How to Steer Your Marriage Away From Hitting a Brick Wall
Do you feel like you’ve reached a point in your relationship where every time you talk to your spouse it’s like hitting “repeat” on your iPod? Everything you have to say feels like it’s been said before, and every word out of your partner’s mouth gives you déjà vu. Then you are in need of proper marriage counseling advice.
Just recently, at dinner, I noticed a couple sitting directly across the table from my wife and I. I watched them for awhile throughout my meal and noticed something a little strange about their behavior.
They weren’t speaking to each other. I was so struck by this that I decided to do a little experiment and time how long they went without saying a word.
How long do you think they sat in silence? Thirty seconds?
A minute and a half? Nine minutes. And after those nine minutes of silence, the wife said something and the husband merely smiled, not uttering a word in response. This behavior continued for the duration of their meal.
Fighting constantly isn’t the only form of communication that can ruin a marriage. In fact, couples that don’t communicate at all—like the one I stealthily observed while eating dinner—are more likely to end up in divorce court than those who constantly throw punches and insults at one another.
If you’ve stop talking to your spouse, don’t kid yourself. It’s not because you’re comfortable, or happy enough to not need words to communicate. It’s a serious problem. To clarify: I’m not saying you don’t know what to say, or you don’t know how to talk to your spouse.
The issue at hand is that you and your partner have started to take each other for granted, destroying any hope for a passionate, exciting, energetic conversation.
Silence is the first sign of trouble as any marriage counseling advice will tell you and, when this happens, couples tend to grow desperate and look for any way at all to create conversation with their spouse—even if it means starting a fight just for the sake of arguing.
As you probably could have guessed, that’s doesn’t work. See, in order to be a successful member of a relationship, every one of us needs two things: emotional support and physical contact.
Without communication, you cannot emotionally support your spouse. And if you’re not emotionally supportive to your spouse, they’ll recoil, making a physical connection impossible.
Distance, whether physical or emotional, generally ends one way for couples: a fight, sometimes one that ends the marriage. All the years of hard work that two people put into their relationship can disappear overnight if you don’t communicate with each other.
To meet the emotional needs of your spouse, you need to have a high level of intimacy in your marriage. The first step building the intimacy you need is simply talking to your spouse.
By speaking to your partner, you’ll begin to build the trust needed to show them that they can share anything with you because you understand them like no one else.
Recently, I was talking to a couple who seemed to have a healthy communication dynamic within their marriage. However, after just five minutes of casual discussion, they suddenly resorted to verbally bashing each other. Why? The wife’s emotional needs were not being met by her husband, and the husband didn’t understand what he needed to do to change for the better.
Here’s a quick test for you to determine the level of communication in your marriage. I call this the “Six Question Intimacy Test.” Let’s see how good you are at answering these questions. Chances are, your answers will help you uncover your weaknesses when it comes to building intimacy in your marriage.
1. What motivates you and your spouse to do what you do?
2. What rewards you, and what makes you feel punished?
3. What beliefs do you and your spouse share? Where do your beliefs differ?
4. What are you and your spouse’s most common emotional reactions?
5. What are yours and your spouse’s emotional weaknesses?
6. What are you and your spouse’s turn-ons? Are you aware of each other’s turn-ons?
Here’s a fun way to see how well the test measured the intimacy in your marriage:Write your answers down privately and have your spouse do the same. Then, trade lists and see how you’ve both done.
If you don’t have this sort of basic intimate knowledge of your spouse, then your marriage can’t work,plain and simple. Now, this can’t be fixed overnight. No matter how poorly or well you and your spouse performed on the Six Question Intimacy Test, you can fix—or even just improve—your marriage, and stop it from crashing into a brick wall of communication barriers.
You’ve heard of Sherlock Holmes, right? Well, your mission– should you choose to accept it– is to become Sherlock Holmes for your marriage. seek an answer to the ultimate question in this scenario, “what can help in saving my relationship?”.
Sherlock Holmes didn’t confront people and give opinions. He found out the details, closed the case and solved the problem. How are you going to become intimate and uncover your spouse’s hopes, wants and needs? And how are you going to help them reciprocate the same for you? You need to listen and observe, just like Sherlock.
Are you becoming a detective and uncovering your needs, while finding ways to meet the needs of your spouse, too? If you are, you’ll start having a much more intimate level of conversation with your spouse. And no matter what the situation is, you can in turn,improve your marriage.
The choice is yours. You either get to know your spouse better, or you can continue on your current path toward the brick wall of divorce. What’s your choice?
By Dr. Ellen Kreidman, Ph.D
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