The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion in the majority of couple’s lives. However, most couples are unprepared for the demands of parenting. Every waking hour is spent feeding, changing, and tending to the needs of the baby. Parenting is challenging on your body and mind because you don’t have time to get proper sleep, eat healthy meals, exercise, socialize, or focus on keeping the home fires burning. Approximately two-thirds of couples see the quality of their relationship decline within three years of the birth of a child.
As children get older, the demands change to overseeing homework, and taking children to and from sports, ballet, music lessons, school functions, etc. You spend so much time taking care of their needs that it is easy to neglect your own. Yours and your partner’s needs take a backseat to the children. Don’t let the stress of parenthood destroy your marriage!
Get the proper amount of sleep.
Experts say that your body needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to function at its best. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are sluggish, irritable, and less effective. It will take you twice as long to do things, you are likely to make more mistakes, and you’re prone to getting into arguments without proper rest. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Since it can take a while for your mind to calm down enough to sleep, start setting the stage for bedtime by turning off the technology at least an hour before bedtime.
Share the workload.
Parenting and taking care of the household is tough to do alone. In today’s world, both parents may work outside the home or in a home office, or one may work while the other takes care of the household. Either way, both partners need to share the responsibility for the children and the household. AS an example, one partner may decide to take care of the cooking, laundry, and daytime childcare. The other partner may agree to take care of the outdoor maintenance, garbage, and nighttime childcare. Both of you may decide to share the household cleaning once per week. Carve out some time to sit and talk and come up with an equitable division that plays to your strengths.
Plan your calendar wisely.
There are so many competing demands for your time, that you need to become very protective of your time as a family and as partners. Don’t pack your calendar so tightly with activities and events that you neglect to leave time for yourself, your family time, and your marriage. Learn to say no to invitations for friends and relatives that take up too much time. If your kid’s activities are packing the daily schedule to tightly, learn to limit the activities. Schedule a block of time for yourself every day to exercise and just unwind. Your partner should do the same. Planning helps control the chaos and reduce the stress.
Prioritize your time with your spouse.
You need to make time to enjoy being with your spouse. This is the glue that holds your marriage together. Set aside time each day to sit alone together and talk about you and your marriage. This is not time to discuss your obligations, vent or spend time on your cellphones. This is time to enjoy getting to know each other better by communicating. Every marriage needs time for intimacy and romance. Schedule a date night once a week and treat that time as sacred. Get a babysitter and go out or put the kids to bed and have a quiet evening in.
Removing the stress from a marriage with children takes both of you planning and working together. The rewards, however, are worth the effort. Your kids will have parents that are fully there, you and your spouse will enjoy your family and your relationship, and you each can breathe a sigh of relief.
Despite the constant talk about work-life balance today, it remains elusive for too many families." The economy, the uncertainty of careers, make leaving work at the office is more difficult than it seems. Technology allows us to work virtually anywhere, and anyone can reach us at any time. Working at home is not a luxury, it has become a necessity for many. Working too much can have a negative impact on your marriage.
Every company and spouse value a hard worker. However, there is a difference between being a hard worker and being a workaholic. A workaholic is someone who works compulsively at the cost of sleep, health, and spending time with loved ones. They don’t just work hard; work consumes their life.
- They miss out on life events for work.
- They try to find ways to make more time for work.
- Hobbies and leisure are sacrificed due to work.
- The amount they work has negatively impacted their health.
- They find a way to work even if sick or injured.
- They rarely take vacations, and if they do, they still work while out of the office.
- They always bring work home with them.
- They find it hard to be "in the moment" because they are thinking about work.
In a workaholic marriage, everyone suffers. The workaholic experiences tendencies to entitlement, irritability, frequent physical ailments, angry outbursts, and constant guilt over their work habits. The workaholic’s spouse feels disconnected, abandoned, or estranged from their partner. The marriage lacks physical and emotional intimacy, communication, and togetherness. Sooner or later, something will snap and both partners will have to confront the issue.
If you or your spouse recognize signs of being overcommitted to work, you are putting your marriage in danger. Here is how to make a lifestyle change and turn things around before it's too late.
Communicate your feelings to your spouse. As your spouse is engrossed in their work, you are silently raging with resentment at always putting your needs on the back burner for the sake of his or her career. Sacrificing in silence will not change the situation. You need to have an honest conversation with your spouse. They may not be aware of how much they have neglected you and the family. Gently let them know how much you love them and need them to be present in your life instead of always at work.
