Some days I worry that my husband and I are headed for a divorce. We argue and disagree on a lot of stuff. I worry that we’re growing apart and that when the kids are gone, there won’t be anything left between us. How can I tell if things are okay?
I think just about everyone experiences a time when they question the solidity of their marriage. I know this happens for me after an argument or when my husband and I struggle to find common ground.
Like most things in life that require patience and perseverance, a successful marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. There are highs and lows as we move through life along our merged path.
During those lowest points, you may feel helpless that things will ever be smooth and easy again.
Feel better about your relationship and keep it on a happier, healthier track by following these marital must-dos.
You have the occasional argument.
It may surprise you, but in my work with couples, I worry more when a couple tells me "Oh, we don't fight or yell." That usually means one, or both, of them has likely given up trying to resolve issues. They sacrifice their own needs to avoid conflict. This breeds resentment, which is a silent relationship killer.
Of course, knock-down-drag-out fights where feelings and belongings get hurt aren't healthy, either. But, at least you're engaged and telling your spouse what's on your mind, even if at the top of your lungs.
Since you're not always going to agree with one another, the occasional argument is inevitable. Communicate openly and honestly. Accept and respect your spouse's position. And try not to yell!
You speak each other’s love language.
It's important to remember that everyone perceives love differently, like a personal love language. Show you're partner that you appreciate them in ways that are meaningful to them.
Just because you like gifts, doesn't mean they do. Maybe they prefer just having time together without the kids around to interrupt.
Not sure what makes them feel appreciated and loved? The best way to find out is to ASK!
You set goals together.
These don’t have to be elaborate. Take some time to talk about what you want life to look like in the next one, three, five years. What do you want to accomplish? Where will you be with your careers? What phases will the kids be in?
This is a great time to voice wants and needs to each other. Prevent assumptions by talking about expectations.
You are active in the bedroom.
Revel in the comfort of being intimate with someone who knows you as well as your partner does and loves you anyway.
Too tired at the end of the day? Try dividing up the household To Do List more evenly, so you have more energy for sex.
Total silence in the bedroom is definitely a concern. Once medical issues have been ruled out, look to emotional causes that make people lose that loving feeling. Talk to your partner about what does and doesn't feel good.
You talk about more than just work and kids.
Can you see a theme here? Communication is so important.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind. If that's what our brain is focused on, then that's what we end up talking about during those rare private moments with our partner.
Try making it a game to talk about anything but work or kids. Talk about those goals you want to set. Talk about your sex life. What's working; what's not.
You share the household responsibilities.
I'm a firm believer in a division of labor that works for that family at that time. There was a point where I stayed home more and was responsible for the cleaning and grocery shopping. Now, my husband has more free time so he domestic workload has increased.
Research shows that even if the division isn't equal, as long as both parties feel the responsibilities are fair, greater satisfaction is reported in the relationship. Again, make it work for your marriage and life circumstances.
Want to keep your marriage on track?
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Thanks for taking the time,
Amanda is a licensed counselor with a practice in Westfield, just north of Indianapolis. She counsels worry warts, distant couples & also offers online coaching packages for busy moms who want to have it all on their terms. She lives with her husband, two boys, and not-to-be-ignored cat Sphinx.