Saving a dying marriage after having children can be challenging, but a successful union requires much effort. Here are eight things I’ve learned as a marital coach that can help couples develop a solid foundation and navigate the complexities of maintaining a strong relationship post-parenthood.
“I am unsure of my readiness for marriage.” This notion has occurred to me more often than I’d like to confess. The beginning of our marriage was a long cry from the emotional happiness we shared during our courtship. The birth of one child was followed by postpartum depression; the birth of a second child rendered my body unrecognizable.
This is not what I envisioned as a young woman who desired her own family and was optimistic about the future. Instead, marriage challenged me in ways I could never have anticipated. Without a frame of reference for what a healthy marriage looked like, I felt like I was wandering aimlessly across a desert. It was isolating, and I frequently felt defeated. The path before me appeared to be arduous and unpleasant. Was I in a doomed union?
What Marriage Trends Demonstrate
When I got married at age 28, I wanted it to be for the long haul, and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. According to experts, millennials reduce the divorce rate by 24%. In contrast to earlier generations, we are delaying marriage, and we elect to stay married longer once we get married.
This shift results from locating the ideal candidate and placing a greater emphasis on financial security. Nonetheless, a 2019 Pew Research Center poll indicated that only 44% of millennials were married. At a comparable age, 53% of Gen Xers, 61% of Boomers, and 81% of Silents were male.
Therefore, does this imply that millennials who have committed to marriage are genuinely content? The short answer is no, especially considering that modern societal pressures can be the core cause of why many married couples feel dead in their relationships.
Common Marriage Issues
With social media highlighting the perfect-looking couple with everything, such as money, a Pinterest-worthy home, and well-behaved children who travel the world, millennial couples question whether this is the aim or status to achieve. This dissatisfaction destroys the beautiful, oftentimes simple moments that occur in regular life between ordinary couples.
Yet, it is considerably deeper than that. After becoming marital trainers, my husband and I realized there are numerous ways in which death can be sensed in a relationship. Here are five frequent relationship issues:
- Lack of sexual attraction to your partner.
- Lack of closeness and emotional connection.
- Lack of desire and enthusiasm for each other.
- Absence of courteous and productive communication.
- Need for more financial stability.
Depending on each couple’s difficulties, the list could continue indefinitely. We believe any troubled marriage can be saved with a few difficult viewpoints modifications.
Methods to Renew Your Marriage
Call us optimistic, but if we can see life anew in our marriage, we are confident that others can as well. Here are a few ways we know (and have personally witnessed) marriages can once again live and thrive.
Pursue your partner as if you were on a first date.
In reality, we all progress through life. We are evolving and learning new things about ourselves and our world. The belief that you always know everything about your partner prevents the pursuit from occurring, and we believe that pursuit generates passion.
Consider social media with skepticism.
Even though our culture makes it appear as though the person you marry should already know how to be a wonderful spouse, this is unattainable. While it is true that certain essentials should be mastered before marriage, no one should make you feel guilty if your partner is still learning how to be a great companion.
There is a role for social media in these expectations. We are often impacted by what we see, and we are aware that millennials spend considerable time on social media. The difficulty we observe is ensuring that social media users understand that this is merely a peek of the entire tale. You can never tell what a couple is experiencing or why they are smiling in a photograph or video.
Let yourself feel true love again.
This location is vulnerable. If you have ever been harmed by a close friend or family member, you are far more vulnerable. Our emotions are what make us human; suffering, happiness, and fervor are excellent signs of a life well-lived. In truth, whenever you interact with your spouse or people in general, you are surrounded by imperfection that is alive and well. The beauty of genuine love is when someone accepts you despite your flaws. Feel that, but provide that as well.
Recognize that marriage will test and transform you.
When committing one’s life to another, the expectations must be very clear. If you have unspoken expectations, it is essential to explain them to your partner and allow them to be shaped into something that works best for both of you. Your marital life should be lived together, which entails speaking the truth with grace and love.
Learn about yourself.
Self-awareness is the only thing that will boost the romance in your marriage. We believe that knowing yourself, how you come across, and what you emit is the starting step for genuine closeness. What is the purpose of getting to know your partner if you do not know who you are? This is vital!
Taking the CliftonsStrengths test online is a fun and straightforward approach to learning about yourself. This examination exposes more than just your personality; it also reveals your innate talents. We suggest all couples take this test and discuss the results with their partners.
Deal with financial difficulties together.
Financial stress is a popular topic of conversation during counseling, but we want couples to focus on working together to achieve their objectives rather than venting. The crux of the issue is not the finances themselves but rather the inability to communicate under pressure.
It might be daunting at times, so take care of immediate financial requirements and then establish a plan as a partnership to determine what must occur so that everyone is working toward a common family objective. We recommend that couples develop a family vision plan. Identify the members of the “team” and how they can contribute to the ultimate objective after outlining the vision.
Identify destructive familial patterns.
A genogram or detailed family history map containing hereditary and behavioral tendencies and psychological elements over numerous generations can sometimes reveal trends. These exercises can reveal negative tendencies that indicate what may occur in your relationship if they are not addressed.
Some negative patterns in your family are voluntary activities that might bring emotional anguish or suffering in the present or future for the family unit. You can work to break them if you are aware of them.
As the stigma surrounding mental health concerns diminishes, counseling is gaining popularity. Even if nothing is “wrong,” we advise couples to seek counseling. Comparable to an annual physical: Get a mental checkup to ensure that you are both individually and collectively healthy. When you allow problems to build up inwardly, they encircle your heart like bricks, leaving little room for the sweet spot a marriage needs to grow. This is also a perfect time to discuss any negative genogram trends.
Was I in a doomed union? No. My toxic attitude, however, had to die. And I quickly recognized that this death was essential for me to embrace a more real, living, healthy, and long-term perspective, and my husband and I are currently evolving in this amazing challenge we call marriage.