Once you open the door to the issue, it allows you both to discuss how to solve the problem. Start with one or two small steps that could begin to make a difference and go from there.
Create a boundary between work and home life
Your work life can bring many benefits such as a sense of accomplishment, success, money, and recognition. However, no matter how good you are at your job, it will not bring you lasting peace, happiness, love, or comfort. People were created to need other people. When you develop a relationship with someone, you open yourself to them. You get to know them, and they get to know you. As time goes on and you become more involved with each other, love blossoms, intimacy occurs, and two become one. That sharing, communication, and building a life together is what gives life meaning.
Work is what makes your life outside of work possible. A healthy marriage and family life is possible because of the boundaries you set. Set a specific time that you will arrive at work and that you will leave work every day and stick to it. Learn to protect your family time. If your boss asks you to stay late, let him or her know that you have already made a prior commitment that you cannot break. Offer to come in early the next morning to attend to the project.
Establish Technology Free Zones.
The master bedroom should be set up to use for relaxing, cuddling, and sleeping. It should be a couple’s sanctuary. If you have an office set up in the bedroom, relocate it to a different part of the house. If you are a laptop or tablet fanatic, have a specific place that you use it and stick to that space. Don’t take your office with you everywhere you go, every minute of the day. You need to unplug to get rest, decompress, and focus on your family relationships.
Make your Spouse a Priority
Your career, your work, or your schedule should not be at the expense of your marriage. To have a great marriage, requires devotion of time, energy, communication, and intimacy. If you are consumed with work or your schedule, what is left for your spouse? If this sounds like you, you need to get back to investing some time in your marriage.
When you leave the office (whether is a home office or an out of the home office), put work out of your mind. Establish a weekly date night for “just the two of you.”
Set Aside Family Time
Gather as a family for meals and make it a rule that cell phones are turned off during your time together. To create and maintain a close bond, you need to spend time being completely present, talking with and enjoying your time with your family. If it’s been a while, start off by making an effort to connect. Ask about how their day went and share something about your day. Mealtime is an essential time to decompress from work and get back into family life.
Every couple struggles with finding the right balance between family life, couple’s time, work, and scheduled events. Talking about and sharing your struggles with your spouse brings you closer together and motivates you both to work at improving your life and marriage.
Talking about money does not come easily or naturally to most people. It is one of those “taboo” subjects that you don’t discuss in public. However, you don’t want to wait to talk to your spouse about money when the bills are piling up, and the checking account is empty. If you’re going to establish a strong foundation for your future together, you need to have the “money talk.”
Start small and casual.
Most people wait until a financial crisis to talk to their spouse about their finances. By then, stress and anger have built up, and you can resort to blaming or shaming your partner. It hurst your marriage when you personally attack your partner. Their defense mechanisms kick in. Instead of being able to talk about your finances, you are screaming and fighting.
Start talking about money when there is no crisis Think of it as planning for your financial future together.
- If we want your spouse to share with you freely, you must give them your undivided attention.
- Don’t lecture, discuss. Instead of talking at your partner, talk with your partner.
- Try to understand each other’s points of view. Ask questions and wait patiently for an answer.
- Pick the right time and place. Choose a time when you are less likely to be stressed out, exhausted, or engrossed in something else.
- Ease into the conversation slowly. Try one of these introductions.
- Bring up a money goal you are working on saving for, like a vacation. Ask your spouse what money goals they have.
- Find an article about couples and finances and share it with your spouse. Bring it up later and discuss what each of you thought of it.
- Look into Personal Finance classes at a community college and suggest that you and your spouse attend together.
Don’t keep secrets
Honesty is essential in any relationship. Make sure you and your partner share your credit history, debt liabilities, and other obligations. Don’t hide your purchases from your spouse. Don’t keep hidden bank accounts. If you don’t discuss such things, you can never truly develop a strong foundation from which to build on. Tell the truth and be open when it comes to money.
If you both are open about your financial struggles, you can put your heads together to find a strategy to address them. Struggles could include:
Since both people have disclosed personal money-related information, it can make each of you feel less vulnerable and create a more level playing field when you put it all out there. Both people may feel an emotional connection by opening up with personal and private information.
