punching him. My husband and I don’t allow our wounds to fester even when I feel mistrustful or hurt even when he presents evidence to the contrary about my grievance.
Omoniyi: Practicing forgiveness has helped my marriage stand the test of time
Forgiveness isn’t the same as condoning hurtful actions but it will allow you to move on. Whenever my wife hurts me, I try to remember we are on the same team and try to be more understanding.
It is understandable that I might feel hurt, frustrated, resentful, or rejected if I perceive that my spouse has checked out of our marriage. But I douse the tension by not second-guessing her reactions and examine my own responses when we have a disagreement.
Difficulties will come in marriage but instead of shutting down or becoming critical, couples should adopt a resilient mindset and work on ways they can repair their relationships and get back on track.