This is dedicated to the owners of loving relationships, who want them to work at their best.
All relationships go through tough times. It is quite normal to come so close to throwing in the towel that you both wonder if things will ever work again. Some stressful time periods are predictable – you may like to view them as ‘developmental.’
Routines set in
What was once unbelievably romantic becomes ‘ho hum’ or even ‘grrr.’ The magic is gone and boredom seems forever. Following are some popular reasons:
- It can happen after children arrive. Sex usually dwindles due to hormonal changes or sheer exhaustion.
- It happens when there are money worries, when cash is tight flow and couples are scared.
- It happens when there are stresses relating to job change, unemployment, moving house, or family conflicts.
- It happens when kids leave home, or adult parents age, and a couple becomes part of the ‘sandwich generation’.
- It happens when one partner retires or their health deteriorates.
- And of course, affairs, lack of intimacy, lack of communication, concern, commitment and respect, as well as a myriad other issues all are seeds for divorce.
Given how stressful marriage can be, what makes a strong one stronger?
- Abandon the ‘white picket fence’ fantasy. All of us carry baggage. Learn your own and your partner’s and how to negotiate the times to carry your own or help each other with the total load.
- Take responsibility for your own happiness.
- Take time for yourself and each other.
- Rely on those close to you, friends, family, spiritual leaders, trained therapists and counsellors.
- Even if you think you want a divorce, delay. Give your relationship a chance. Studies show that many who are sure they want a divorce, but wait, find themselves glad they did and happier five years later.
- Live a full and loving life. Love yourself well and you will have energy to love your partner better.
Marriages that work, have a toolbox. Over time and with patience and communication, each partner knows which tool to use and when. A strong marriage becomes stronger, when tools are learned, well-honed, practised with patience and are appropriately used.