Create a financial plan
Both partners should look at the joint financial picture in black and white. How much Money do you have coming in each month? What debts do You have? What are your major expenses? Have you started saving?
Who currently manages the budget, pays the bills, or organizes the finances in your household? Many individuals wrongfully assume the other party in the relationship is willing or able to handle all these responsibilities. It doesn’t matter who manages these tasks or how you divide the duties. What matters is that do it.
Once you have created a Financial Budget and a way to pay off debts, set dates to track how you are doing.
Establish Goals Together
What goals do you have for your future? Perhaps you’d like to travel, change careers, start a business, own a new home, continue your education, or start a family. Whatever your dreams are, be sure to establish a financial plan for them with your partner. Use one of your money dates to jot down some goals and ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Money goals could include saving for:
- A home
- Home renovations
- A new car
- A cruise
Whatever your goals are, they start with an open conversation and a solid plan.
Set Regular Money dates
Schedule a “money date” once or twice a month to discuss your financial situation, review your budget, and discuss upcoming priorities. You should pleasantly surprised at your progress toward realizing your goals. By taking an hour here and there to check your progress and proactively address potential issues, you are building a solid marital bond to last a lifetime.
Having children is one of the biggest joys in a couple’s life. Long before that bundle of joy comes into the world…the spending begins. Nursery decorating can be such a bonding experience for a young couple as they pick out paint colors, furniture, blankets, sheets, mobiles, baby monitors, clothing, car seats, bath accessories, etc. While children bring many happy moments of love, they also require a long-list of child-related expenses. Out of control child-related spending can unravel even the best of marriages.
According to a U.S. News & World Report, the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 in the U.S. in 2021 was $267,000, or more than $14,800 per year. Every parent wants their child to have the best of everything. However, some can go completely over the top in buying their child the newest and latest toys and clothes, hosting the best celebrations, and insisting on the top of the line everything for their child. Before you know it, you are overextended and stressed out over how to pay the stack of credit card bills. The average American family had $6,270 in credit card debt in 2021.
Credit cards, loans, buy now and pay later deals are NOT free money! Eventually, those cards, loans, and deals will come due, and you will need to come up with the money to pay them off. A recent survey of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts revealed that 22% of marriages end in divorce because of money issues. The good news is that there are steps you can take now to get out from under that debt and get your family spending under control.
Before any financial plan can be made to get out of debt, you will both need to be willing to do some work to understand where you want to be, where you are, and how you got there.
- Make a Financial Date.
Make a date with your spouse to discuss the family finances and financial goals. Approach the matter in a positive light.
“Honey, I feel like we have not really determined our long-term goals for ourselves and our family. I would like to set aside some time to talk about our future. What is a good day, time for us to do that?”
Notice that there is no anger in this statement. There is no blame. There is no pushiness or nagging. You married you spouse because you love them and want to spend the rest of your life with them. Now that you are married and have children, you simply want to discuss your future together. To do that, you need to start the discussion with “where do you want to go?”
- Remember and Share Your Dreams.
Remember when you were dating? I will bet that you spend hours talking about what you each wanted to do with your lives. Did you want to get an advanced degree? Did you want a house in the country or the city? Did you imagine beautiful family vacations in the mountains, or at the beach? What do you think your retirement will look like?
Spend some time talking about the things you really want out of your lives and write them down. By sharing goals, you are identifying the things that you feel are worth working and saving toward. Agree to have another financial date to talk about how you feel about money and set that date.
- Identify Your Financial Personality
In your next financial date, each of you should try to identify how you feel about money. Many marital fights about money occur because both spouses have completely opposite views about money. One spouse may spend for quality items without giving much thought to the budget or future goals. The other spouse may rein in their wants, try to control the budget, and focus on saving money for the future.
The saver might feel resentment over the effects of the uncontrolled spending of the spending spouse. The spender might be exasperated with the saving spouse’s constant nagging and lack of appreciation for the finer things of life for their children. Which one are you? Discuss how you feel with your spouse calmly and without anger. Agree to have another financial date to determine the state of your own finances.
- Find out what your financial status is.
