I am always hopeful when a couple contacts me with the expectation of improving or saving their relationship. In that moment, neither of them are able to feel or sense the optimism that I see because they are right in the middle of the storm. Contacting a relationship professional is no easy task for a couple. It requires courage. Knowing that they will have to be completely honest, share things that are uncomfortable, be vulnerable and be called out on their mess is quite scary. So when those couples are able to walk into my office in spite of all that, I am hopeful. It shows commitment to the union and more importantly a willingness to make things better. That willingness is always the very first step. At the time a couple schedules an appointment with me, I am confident that both partners are interested in a solution to their struggle. My hopefulness comes from the fact they made the call to me instead of a lawyer.
Living with, loving and sharing a life with another person can be completely insane at times. Patience grows thin, frustration sets in, disagreements happen, in some instances a little more frequently than we would prefer. And, it all comes with the territory. Couples must not be blindsided when challenges arise in their marriage. The battles themselves aren’t as important as how they handle and overcome those struggles.
With each challenge we face in our unions there ought to be a lesson learned, some sort of growth and the partnership should somehow be made stronger as a result. There is a silver lining in most of the difficulties that life and love throws our way.
If you are having trouble seeing the positive in your relationship challenges, below are a few new ways to look at some common situations:
Dealing with disagreements: Couples should learn something new about their spouse and apply it to how they treat him/her moving forward. If in the disagreement, your partner shared how certain actions made them feel, that new information should be taken into consideration and the particular action would be monitored and ultimately eliminated. An opportunity to develop and improve are always a win win.
Handling communication challenges: There are so many creative tools to aid couples in perfecting their communication. From practicing the various levels of listening to attending communication-focused workshops, resources are always at your fingertips. One partner may have to take the lead by being the effective communicator until the other catches on and follows suit. The silver lining is this can be corrected with effort from both partners. Also, keep in mind this isn’t the worst thing a couple can experience. If this is your greatest challenge, your marriage isn’t in as bad a shape as you might think.
Experiencing marriage’s rough patches: Many marriages go through periods of constant bickering, boredom and inactivity. This, however, is a revelation that the relationship needs work and the foundation has become a little weak. Couples are provided with an opportunity to take immediate action. Whenever a marriage finds itself in this cycle, it is time to go back to the beginning in order to rebuild that foundation. Remembering what drew you together, and recreating some of those magic love moments that occurred early in the relationship is a must. Couples must take time to get reacquainted, refresh and renew and be willing to sacrifice and shed those bad behaviors that are wreaking havoc on the marriage. A chance to start over is a definite plus.
When things are at their worst, but you both find yourself still there and fighting for your marriage, that is the silver lining. And although it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, there is hope. It is up to both partners to find it and use it. I challenge every couple going through a situation right now to look for their own silver lining and use it to turn things around.
BMWK, what is the silver lining in your current relationship struggle?
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