Not all marriages are a bed of roses. What used to be a happy relationship prior to walking down the aisle can turn into a difficult marriage in a mere matter of months or after long years of togetherness. Before waving the white flag, find ways to deal with your unhappy marriage before you totally drift apart.
Each relationship is different. There is no one solution to the problem. Here are a few things you can do to deal with an unhappy marriage.
1. List down signs of unhappiness. Why do you say the marriage is unhappy? What are the signs? Write down these signs which can include any of the following:
- constant bickering, fighting or arguing
- conversations have stopped
- not spending quality time together
- one or both partners make an effort to spend longer hours outside the house
- no intimacy, only sex
2. Determine who is really unhappy. Based on the signs, find out who is really unhappy in the marriage. It is possible that only one person feels trapped in the union, while the other is completely clueless.
3. Make an honest assessment of yourself and your spouse. Go through a process of discernment about yourself and your spouse. List what your good qualities are and your areas for improvement. Include what you bring to the marriage – for example, takes care of the household or contributes to the finances. Next, make the same list for your spouse.
4. Start working on yourself. Based on your personal assessment, find ways to improve what you perceive is contributing to your unhappy marriage. Work on changing yourself first and not your spouse. If you feel you are a nit-picker or that you easily lose your cool, try slowly counting one to ten before you say anything or react violently to a situation. If you are a shopaholic, leave your credit and debit cards at home and only bring enough money for the errand. If necessary, find a personal counselor who can help you be a better spouse and a better person all together.
5. Talk to your spouse. Don’t try to catch your spouse off guard but instead make an appointment with her to discuss your marriage. Set a specific time and place so you are both emotionally ready to face the issue. During the meeting, tell your spouse what you have observed and how you feel. Ask her if she feels the same way or what her observations are.
6. Come up with a plan together. If you both feel that the marriage is worth saving, work together to come up with a solution. Suggest going to a marriage counselor. Ask her to go through the same personal assessment exercise you went through.
7. Continue working on yourself and your marriage. An unhappy marriage cannot be fixed overnight. It takes time and a lot of effort to bring back the joy in an otherwise painful marriage. Don’t give up easily and work as a team.
There are so many reasons why marriages turn unhappy after years of wedded bliss. Contrary to what others may say, unhappy marriages are not born overnight. Instead, couples tend to ignore the signs that their marriage is starting to show cracks. By being perceptive and acting on the signs early, you can steer your marriage back to its original path.