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Finding Common Ground In Your Marriage

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Remember when you were dating and couldn't wait to spend time together? In those days, you both had so many things in commo n. You were drawn to the same types of activities. Many Sunday afternoons, you would spend hours just talking about things you were going to do someday and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Now that you have been married for several years, it may seem like you have drifted apart. You might not share many things or have the same interests in common anymore. You probably can't remember the last time you spent hours together just talking. What happened?

How do couples go from being so in tune to entirely out of sync?

When couples are out of sync, they may not be speaking the same love language. We all use "languages" to express our love for those we are close to, such as affirming words, quality time, touch, doing acts of service, and gift giving or receiving. Looking at these areas, you can see how you and your partner match or differ, which may cause gaps in relating. Learning to communicate in your partner's love language will feel more natural as you practice.

There are many reasons why relationships don't endure.

 Research suggests that the main reasons relationships fail are losing trust and intimacy, communication issues, lacking respect, and having different priorities, which lead to neglecting to spend quality time together. Relationships composed of lying, jealousy, and infidelity are centered on mistrust, an insecure foundation that makes it hard to endure. When you can't find a compromise or be able to stay on one path together, your relationship will suffer.

Six Steps to Finding Your Common Ground Again.

1.    Acknowledge how you are feeling to your partner. Communicate.

Gently let your partner know how you are feeling and that you don't feel as close to them as you once were. Ask if there is anything that can help you bond together again, and try to open up a conversation that allows both partners to share their issues.

2.    Recognize Your Partner's Emotional Needs. Recommit to your Partner.

Everyone needs to feel loved, safe with and desired by their partner. Couples often mindlessly ignore each other's emotional needs. To feel more connected with your partner, learn to recognize the importance of opportunities to connect positively rather than criticize, be romantic, give praise or help out. These moments are essential to building trust and intimacy in your relationship.

3.    Schedule a date night once per week.

 Prioritize date nights by doing something you enjoy and having quality time together to deepen your emotional connection. Talk and share as you used to do when you were dating. It's important not to forget that you still have fun together.

4.    If You Think You Know What Your Partner is Feeling or Thinking, Don't Assume. Ask.

It is wise not to assume your partner's thoughts and feelings but to ask and create an atmosphere for open and honest sharing. Are you aware of your partner's worries, stresses, hopes, aspirations, and goals? Using the following keys to get to know your spouse better and share your inner self is a lifelong process.

  1. Ask questions
  2. Remember the answers
  3. Keep asking questions

5.    Learn to Accept Your Partner, Warts, and all.

We all have personality flaws. Rather than focus on your partner's inadequacies, learn to accept them and express what you cherish about them. Try to use appreciation over criticism; your partner will feel an emotional connection. Often, the seemingly insignificant moments of unity are the most significant.

6.    Turn back toward your Partner. Respond to their cues for attention.

Bids for attention are attempts to connect with our partners and can be verbal or nonverbal. If we respond favorably to these bids, they will feel appreciated, acknowledged, and given affection. How we respond to these bids for attention in our relationships is critical. Research has found that couples whose marriages endured frequently turned towards each other and created closeness and responsiveness, thus making connections.

 One thing that prevents couples from breaking up is to hold your partner in high esteem and provide emotional, psychological, and physical intimacy for each other. The partners in these relationships effectively deal with conflict and give their partners the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes you feel out of sync with your partner, but it doesn't always mean you have fallen out of love. It simply means that communication issues may undermine feelings of intimacy and connection with each other, even in our closest relationships. No relationship is perfect, but if your difficult moments outweigh the good ones, it is time to evaluate your relationship.

If you want to work on your relationship, download Marriage in a Box's eBook "Marriage: Fix it or Leave It" by Maria Sappe, LMFT. Marriage In a Box is also a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site.

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