Growing up we all dream about meeting our ideal partner, getting married and living happily ever after. So much so that all too often when we finally do tie the knot we breathe a sigh of relief and stop working on our relationship. If you want to have a successful marriage it is vital that you apply the same effort to keeping your relationship healthy as you do to other areas of your life.
The difference between our attitudes towards marriage and our careers is fascinating. We all accept that we have to work hard at work and do our best to overcome challenges. We acknowledge that we have to strive to improve and do our best. If we encounter a problem we have to work together with other people and cannot throw our toys out of the pram or talk disrespectfully to colleagues.
However when it comes to our marriage we often just expect it to work. We do not have the same commitment to constantly improve as we do with our careers. If we disagree with our partners or become frustrated with them we often resort to arguments rather than the same strategy we would use at work. I recently had a client who had not spoken to her husband for 4 days because of a disagreement over bedtimes for the children. She was becoming more and more resentful towards him and the lack of communication was not helping. Can you imagine if she behaved this way in the office? It just would not be tolerated.
Top 5 signs that you are heading for Divorce:
- If you feel resentment towards your partner and are not willing to resolve it
- If you start to have feelings for someone other than your partner
- If you prefer it when your partner is out for the evening
- If you no longer want to have sex with your partner
- If you have no trust in your relationship
There are all warning signs that you need to STOP and FOCUS on your marriage. It will not fix itself. You need to take time out if you want to avoid things getting worse. If you leave them too long then you will head towards what I call the "switch flicking moment". This is the point of no return when something just changes and you no longer feel that attraction to your partner. It happens if you allow the resentment, frustration or unhappiness in your relationship to build.
A client of mine loved her husband deeply for four years and would do anything for him. Despite the fact that he was not always very kind to her and often hurt her feelings, she always strived to make him happy. She didn't tell him how upset she as she worried he would leave her and she could not imagine her life without him. However one day after a particularly hurtful incident something changed. It was as if a switch had flicked inside her and she was suddenly no longer in love with her husband.
She could no longer tolerate being treated badly and she left him. This is an extreme example but it does show how little problems can escalate if they are not addressed.
So what can you do if you think see warning signs that you are heading for divorce?
1. Talk to your partner - communication is key to resolving any issues
2. Take responsibility - in order to resolve any issues you cannot play the blame game. You both need to accept that it takes two to make a relationship work
3. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It is easy to get caught up in the details that don't matter in the heat of the argument. This is especially important if you have children to consider as divorce will have a big impact on family life.
4. Plan to spend some quality time together. It's important to schedule some fun time where you can laugh, relax and enjoy each other's company.
5. Take advice from an expert. Divorce should be your last resort as it is a traumatic process however appealing it may seem as an escape route at times.
It's important to take off the rose tinted glasses and face up to any issues you have in your marriage. Burying your head in the sand will only prolong the problems and can often cause small challenges to escalate into bigger more difficult ones. All relationships will have their ups and downs and there will be times that test your marriage to the brink. If you have your eyes wide open and work together then you can make the best decisions for you and your family.