“I’m tired. I don’t have the strength to argue anymore. I think divorce is the best answer for both of us.”
These days, more and more partners are giving up on their marriages because it’s just too hard. There is a war ongoing in the home.
Sometimes, there’s temporary peace. This is only because both parties stopped talking. However, it’s short lived when wrong words are exchanged, and the fuse blows again.
Everyone around feels like they’re walking on eggshells. It’s stressful.
What are the Options?
There are two choices if your marriage is on the rocks: you can fight to save your marriage, or you can just let it continue down this dark road.
Many times, if feels so grueling because every effort feels like a waste. One moment it’s a little encouraging and next, it backfires! The feelings can spiral down from frustration, exhaustion to hopelessness.
It’s hard to know where to even focus, but it’s also even harder when you feel that you’re the only one who cares.
If you find yourself in this situation, I hope this offers you some encouragement and new strength to carry on. It is by no means a quick fix to your complex situation.
Abandoned gardens with overgrown weeds, shrubs and wandering climbers didn’t get that way overnight. What used to be a sweet estate, is now a sight of dilapidation, ruin, and rot. It will require a strong will, wise action accompanied with knowledge and skills to nourish it to its potential splendor and glory.
Steps to Fighting for your Marriage
1. Refuel Yourself
Everyone has an emotional tank. This gets filled up when you receive appreciation, affirmation, attention, affection, or acceptance. On the other hand, it gets depleted when the opposite happens; unkind words are hurled at you, you are not appreciated for your efforts, or when you are ignored. When your vessel is empty, it’s hard to function as a loving and giving person. As such, you cannot offer what you do not have.
This is where you need to intentionally top it up. Here’s a list of ideas to begin with.
- Take lessons
- Find a community
- Find a coach to help you move forward
- Find a counsellor to help you deal with the past
2. Reflect on Your Journey
You don’t learn from experiences; you learn from reviewing your experiences. If you can, you may want to stop to think about what are the reasons that have led to the situation in the marriage.
Some of the common causes for problems in marriages can be attributed to:
- Priority – Maybe the kids came along, or work pressure built up; and the marriage was put on the backburner.
- Respect – Perhaps you didn’t agree with the way your spouse did some things, and your actions or words used were not so kind and respectful. In the long run, your spouse lost interest in talking to you.
- Trust – You might have done something that lost the trust of your spouse, and it hasn’t been dealt with.
It’s important to take responsibility for things you may have done to bring the marriage to where it’s at. Even if you might not feel that you’re the main contributor to the situation, it takes one party to begin the healing process. Walls can only start coming down when we take full accountability for areas we had complete control of, which includes our words and actions.
3. Get on the Road to Unity
There are basically two path options. One leads to unity where the marriage can grow and flourish. The other leads to alienation, which will eventually lead to separation. Every word and action will take you down either ways.
To begin travelling back on the road to marital harmony, you must be very intentional about your words and actions.
a. Seek Forgiveness
Firstly, if there are areas in which you have discovered (upon reflection) that you might have been guilty of, then go ahead and make amends. Be sure to bring it up at the right time; not when your spouse is getting ready for an important meeting, or when your spouse just got back from work and is feeling physically and mentally exhausted.
You need to do what is comfortable for you. Some people may express better through letters. More importantly, you need to be sincere and not expect any apologies back because the main aim here is to express your regret, ask for forgiveness and commit to doing better.
b. Choose Your Words Wisely
Next, be very conscious about the way you speak. For example, fighting words are words that do not consider the other party’s feelings and usually comes out as thoughtless and disrespectful. Thinking words, on the other hand, are considerate and well reflected on. They are always aimed at improving the situation.
Here are some examples:
|Fighting Words||Thinking Words|
|“You never listen! You’re always doing the opposite of what I say.”||“Is it alright if we spend some time talking about this? I feel that we haven’t understood each other, and I hope we can come to an alignment.”|
|“Don’t you dare talk to me like that!”||“I understand that you may be upset. Perhaps we should take some time to calm down and then we can speak again later.”|
|“You’re not the only one who is tired here, you know. Can’t you help to fold the clothes?”||“Hey dear, when you’ve rested enough, would you kindly help with folding the clothes?”|
Remember, fight for your marriage, not fight in it!
c. Act Lovingly
Despite the lack of feelings, as the party who still has the glimmer of hope for a happy marriage, you continue to do deeds of love. Even if the responses are discouraging, and almost futile; and even if you do not feel so eager to please, but in your efforts, you must be thoughtful, kind, gentle, and helpful.
You may sometimes wonder if you even feel fondly for your spouse anymore. In those moments, be persistently consistent, and through time, you will realize the dry spells will become less frequent, and less deep. Amazingly, you will find the feelings of affection returning.
It Only Takes One to Begin Healing
Marriages go through rough patches. Just like an abandoned garden, it can be beautiful again if we give it attention and care. However, it requires patience and determination.
Maybe there weren’t some healthy practices to begin with, such as sweeping things under the rug, and not talking about it because it was too painful.
These things will fester like weeds when not dealt with, and if not careful, will choke everything good around it.
The good news is that you can be the agent of change in your marriage. Begin with being kind to yourself, and then making little shifts in your responses. With every loving word and action spent, it will be like water and sunshine for beautiful flowers to bloom, and then you will begin to see the potential of the marriage again.
As a Parent Educator and Coach, she finds fulfilment in equipping families with tools and solutions to enjoy their family journey.
When given any opportunity, she hopes to share with married couples and families that you don’t have to be a super being to be a hero. All it requires is love, commitment and a workable plan.