Happy Marriages are a Work of Love

aa2d94e4aa0d95e852a06c1cd44bd7a8dd812978All couples need to learn the fine art of keeping their marriages alive and growing. We bring from our own families of origin some habits that left uncontrolled can be lethal to a love relationship. Even if you are honestly working to stay away from the deadly couple traps listen here, it will not be redundant to review them, so you can be watchful of marriage-killers like:

1.- Not Giving Your Partner the First Place.
You will be sending a sad message: work, soccer, your own family…everything can be more important than this person you have chosen to share your life with. Giving this person very little attention is active neglect, and it sends a very strong message. If you consistently neglect your partner, you can be assured that any love feelings will not be strong enough as to keep the marriage going.

EXAMPLE: “I have always been jealous when Hubby devotes more time, money, or respect to other people, regardless of family relation, or male or female. I hated him for spending all his free time chatting with other women, and then spending hundreds of dollars to visit them. Even if it wasn’t sexual, I was super jealous, since he never spends quality time on me, or buys me gifts or gives me a break from the kids to give me free time….I feel always the second priority in his life…”

2.- Allowing Yourself to Have Angry Outbursts.
Anger is a normal reaction. At some time, each one of us gets angry. It’s what you do with your anger that can harm your relationship. The caution here is that even when you are angry, be respectful and reassure your partner that you are just angry, not dismissing or un-loving them. And if you are angry at your partner, be sure to express the reasons for that anger in a way that the other person can accept and understand. No personal attacks, and a lot of Fair Fighting is necessary!

EXAMPLE: I go through monthly cycles of feeling tense, then attacked, then attacking to defend myself, then seeking a way to reconciling, and finally calm.I never know how to stop the cycle when it begins…

3.- Hurling Unfair Accusations against your Spouse.
Perhaps you are very afraid of losing him/her and then think that you need to control them using negative comments on their behavior. If you begin accusing your partner of not caring about you, having never loved you, or whatever else negative comment you can fabricate, STOP!

EXAMPLE: “To me, when she is five minutes late from work, her delay prompts my fantasies that she is late because she is having an affair, and then whatever she does is equivalent to not being caring or attentive enough or intentionally trying to hurt me, and all hell breaks lose…”

Accusations are abusive, get you nowhere and only show that you are out of control! In this way, you are actively destroying reciprocal trust. Scare your partner and she will become defensive, more prone to hide information from you, and the negative spiral of accusation, and mistrust will end up killing your relationship. Making an angry temper tantrum is not the adult way to go. If there is something you need to talk with him/her, sit down and ask in a courteous way what is going on and respect the other person’s limits.

4.- Constant Fighting.
If you are constantly bickering with your partner, it is urgent for you to learn some skills as how to be an active listener. If you cannot effectively do this exercise, then you might want to seek professional counseling. Fighting with your spouse all the time is akin to being angry all the time, and when it happens in public, humiliates both of you. Write in a piece of paper the list of your complaints, ask for some dedicated time to talk, and do some negotiation about the issues that irritate you. After that, forget your mood and try to be optimistic and joyful. Life doesn’t owe you anything, remember?

5.- Making negative comments, in a repetitive way.
These don’t serve any kind of healthy relationship, and you should particularly avoid them if you want to keep the other person happy. There is always a cleaner, more direct way to communicate your needs than being demeaning, and doing negative critiques about your spouse to your friends, or in public! this is basically dishonest and reveals how childish your behavior can be. Even better, could you train yourself in being appreciative of her presence in your life? Talk about the joy this person brings to your life, finally?

EXAMPLE:I really need to do something. I don’t want to feel worthless, powerless and insignificant to a man for the rest of my life. I don’t want to set an example to our sons that wives should be so passive…I feel like a doormat, somebody without self-respect.

Married life is a continuous education on the multiple ways to fulfill the partner’s needs for love, connection and appreciation…watching carefully the old ways of interaction with others that convey control, dominance or lack of respect.

NoraNora Femenia is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Signup free to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! And get a look at her ebook about managing passive aggression

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