The reality of marriage is this: it requires a lot more than loving your partner or loving your children to make it work. It requires skills; to communicate effectively, manage conflicts, discuss each other’s expectations and coming to a compromise. The skills that make you a good employee, boss or parent, might not necessarily make you a good husband or wife. The lack of effective marital skills may lead to the loss of love and feelings in a relationship.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
To ensure a successful marriage, start early. Prior to your marriage, you may want to attend relationship or marriage counseling to learn some important skills in effective communication, managing differences and learning to meet each other’s needs. While it may seem odd to get help when you are happy, it is actually the best time to learn new skills.
Don’t Let It Snowball
If you are already married and starting to feel dissatisfied, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Too often couples rely on ‘hope’ or ‘magical thinking’ in their marriage. Hoping or thinking that your problems will ‘magically’ disappear without doing anything is wishful thinking. Research shows that couples often experience 6 years of decline and unhappiness in their marriage before seeking help. However, sometimes even with professional help, it won’t be enough to salvage a marriage if couples sit on the matter for too long.
Even if you have been experiencing a long period of marital happiness, do not wait to get help, even if you partner doesn’t want to come. You can go on your own and learn how to improve your relationship. Before ending a marriage, most couples would want to work things out and ensure they have tried and done everything they can to save it. So it is possible to work your way out or into a marriage with or without your partner.
When Is The Right Time To Let Go?
For couples who have been unhappy in their marriages and are in a dilemma whether they should stay or let go of the marriage, here are some reasons you should NOT have for staying in a marriage.
Unhealthy Reasons to Stay In a Marriage
- For the kids. This actually places a huge burden on your children. Divorce will not hurt your children as much as two fighting parents (regardless if you are married or not), who hurl vicious comments at each other.
- Stigma. Staying with someone in order to avoid shame won’t make for a happy union and will lead to resentment.
- To keep your parents happy. Again if you are in a relationship for anyone other than yourself, it won’t work. You will feel a lot of anger and resentment and there is no love in that.
- Money. Often people fear the loss of financial stability. However, this again creates a power imbalance and can create many power struggle fights.
- Fear of Change. Change is inevitable, and staying in a bad situation is not enough to make a marriage work.
However, do consider to save your marriage when…
- You can still remember positively all the reasons why you decided to get married to your partner
- You still can find good in your relationship and value what you’ve created together
- You still feel motivated to try and make things better
- You still like your partner
- You are willing to focus on changing yourself to be a better partner and take responsibility for your part in what is not working in the relationship regardless of what your partner does
- You are willing to put your relationship above all the needs and issues to make it better.
This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine
By Tammy M. Fontana from All in the Family Counselling
Tammy Fontana, MS, NCC CTRT Sex Therapist (USA) is the founder and mental health therapist for both All in the Family Counselling and Babysleepfairy.com. She has been providing professional counselling and sleep services in Singapore for over 8 years. She has her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counselling (USA) and is a USA National Counsellor Counsellor (NCC) and Certified Choice Therapy Reality Therapist (CTRT). She is also a US trained certified Sex Therapist. She provides evidenced and practiced based solutions to parents, individuals and couples.
You may contact Tammy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9030 7239.
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