Most marriages will be unhappy at some time
Most marriages will be unhappy at some time but they do not have to end in divorce. The reality is that at some time or another during about three quarters of all marriages one or both partners will be significantly dissatisfied. That is the natural course of those relationships and not an inevitable end. Many marriages recover as the husband and/or wife work through the issues and move on. The good news is that there is a chance to create a better relationship even from a marriage that is trouble.
Here is an example of a marriage in crisis:
I have been married to my husband for 13 years. We have two children together, ages 10 and 5. Although I find him physically attractive, I am not interested in him sexually, nor do I enjoy his company. I simply go through the motions of a happy relationship for my kids’ sake. We seldom argue, and I have sex with him when he asks for it, but there is no passion (for me). He is satisfied with our relationship, although I know he would like to have more sex. I often drink to excess to help myself “get in the mood”. I fantasize about leaving him, and what it would be like to be free from him. I feel like a servant. I am unhappy. What should I do? Signed: anad lexah
Creating a happy marriage
Contrary to popular belief, the first thing to learn and know about love is that it takes ongoing work to keep love fresh and alive. The actors in the movie Love Story may have said “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” but that is a sad departure from the truth. The closer truth is “Love means investing in your relationship every day to keep it fresh and alive.”
So, what do you do if you find yourself unhappy in a marriage? We say that you should try to fix it. Here are some of the elements that one might use to rebuild.
Establish a desire to change the marriage
Left to themselves relationships tend to pass from romance to close to distant to apart. It takes awareness and effort to keep tuning up a relationship as it and the individuals within it change in a changing world.
Dissatisfaction may be enough to establish a desire to change. Unfortunately for many couples they go right from unhappiness and dissatisfaction to a desire for divorce. Fortunately others realize that maybe a less drastic and traumatic approach to change may be worthwhile.
The reasons are not clear but women are more likely to be dissatisfied in a marriage than men. Part of this may be due to the tendency for women to be more in tune to their emotions and the tone and tenor of relationships. So, ladies, you have the better opportunity to be the early warning system and set a course for change before the relationship wears down to dissension and separation.
If things are not going the way of a happy relationship it may be time for change. Consider what you want the relationship to be and establish new personal and relationship goals. Read our article on change.
Methods for changing a relationship
To change the course of a relationship you must start by looking inward. Change yourself first. Get off the merry go round.
Many times communication is the first thing that suffers in a relationship. Here are a dozen articles on communication that can help you create a better communication connection. Communication is the key to solving problems and the key to creating a close and happy relationship that can withstand the tests that life gives us all.
In this case, excessive alcohol abuse may be an indication of loneliness. Try fixing the loneliness by reconnecting with yourself and your husband. You may want to develop more outside interests to feel better about yourself. Building one’s self-esteem and sense of self-satisfaction can be a stepping stone to feeling better about one’s relationships. If the alcohol continues to be a problem consider AA as a resource.
A new romantic fantasy
The reality of married adult life rarely matches the fantasies leading up to the marriage. Romance and weddings may be picture perfect but life is usually not. One key is to not dwell on the disappointment of not having the crystal slipper and the prince but to focus on the good things that you do have.
You will get more in life of those things that you concentrate on. Concentrate on the bad and that is all you will see. Concentrate on the good and what you want and that is what you can achieve. If you want more connection, create it by communicating in a positive way. Create more opportunities such as family meals that encourage together time. Go on dates – yes, dates. Make the time and create the mood you want. It may take some practice but practice makes perfect.
If you want more love, express more love. Let your partner know you love them and let them know what they can do to express their love. Few people are taught how to love. Try some of the ideas at https://positive-way.net/expressing-love Here are fourteen ways to rekindle romance.
The Positive Way site has hundreds of pages of resources for you and, of course, we recommend that couples consider counseling, PREP, Marriage Encounter and other resources that may be found on our links page.
Rebuilding a marriage
Great relationships are built one kind word at a time. It may have taken years for a troubled relationship to be created so we believe that it is worth spending the time to try to create a new and better relationship from the old one. Divorce should be the last resort unless you are in an abusive relationship in which case we say that you should leave and get professional help immediately.
We all want to be understood and appreciated for who we are. The ideal marriage partners support one another in achieving this goal. They strive to support and sustain themselves, each other and the relationship.
So in a nutshell, our advice is to use all the available resources you can to rebuild your happiness and to reconnect and redirect your marriage relationship to where you, your children and your husband are happy and fulfilled.
Here are some great books to help rebuild relationships.