You will each need to prepare ahead for this next financial date. Each spouse needs to make a list of their sources of income such as paychecks, alimony checks, investment dividends, or other. One spouse needs to gather the last 6 months of bank statements and the check register or online banking transaction register. The other spouse should gather the last 6 months of investment or savings account statements. Print off this simple budgeting sheet or copy it onto a piece of paper.
When you sit down for your next financial date, together you will fill out the budgeting worksheet by listing all your income and expenses and subtracting the total expenses from your total income. You now both now exactly where you stand financially and can discuss your feelings about it. Please do not “blame” or react in anger because they will only drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Instead focus on whether you suspected the results of the budgeting exercise or were surprised by it. How do the results affect your long-term goals? Agree to have another financial date to talk about how you can change those results by reducing expenses.
Every married couple must learn to work together continuously to solve their problems. Money problems are some of the biggest problems you will face. The key is to learn to face your problems together as a team and learn to communicate with each other about the “hard stuff.” While you want to solve the issue, you also want to preserve the bond of love and happiness in your marriage. Get started on the road to a stronger relationship with a free trial to some of the best exercises and tools used by professional marriage counselors.
Money problems in marriage arise from imbalances in power, decision-making, and transparency. They often happen when spouses have a large inequity in their earning power. The spouse with the most income or wealth often expects to dictate the family’s spending priorities.
Power plays can occur in one of these instances:
- One partner has a paid job, and the other doesn't.
- Both partners would like to be working, but one is unemployed.
- One spouse earns considerably more than the other.
- One partner comes from a family that has money and the other doesn't.
When one or more of these situations is present, the spouse who makes or has the most money often wants to dictate and control the couple's spending. The power control can manifest itself in numerous ways that are destructive to the relationship.
- One Spouse controls all the finances, doling out money to the other spouse only after being convinced that it’s use is sensible. In marriage, one spouse dominating another does not usually lead to a loving and intimate relationship.
- One Spouse makes all the financial decisions without consulting the other spouse. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. If one spouse controls the decision making, the other spouse has no voice in the marriage.
- One Spouse balances the checkbook, invests the family’s money, and controls the checkbook and safety deposit box. One spouse could conceivably make bad investments, overextend the family in debt, or make large withdrawals for purchases the other spouse would not approve of.
Few things build resentment more quickly than feeling marginalized, powerless, and kept in the dark by your spouse. Power play issues can get ugly fast and are a predictor of divorce. Some studies also indicate that infidelity is correlated with disparity in earning power.
Income and resource disparities are de-stabilizing for couples. Resentment and fights about money seep into every aspect of your married life. It divides you, breaks down the trust in your relationship, prevents intimacy, and can negatively affect your health.
How to End the Money Power Play
- Have an open and frank discussion about your feelings about how the family finances are managed.
No problem can be resolved if you both do not communicate and address the problem. Each of you has a perspective on your finances and you need to get that out in the open. Approach the discussion with an “I” statement rather than a “You” statement.
“I feel that I do not have much input into….”
“You never discuss financial things with me…”
The “I feel...” statement is non-threatening, whereas the “You never discuss…” statement immediately puts your spouse on the defensive.
Have empathy for your spouse.
If you are the larger income earner or the wealthier of spouses, you need to be sensitive about how you throw your weight around. Try to reverse roles and imagine how you would feel in your spouse’s shoes.
Share a joint bank account that each has access to.
Relieve financial stress and resentment in your marriage by being open about your spending and the amounts in your financial accounts. You are building your finances to prepare for a happy lifetime together, so both should be part of that building.
Make important spending decisions together.
Many spouses set a spending threshold, say $200.00, that require both to talk about before spending that amount or above. It is a way of keeping your finances on track and trusting your partner.
Sometimes the higher-earning spouse will delegate all the routine spending decisions to their lower-earning, or non-earning partners. This is a way of showing respect for your spouse and assuring them a role in decision making.
Build a Future Vision for Your Finances Together
Talking about your dreams for the future can help take the animosity out of dealing with your money. It also gives you a reason to do budget checkups regularly so you can each see your progress toward your goals.
“Honey, remember we are saving up for a house, so is this really a good time for that purchase?”
“Oh, sweetie, we almost have enough for a down payment!”
Working through your financial issues in a healthy way preserves the love in your relationship. It takes a lot of security and maturity to give up power, but if have an abundance of trust in your partner, it can work for you. Sharing power fosters a sense of togetherness and increases the intimacy bond in your marriage.
