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Transforming Your Marriage
By Andrew Rusbatch
Recognizing you have a marriage problem is the first step along the road to transforming your marriage, and for most couples simply acknowledging there is a problem shatters the marriage myth. According to love stories, movies, and fairytales we are supposed to live 'happily ever after'. But what happens when Snow White develops a drinking problem? What happens when Robin Hood's long working hours start affecting his marriage to Maid Marian? What happens when Cinderella says she has 'fallen out of love'?
We are taught in school how to do sums, how to read and recognize Shakespeare, and how to conduct scientific experiments, but what do we really know about the greatest social experiment of all, namely our ability to keep the love alive in our marriage?
The fact is we know surprisingly little, and from the moment we say "I do," we are literally flying by the seat of our pants. We don't get a manual or a textbook telling us how to get it right, so our marriage becomes an evolving set of experiments, learning and discovering more and more about ourselves and each other, and figuring out what works and what doesn't. Some say if we don't make mistakes we don't really learn, but what do those mistakes cost us, and is the cost too high for some couples?
That's why I have 3 ways to instantly transform your marriage. These are 3 things that you know will work and will help you get your marriage back on track. Let's call this your error-free way to redeem yourself and your marriage in the eyes of your partner and show them that you are committed to making positive changes in your marriage.
The first key to transforming your marriage is to stop looking at your issues on a case-by-case basis. Couples that try to solve arguments by going into the small details of every argument are never really going to deal with the big stuff. I'm talking about the issues that REALLY matter in your marriage, and the issues that keep coming up in every disagreement.
Spend too much time at work? Partner feeling unappreciated? Don't make love as much as you used to? Either of you feeling unfulfilled by your lifestyle or the relationship? Is the communication poor in your relationship? Does your need to always be right override the feelings of your partner? Spend less time worrying about the details and more time examining the issues and themes behind your arguments.
* The issue is your job. The theme behind this may be balance between work and home life.
* The issue is you not doing enough chores. The theme behind may be that you are being invited into making a greater contribution into coupledom.
* The issue is your partner being grumpy with you all the time. The theme is your partner needing to feel validated in the relationship
If you have a greater understanding of what the key themes are behind your marriage issues you are better able to develop effective solutions that will really make a difference.
The second key to transforming your relationship is to examine your beliefs about marriage. It's okay to not have the fairytale marriage. Even the best couples don't always get it right. But what makes the imperfections good or bad is how you choose as a couple to deal with it. When you disagree about something, do you sit down and talk about it, or is your first instinct to deny that there is a problem and hope that it will all go away?
You need to understand that it is okay to be imperfect. In fact, admitting this to yourself and your partner can be one of the most liberating actions you take in transforming your marriage. Admitting your imperfections exposes a vulnerability that can bring you closer together as you find ways to get some meaning out of your issues. Acknowledging that you do make mistakes can open the door to acknowledging that there is a better way to do things, and one of the lessons we are called into as a couple is finding that solution together. Make a list of things that you have learnt since you got married, and a list of areas that you as a couple can both improve on. Then try sharing that list with your partner and ask them to contribute their thoughts.
The third key to transforming your relationship is in recognizing the differences between men and women, and acknowledging the importance of both roles in the relationship. Just because your partner views something different to you doesn't make them wrong, and the same goes for you. There are often several interpretations of the truth, and the key to marriage success is in recognizing that women and men have key fundamental differences in the way they view things. For men, their view may be a much more task-oriented approach to fixing an issue, where a woman may focus more on the emotional process as you both navigate your way through marriage issues. While both approaches are different, with compromise they can both achieve the same result.
Write down 5 themes or issues. Then I want you to write down 5 task-oriented ways of trying to solve the situation. Then list 5 thoughts-based ways of communicating your way to a solution.
The first step to transforming your marriage is in transforming YOU. Being married can be scary enough, but having marriage problems and not knowing how to fix them can be paralyzing! All it takes is the ability to step outside your day-to-day issues and look at different ways of viewing your marriage. Every marriage problem invites you into growing and offers you and your partner the opportunity to learn.
Now it's up to you to take what you have learned and apply it to YOUR marriage. You too can have a fairytale marriage!
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Posted by Jessica Watts at 12:17 PM