“To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it’s run out of gas.” – D. Sollee
We are so lucky to be born as humans and to blessed with our most important relationships in life. However, crisis moments come in every relationship, and the case is no different for a married couple.
In fact, when negative emotions like hurt and anger hijack a marriage for too long, it most often leads to separation or divorce. At the very least, the relationship becomes very unhealthy emotionally for both partners. There may be crisis moments in your marital life, but is separation or divorce the only solution?
Well, frankly speaking, all of us want love, commitment, intimacy, compatibility, sexual expression, and companionship in our relationship with our partner. Is it possible to have a successful and rewarding married relationship despite the ups and downs?
The answer is a resounding yes. After all, most of us have always wanted to settle down with the right partner and enjoy a lasting relationship. The responsibility for maintaining a relationship doesn’t lie just on your partner. Both of you are equally responsible to bring harmony back into the relationship and ensure long-term marital success.
Food for Thought
The key reason for the ballooning number of divorce cases in the US is the deep gulf of false hopes, unrealistic expectations and unfulfilled promises. Besides, the lack of trust and compatibility, miscommunication, assertiveness, unrelenting attitude, and irresponsible behavior of the partner are just a few causes of the of relationship breakdown.
This is especially true when the other partner has high expectations from the relationship. So the key to long-term relationship success lies in making constant efforts toward its improvement.
Among the top reasons for marriage conflict are disagreements around money management, sex, parenting and conflict with the in-laws. But can these kinds of conflicts really be effectively managed, even turned around to strengthen a relationship? Yes they can.
Here are 10 tips for couples to stop arguing and start loving again:
1. Avoid Anger and Criticism-Uncontrolled anger and criticism will only cause your partner to shut down or defend themselves or counter-criticize.
This is the opposite of clearly communicating the underling needs that lead to the hurt, anger and criticisms in the first place. Learn to hear and meet each other’s needs and love and deep emotional reconnection will replace the hurt and anger.
Clearly communicate your needs to each other; you can’t expect your partner to guess what is going on with you. Remember, just because you love each other doesn’t mean you can read your partner’s mind or vice versa.
2. Don’t Be Defensive– It is human nature to defend ourselves in everything we do. Such an over defensive approach is sometimes blamed for relationship problems. You might have noticed that most of the time you are defending yourself without paying heed to what your partner is saying.
Given enough time to your partner to speak and express themselves and make them understand that you have heard them before actually giving a response. If frustration or anger or getting in your way, you may want to learn some basic relaxation techniques in order to get and stay calm when talking about your hot button issues.
3. Spend time together – Relationships are like bank accounts – the more you deposit, the better your relationship prospects. Spending good time with each other is like make regular deposits in your relationship account to keep the love alive and strengthen the bonding.
Recent marriage research has also shown that couples who have 4 or 5 positive exchanges for every negative exchange are far more likely to stay together. The little things really count here too. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to express heart felt gratitude and to pay genuine complements.
4. Make regular repair attempts – Indulging in unnecessary arguments or even avoiding each other for prolonged periods or rejecting the partner’s attempts for reconciliation will make the situation worse. Saying sorry for arguing, even though you disagree, shows you care.
5. Acknowledge and accept differences– No two persons are alike. Accept and value differences in your partner. We are often friendlier with people who share the same qualities or values as us and expect our partner to have the same values as well.
But since not everyone shares the same opinion on different issues, you must learn to value their perspective even when it’s different from yours.
This will offer you significant opportunities to grow and develop as a couple. Couples often fail to compromise due to selfishness, expecting the other partner to change. Such differences of opinion may lead to heated discussions that often turn into intense arguments.
“A good marriage is a contest of generosity.” – Diane Sawyer
6. Be supportive of each other – Remind yourself that you are all human. As humans, it is natural to get wrong somewhere or make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you should start criticizing or judging or even blaming each other.
The best relationship science actually predicts divorce with over 90% accuracy when there is a pattern of criticism and defensiveness leading to high levels of frustration and emotional shut downs.
Yet the same marriage experts have clearly shown that the vast majority of distressed marriages can be completely turned around when both partners become effective communicators and can meet each other’s needs. Both couples need fake it until they make if necessary, once they’ve learned how to express and meet each other’s most important relationship needs.
An emotionally healthy marital relationship functions just like a high performance team. Effective teamwork means cheer the other partner on, irrespective of the situation. Remember, a good relationship doesn’t happen on its own; both partners have to work at it.
To build harmony back into the relationship, look at your role in the conflict between both of you. Don’t focus on your partner’s role. That’s their job!
Research shows that relationships get strained more often when the partners begin to blame each other for all the problems in their lives. If you make an effort to acknowledge your contribution in the conflict, your partner is more likely to do the same.
7. Be sexually considerate – Every martial relationship survives on emotional and physical love and support. Show affection to your partner even during crisis times. Sometimes a warm hug or a lingering kiss can cool things down.
Sex drives can be very different , especially between men and woman. Sustaining a healthy, happy sex life requires clearly communicating and understanding other’s sexual needs. Making the effort to keep the fire burning is something that will bring both of you closer.
8.Share The decision making role– Research shows that those relationships are most successful in which female partner feels her opinion counts and that she can influence her male partner.
9.Enjoy yourself – A martial relationship is all about celebrating your life together. Doing fun activities together is indispensable to a successful relationship. Fun activities are like glue, which can keep both of you happy together.
Marriage experts have also shown that carefully planning and sharing a regular date night once a week, which prioritizes shared relaxation and pleasure actually predicts that a couple will stay married.
10. Listent, Listen, Listen – Demonstrate your commitment to your martial relationship by finding out what your partner likes and then honoring that. Paying due attention to each other’s needs and feelings is all that is required to show you care.
Consider consulting a marriage coach, relationship counselor or marriage educator who can help you learn the most effective couples’ communications skills.
If your marital problems become too difficult to manage by your selves, you may want to work with a licensed couple’s counselor to help you talk things through if you are finding it difficult to communicate and fear your relationship is on the verge of collapse.