One of the biggest financial issues that can negatively impact a marriage is how each spouse handles and views money. Each spouse may have different views of money, one spouse may primarily seek to save money for a rainy day, and another could have a spending fetish.
It’s very difficult for partners who view money, saving, and spending in fundamentally conflicting ways to manage household finances successfully as a team. This type of conflict will typically raise trust and intimacy issues in the relationship. After your last fight over money with your spouse, did you spend time kissing, cuddling, and getting passionate? Probably not. Money issues can eventually cause resentment and a lack of desire for intimacy, paralyzing your relationship.
Two big issues that can destroy a marriage are:
- Who does the money belong to?
Very few people talk about finances before they are married, so it is easy to get into problems when each spouse has a different view of who us entitled to the marital money. Some spouses pool their money into a joint account and treat it as a joint asset by splitting expenses down the middle. However, in another marriage, one spouse may believe that since they bring in the lion’s share of the earnings, the money belongs to them. In that case, they may become controlling and insist on keeping track of the finances themselves and require the other spouse to seek their approval before spending any money.
- How’s your credit?
One spouse may be perfectly comfortable using credit cards and taking out loans. Another spouse may be very wary of using credit. Do you know your partner’s credit score? knowing your partner’s credit score provides some insight into your partner’s past financial decisions. Money is a common source of stress in a marriage, so it is helpful to know how your partner has handled money in the past. It is not unusual for a spouse to find out after the marriage that their wife or husband has a run up a lot of debt and has a poor credit score.
While marriage does not automatically make one spouse responsible for another spouse’s debts, it can cause problems for the future. If you jointly apply for a credit card or a loan to purchase a house or car, the lender will consider both credit scores and, chances are, the poor credit score will result in higher interest rates and fees than if both credit scores were high.
How to Reconcile Financial Issues in Your Marriage
Financial compatibility is rarely discussed before a couple makes a long-term commitment.
However, money issues are one of the top 5 reasons for divorce. Here are three steps to take to begin reconciling your financial issues.
Don’t Play the Blame Game.
Many partners, rather than working together, start to place blame on the other person. This creates discord and resentment in the relationship. It will be impossible to fix your financial issues if you are bickering, blaming, and fighting.
Gently break the ice on a conversation with your spouse about money.
Talking about money is stressful for most people. It makes them uncomfortable and defensive. To minimize and prevent “money fights”, start off trying to understand each other’s financial priorities and dreams for your future together.
- What two dreams do you have for our life together?
- What dreams do you have for your own future?
- If you could splurge on one thing, what would it be?
Talk openly about ideas to make your dreams come true.
Once you have some positive dreams to work toward, you can talk about how you’ll get there. You and your partner need to agree to review your current finances together and make a specific plan to save for your future together.
- Do you know how much money you have?
- Do you know how much money you owe?
- What do you do with any excess left over?
Commit to meet and communicate regularly about your finances.
Working together and communicating openly about how to use, keep track of, and manage your money will help you avoid the “money fights.”
- How can we pay down our debt and curb expenses?
- How will we keep track of our money?
- Do we know how to invest our money to make it grow for the future?
As you plan regularly and share your dreams, you will be strengthening the bond of your marriage and enjoy the priceless love in your marriage.
Marriage is challenging for most couples. Blending your individual values, goals, and dreams with someone else requires hard work and patience. When you encounter problems, you must work with your spouse to work through those problems. Sometimes the process of working through those problems creates disappointment, conflict, and feelings of resentment, hurt, or anger. Over time, it is not uncommon for you to feel like:
- You have grown apart. Most partners experience times when they don’t feel particularly close. However, when you feel like you and your spouse do not spend much time together, you are rarely intimate, you don’t function as a team anymore, or you have little to say to one another, your marriage is in trouble. People are born to need other people. You and your spouse cannot continue together unconnected.
- You keep having the same fights over and over without any resolution. Every couple argues from time to time. However, if you feel like everything you do results in criticism or arguments with your spouse, something is not working in the marriage. Eventually one or both spouses just give up trying to talk about anything with their spouse. They disengage, leave the room or the house, avoid their spouse, or do whatever they can to shut out the fighting. Both partners are left angry and closed off. A marriage cannot continue in this state.
