Couples go through ups and downs as boyfriend and girlfriend and then as husband and wife. It’s the natural ebb and flow of relationships.
But before you say, “I do”, it’s a really good idea to examine how you and your partner get along.
Do you fight often? Are you always together and never have time apart? Do you enjoy being with each other or do you count the minutes until they leave?
Couples that can go the distance have to have a genuine like and respect for each other. They have to be compatible. Plus, they need to have outside interests other than each other. It helps keep the relationship fresh and exciting.
Sometimes long-term couples go through a rough patch. But the idea of breaking up is too painful to bear. Taking a break or separating for a short while can actually be good for some couples. When our families and friends hear about this, most people conclude that the couple are breaking up. But that is not necessarily the way it has to go.
Taking a break can be a catalyst for change. If the relationship is on a downward spiral, it can be a healthy option. It’s not meant to be a time to date others however. It should be a time to observe what it is that you’re missing when they aren’t with you.
After all, we do tend to lose ourselves in our relationships and we sometimes need to reign it back to be sure we are on the right path. However, do not let it drag on too long. You may find that while you were finding yourself, your love has found someone else.
While you are on your break, it’s a good idea to think long and hard at some of these red flags that may plague your relationship.
1. Your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their part in an argument.
2. Your partner depends on you too much for their own happiness.
3. You do not like their family and/or friends.
4. All their exes are “crazy”.
5. When every date must be about spending and going somewhere. Couples need time to just be and relax.
6. Keeps a scorecard about everything you have said or done that they don’t like.
7. They do not have any hobbies except YOU.
8. They are always making you a last priority or an afterthought and put you down often.
9. They have constant mood swings. (This is a biggie since it only gets worse after marriage).
10. Wants to control all aspects of your life.
11. Constantly jealous when you are talking to someone of the opposite sex.
12. If all your friends and family (whom you love and trust) truly dislike your partner, it’s beyond a red flag. It’s a clear sign.
Taking a trial separation is not synonymous with lack of love and/or lack of desire to be with your significant other down the line. You both may realize that you need counseling to work through your issues. On the other hand, if the end result does turn out to be a terminal break up as one or both of you decide to go your separate ways, bear in mind that it’s probably for the best.
The demise of a marriage is truly heartbreaking. So much effort, planning and emotions went into all of it. The courtship, the engagement, the wedding, honeymoon, and then life after. I always wonder if we all would put as much effort into the after as we do the before, would it make a difference?
I would say YES for most, but not all.
Some people do the old switcheroo immediately after marriage. They are sweet, agreeable, easygoing, only to find out that they truly possess none of those qualities, it was all just a hoax. Yes, there are those that want to be married so badly, and they are very good at manipulation. They will be all you want them to be until they have you. That’s why all the experts say you should be with the person a good two years before you marry. Let’s face it, it’s hard to be a fake for that length of time.
But aside from marrying the Loch Ness Monster, the majority of marriages fail because no one is paying attention to each other. They are too busy with the kids and work that they barely notice their spouse. They are two ships that pass in the night rarely connecting at port.
This is truly an epidemic! Couples stop paying attention to each other because so much is going on.
Our children need us, our work demands us. Johnny bit a kid on the playground and the parents want to sue us. Our parents are getting older and forgetful and need us. We’re late for karate or dance. The dog has to go to the vet. Dinner is burning on the stove.
Our lives are crazy!
And, let us not forget social media. The average time spent searching or posting daily, is nearly two hours. Do marriages with all this stuff going on, really have that kind of time?
Of course social media is a bit of escapism, much like television, which we all need. However, two plus hours on our devices and television is excessive when most couples barely have time to eat dinner with their families.
The thing about marriages is they don't demand our attention in quite the same way that all the other facets of our lives do. Our marriage is usually pushed to the back burner. We think, "It's fine. It can wait. I'll have time for it tomorrow."
Marriage is patient for quite a while. It waits its turn. Then we move it from the back burner to the pantry shelf.
It's starts looking paler, not nearly as colorful and animated as it used to be. It begins to feel a bit stifled and more fragile. Still, it doesn't demand, at least not on the surface.
Until it does. The cracks begin to show, and the façade is just that. We, the couple begin to become a memory.
And, it all began from lack of attention.
The true secret to maintaining love and closeness in relationships is ATTENTION. Simple attention.
If you didn’t give your children attention, wouldn’t you be a negligent parent? Then by not giving your spouse attention, aren’t you being negligent?
Attention is the food and water of a living and breathing relationship. It’s how we care for all living beings. Without attention, all relationships will simply fade away.
Think about how you feel when you go unnoticed or are not getting the attention you believe you should. You feel unappreciated and insignificant.
Perhaps it’s time to make time for your marriage. Give your spouse the attention that you want to receive. Be the giver and you will be surprised of what you will receive in return. And, just like the seeds of spring bloom beautiful summer flowers, watch your own marriage come into full bloom.
If you think you need more help or are on the brink of divorce, check out my book here.
