When asked why their marriage is on the rocks, many couples often state that they have just grown apart. The reality of that statement just means the individuals no longer relate to or appreciate each other as they once did. This damage often occurs over a period of months or years and it is not even realized until it becomes a serious issue, which often escalates the marital problems even further.
It is the purpose of this article to expose some of the underlying reasons for "growing apart" with hopes that this knowledge can prevent the situations from happening.
1. Lack of communication. Every day life is moving at such a fast pace these days that it seems people are forgetting to "stop and smell the coffee" or rather stop and tell their spouse that they love them and appreciate them. Or even simpler than that, they forget to mention that they are cooking dinner on a certain night or are planning to mow the yard later. Saying those few words can lessen the stress of every day responsibilities and create a happier home and relationship.
2. Too much talking and not enough listening. Okay, so maybe people do say some of the little things above but your partner may be too busy to remember. This is why listening often plays a more important role than talking. I mean, what's the point of talking if no one is listening? The next time you and your spouse are talking, listen to what he or she is saying. If it happens to be, "Hey, I'm cooking dinner Thursday night," you can say something back like, "Great! What are we having?" The next most important step is remembering your plans! If your memory tends to fail you, write it down. A Post-It on your work surface or a note in you day planner will work fine; just as long as you see it daily so when Thursday afternoon comes, you'll know where you'll need to be in a few hours.
3. Lack of attention. This ties in with listening to your spouse. Sometimes people hear things and it "goes in one ear and out the other." But try this? if your spouse is telling you about a project either work related or something he or she is taking on personally, ask him or her about the progress a few days after hearing the news. Once the subject comes up enough, your spouse will want to tell you something new that they learned. Even if you have no interest or just no clue about the matter, you can still give him or her the attention they deserve. If you don't know what to say, a simple, "Wow; you learn something new everyday," or "I'm proud of you," will be sufficient. I'm sure a positive response is all the other person is looking for, especially if they know that you're not familiar with the topic.
4. Lack of affection. The type of affection mentioned here isn't necessarily pertaining to physical affection. If you're not really the "touchy-feely" type, compliments work just as well! If you haven't given one in a while, now is a great time to start. Take notice of a physical feature your spouse really likes about him or her self. Tell him or her how something they wear or a certain color really accentuates that feature. I'm sure he or she will be so happy you noticed that you'll at least get a hug or a smile out of the deal. I wouldn't advise complimenting on a feature that your spouse is self-conscious of because chances are, he or she will think you're just saying it to say it and that you really don't mean it. You can also compliment your loved one on how smart he or she is. This will be especially easy if they're knowledgeable in a certain area. Obviously they like that topic or they wouldn't study it so much. Tell him or her that you're impressed or amazed by the amount of information they know. It will not only boost the confidence of your spouse, but yourself and your marriage!
5. Lack of connection. Lately, with all the stress on individuality around us, we don't take the time to bond with our peers. This is especially true for a career oriented married couple. Both husband and wife work separately all day and when they come home, they're still in that individual mind-set. Your spouse is there to comfort and support you so depend on him or her a little. It will show that you're capable of taking care of yourself all day but still like his or her company to rely on after a rough day alone. Help each other out by sharing duties or trading duties that night. Yes, everyone gets tired but if you notice you have a little bit more energy than your spouse, pick up the slack for him or her that night. They will appreciate the deed and will or should return it another night when you are not feeling up to your end of the chores. Remember marriage is about two people joining lives. You may be separated all day but when you're together, you represent a two-person union that depends on itself to run smoothly.
It is the belief of this author that applying these suggestions on a daily basis will indeed help a troubled couple regain the closeness and magic their relationship once had. The results won't happen overnight but neither did the problems. Patience and understanding are key factors here but the benefits will far exceed the effort.
© 2004 Kristin Craft. You may freely distribute this article in your newsletter, on your website or in your print publication provided you include the copyright and resource box at the end. Hyperlinks should remain active whenever possible. Notification would be appreciated but not required.
Kristin Craft is the owner and webmaster of marriage-success.com Marriage Tips which provides helpful tips and resources for married couples and those considering marriage. Couples that are experiencing difficulties in the marriage can especially benefit by visiting Save My Marriage. ===============================================