By Teresa Atkin,
After spending years working with couples and individuals who have been through a breakup ordivorce, it seems that there are problems that keep coming up over and over again. Wouldn’t it be good to know where to really concentrate our efforts so we can give our marriages the best chance at survival?
1. You talk to friends about the rotten thing you think your husband did to you.Research suggests that friends are often more upset when they think their bestie is being mistreated than when they’re experiencing the same mistreatment themselves. Besides, most of us don’t really understand how our conditioning and wiring as women differs from our husbands’ conditioning and wiring as men. That’s why conversations about men with female friends often lead to husband-bashing that helps nobody. The solution is to limit talking about your marital problems to just two people: For example, a trusted friend along with a coach or therapist.
2. You think that talking about these problems with your husband is the answer.All too often, women think that talking to our husbands is the way to make them see how their behavior affects us. If the behavior doesn’t change when we first bring it up, we want to talk more, longer, or louder because we think maybe they didn’t get it the first time. One of the biggest pet peeves for men is that feeling of being nagged or badgered, especially if they don’t know what the problem really is. Also, the rules of polite, kind, nice conversation that women try to follow often come off as indirect, manipulative and mysterious to men. Women often conclude that their husbands don’t care because they haven’t changed after a particular conversation. The solution: learn communication skills designed specifically to talk with men and spend more time doing fun activities.
3. You believe that your happiness depends on your husband changing. Research has shown that happiness does increase when your husband changes for the better, but that change originates with you. Paradoxically, the women who focused on becoming the person they want to be, rather than on how to get their husband to change, were happier down the road. The solution: focus on being the best you.
4. You live parallel lives. Living parallel lives with your husband is the slippery slope to disconnecting completely. The bonds of marriage thrive on having interest in one another, working toward common goals and spending time with one another. Couples who are trying to reconnect after their children have left home often come to realize that they don’t know each other anymore. The solution: take the time to know what’s important to your husband and let him know what’s important to you.
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