Wishing you all a happy spring and a wonderful holiday! xoxo
A friend of mine was going through a difficult period in her marriage. In fact, they were on the brink of filing for divorce, it was a matter of who was going to file first. I implored her to think twice and go for counseling since they had three children still living at home. They did, but if anything, things were worse. Because they have children still living at home they decided to wait a bit and let things cool down. They basically ignored each other and began living separate lives.
So many of us want to stay married for the sake of the children. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the hostility in the home. In my friend’s case, it turned out to be a good thing because she tried an online program that she now swears by called Save My Marriage Today.
The claim is that even if your spouse is not onboard with it, it will still work. According to their ad:
It might sound impossible right now to visualize your renewed, loving marriage again... but I promise you, if you read through this page and do what it says, you'll be shocked at how quickly your marriage turns around for the better, how the communication with your spouse will go from awkward and angry to nurturing and positive, and how you will have the loving spouse and the strong, supportive marriage you have always dreamed about and deserve.
Most of what this program teaches is to communicate in a more loving way, which is extremely difficult when you despise your spouse. The thing is, it’s not impossible if you want to save your marriage. Most couples on the brink of divorce have forgotten how to love each other. They have forgotten how to be kind to one another. They have forgotten all common decency on
how to treat another human being when it comes to their spouse.
My friend invested the $49.95 for the online e-book and the newsletters that accompany it and they even consult with you if you have questions or concerns.
Today she has her marriage back. In fact, they are happy and lovey dovey. It’s quite a sight to see. And, the beauty of the program is that my friend was able to accomplish this without her husband’s input, at least initially.
Since seeing the results, I decided to promote it. For every one that is sold through my link I get a small stipend, which doesn’t cost you anything extra. But truth be told, even without it, I am happy to promote a product that can help save marriages. Having been divorced and knowing the impact on families it is worth it.
My link is here. If you do try it, please let me how it worked for you. God bless!!
After the divorce, and after all the dust has settled, you enter a new realm: post-divorce. What this looks like is up to you. Hopefully it’s a time for rejuvenation of your soul and finding YOU again. It should be a time of feeling happier and free of the stress that plagued you and your children for a long while. Of course, there is the adjustment period for all, which can take months and sadly, sometimes years.
Try not to raise your expectations too high and remember baby steps are necessary even if you were the initiator of the divorce.
Here are some tips on moving forward post-divorce.
1) Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you have been through a trauma with all the changes you and your family have been through. It’s a time of re-adjusting for all. It can be difficult getting used to what I call, empty-house-syndrome, which is when the kids sleep over their other parents’ house. Keep your own expectations low for the time being by giving yourself permission to recuperate from the experience. Let the house go a bit as you tie up all loose ends. Spend more time doing only what you must do as you take this time to slow down.
2) Reflection is the key to moving forward. This is part and parcel to number 1, but this is where you reflect on what and why the marriage failed. It is a good idea to buy a small journal to track your thoughts and feelings regularly.
3) As you and your children begin to get accustomed to the new schedule, try not to get caught up in the one-upping that tends to happen between divorced parents. This is not healthy for the kids as it tends to make them play against you both, and it spoils them big time.
4) Rebuild the new family. Remember, what was once is no more. Meaning, it’s time to inject different traditions. It is time to rebuild the family as you see fit. Of course, you can keep certain holiday traditions that you and the kids love, just add some. A big winner for many is to pick a weekly game night with pizza and no phones allowed. Or, Saturdays when they are with you, make them become chore days (of course they will scoff and complain) but afterward reward them with a fun treat. These traditions will be remembered for years thereafter and begin to take the sting away from the loss of the divorce and the former family unit.
5) Stay active in your children’s lives. It’s imperative to be an active participant in your children’s lives, whether you are the custodial or visiting parent. They need both parents!! Unless your ex was an abuser to you and your children, do your best to encourage their relationship. It is imperative for raising healthy, happy children.
6) Rediscover some of your talents. No doubt, the divorce took a lot out of you, and you stopped doing many things you enjoyed. Take this time to BEGIN AGAIN! When you have time away from the children, take those cooking classes you’ve been wanting to do, or start practicing yoga; do what makes you happy.
7) Call on your sister friends. Utilize your friends during this difficult transition. Have them over to your place for wine or coffee. Go window-shopping, see a movie (preferably a comedy), anything to take the sting away from your initial lonely weekends.
8) Do not rush into another relationship. Naturally, the sting of divorce leaves us feeling unloved and at times unlovable. I promise that you aren’t! Think of it as a time for personal growth and re-discovering yourself. Take this time for you, and when the time is right, love will find its way to you.
Christine Marie is the author of To Stay or Not to Stay: How to Know When it’s Time to Leave Your Marriage. Available for Kindle or in paperback. She also offers divorce mentoring for the separated or divorced woman who needs help moving forward.
Has been writing most of her adult life on various topics important to women and children. If you are contemplating divorce, then you should check out her e-book.
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