I want to make it clear to you before you start reading this post. Don’t believe anyone especially me who talks about relationship advice is suppose to have a perfect relationship from the beginning and they never fight with each other.
To be honest, I have fought a lot with my spouse since we got married, but we also learned a lot from it. That’s what made our relationship stronger. This is part of our life. It’s not that bad when you have conflicts with your spouse if you can learn from it. However, it will be a serious problem if you fight without knowing the real cause is.
There were a lot of times when we fought, the real cause was very different with what it looked like. I call this kind causes hidden marital problems or hidden marriage problems. I made mistakes that caused conflicts and quarrels between us by not realizing what the hidden problems were.
I was very frustrated every time when we quarreled. I did all kind of things you could think of, blaming to my wife, walking away, silent treatment…etc. However, there is one thing I never changed is that I never thought of giving us this marriage.
Find out how to discover the truth, identify lies and alleviate pain to help you rebuilding a more stronger, intimate marriage!
The three steps I’m sharing here is what I learned from my own experience of finding the hidden problems in my marriage and I hope you will find it useful if you are in the same boat. You may have different opinion with mine.
Here are 3 steps:
Step 1 – Dig for the root of your marital problems
You may heard of this advice many times or read from relationship books. What I’m talking about here is actually how you can dig out the real problems.
You know there are two different worlds we are facing, one is the outer world which is everything around us, and another one is the inner world which is our thoughts. The inner world and outer world can be very different at the same time.
There were times when I quarreled with my wife without intention. My inner world was thinking about the bad day I had at work or something else depressing, so I just simply reacted to my wife with the depression I had from my inner world. Guess what could happen when you are in such a mood? Anything could cause a fight. Even a nice dinner can turn out to a chaos.
Now, think about the fight you had recently with your spouse. What was the real cause from your side and also from your spouse’s side? Were there anything connected with the issue your were fighting for? There were a lot of fight caused by people’s mood. When people are in a bad mood, the trigger can be easily pulled.
One exercise you can do is to often stop what you are doing when you feel bad and observe your inner world. Ask yourself questions like: “Is it really that bad? Is it really worth to get angry with my partner?”
This is a very helpful exercise that I personally implemented. I shifted a lot of negative thoughts off which could potentially ruin our marriage. I like to quote what John Kehoe said about negatives, he said “Negatives only have power over you if you react to them.”
Step 2 – Tell your spouse how you feel
Don’t be afraid to tell your spouse how you feel about her behavior just because she may get angry with you. This sounds easy, but it took a lot of time for me to overcome this barrier. I use to be the man just keep my thoughts in my mind. I didn’t want to tell her how I really felt about her decisions or behaviors, because I didn’t want to cause any fights.
When she told me her ideas, I would not tell her how I felt if I didn’t like her idea. It turned out she complained about I never gave her advice or my ideas, and she felt like she was leading the relationship. On the other hand, I felt uncomfortable with her ideas and being led by her.
I gradually learned to speak up to her about what I really feel and things turned out to be better than I thought. I thought we would quarrel a lot if I told her I didn’t like her ideas, but we didn’t. She started to listen to my ideas and made adjustment if she thinks I was right.
If you have difficulties to speak up to your spouse, I suggest you to start with writing down your feelings. What you have to do is to get your spouse to write down 5 things she feels comfortable when you do and 5 things she feels uncomfortable when you do. You do the same thing and write it down.
Your can do it with paper or through email. Anyway, exchange your thoughts after you have done. Look at what your spouse is saying, try to do more of what she feels comfortable and make changes about what made your spouse uncomfortable.
I suggest you to write only 5 things in each category each time. Don’t write 30 things that she makes you feel uncomfortable. If you have more than 5, then keep the rest for next time.
We are all humans we can only take what we can take, if you suddenly give her a list of 30 things that make you feel uncomfortable, she is going to be overload with all negatives thoughts. She could feel like you are pouring all the junk into her. Don’t over do it, try 5 at a time and give each other some time to make adjustment.
If you find it’s hard to tell your partner what you are not comfortable about him/her, you may check out another post I shared about when to complain to your spouse without starting an argument.
Step 3 – Focus on you, not your spouse
I know you probably are thinking “why she isn’t making any changes? I already give her my list 5 days ago.” You need to understand that you can’t force to make her change and no one else can. Only when she realize if she doesn’t change she is going to lose something valuable, then she will change.
This comes down to human psychology. You may see some people changed after their spouses talked to them or fought with them. But it was not because of the talk and fight, it was because of themselves realized the problem and want to make changes to improve their relationship.
What you should focus on is yourself. And the key of making your relationship work is your attitude. Are you willing to make changes that you think will improve your relationship? I once noticed my belly weight was kind of turning my wife off. So I started a workout routine. As the reword, I was paid more than just got her attracted to me again. I got more confidence with good body shape and healthy lifestyle.
My wife and I worked a lot on our relationship and made a lot changes on ourselves to get what we have today as a happy married couple. I believe this is the effect we all have to make to improve our relationship. Don’t leave problems until it’s too big or too late to solve. It takes a lot of work to save your marriage as well as to maintain your marriage. That is part of our life.