When you see these signs of trouble in your marriage, it is time to take action to restore your marriage. Here are the most common sources of conflict in Marriage and actions you and your spouse can take to improve your marriage.
Children are a gift and can add meaning to a couple’s life. However, Children also take a large time commitment which can detract from your time as a couple. A significant amount of stress is added to the relationship with you have children. Childcare creates demands on the mother, particularly when children are young. Couples have less time to spend together and less energy to devote to intimacy. Parents make sacrifices of the time, their finances, their leisure opportunities, and self-care to take care of children. The demands and stress can suck the romance out of the relationship.
Both spouses must pull together and work as a team. Coming up with a fair distribution of the childcare workload and talking over parenting issues regularly can help keep stress at bay. Planning for sitters and alone time will help keep the spark alive in your romantic life. Create an emotional support system with other couple with children and family members where you can talk about parenting and marriage. Take care of yourselves by eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, setting aside time to exercise and play. Work together and find help whenever possible to create balance in your lives.
Healthy communication is the foundation for a successful, long-lasting marriage. Couples who don’t consider the long-term effects of their words may start bickering, arguing, or barely speaking at all. A lack of communication is another sign that your marriage is in trouble.
It’s important for couples to make the effort to maintain clear channels of communication. Both spouses should commit to unplug and discuss any issues in the marriage. Try to avoid criticism and judgmental statements during discussions. Use the “I“ statements such as “I feel this when …” This helps both spouses feel comfortable speaking freely, without fear of repercussions. Once an issue is settled, try to let bygones be bygones and avoid bringing up the past. Being able to talk to your partner means that you'll be able to share your worries, show support for one another, and work together to handle conflict more effectively. When you actively listen to and communicate with your partner, you both will feel valued and loved.
LACK OF INTIMACY
A couple’s sex life may ebb and flow over the years for any number of reasons: physical or mental health issues, having kids, stress, relationship problems or sleep issues. Keeping the romance and sexual sparks going requires consistent effort. If you don’t keep that connection, the sexual dry spells will last longer and longer. It will leave one or both partners feeling unwanted, disconnected, and unloved.
The best way to get back in the saddle is to honestly discuss the issue with your partner. Make regular date nights. Flirt with each other and reach out with thoughtful gestures. Try going to bed at the same time. Engage in playful hugging, kissing, and touching each other outside of the bedroom. It might feel awkward initially, but you need to reorient yourselves to each other’s body. Take it slow and try not to build up your expectations too soon.
Nothing can create problems in a marriage faster than money. If you are opening a joint account or handling your finances separately, you are bound to encounter financial problems in your marriage such as job loss or debt. A difference in opinion about saving and spending habits can create tension. Problems can also arise due to a drastic difference in income between spouses. When one person makes more money than the other, they may start to feel resentful about the hours they put in at work. They may also start to think they have more “right” to the money and can spend it however they want.
Finances are a sensitive topic, and couples should carefully discuss these problems openly. Try to come up with a budget and a savings plan that meets your shared financial goals. If someone deviates from the plan, discuss the issue openly and be willing to make compromises. If might be beneficial to talk to a financial advisor to help get back on track.
There are a host daily, weekly, and monthly chores and projects necessary to keep the home running and your job priorities met. If you aren’t working together, it is easy to fall into the resentment trap. You may feel underappreciated and overworked. Then the stress begins to pile up and anger builds. Before long, you are arguing about who does more or who doesn’t do their share.
Negotiating how to balance the responsibility of earning a living, maintaining home chores and projects, along with raising a family, and keeping your relationship strong requires teamwork and planning. Work together to draw up a plan of who will do what according to strengths and availability. Those things that can be done together as a couple or a family can be turned into fun ways to work side by side.
Learning to turn toward your partner, communicate openly, and keep the romance alive will help you and your spouse weather the challenges and stresses and improve your marriage bond.
Life is full of ups and downs. As often as life brings happy moments, it can deal out disappointments. Everyone is wired differently. Some people are flexible and open. They can “go with the flow” and maintain healthy relationships. Others can be somewhat rigid and closed. They may have difficulty navigating fluctuating circumstances.
In most relationships, especially ones that are longstanding or close, there are going to be differences, arguments and hurt feelings. Most times, people try to work through the rough patches, apologize and forgive, and then move past the issue. But sometimes a relationship gets stuck in a hurtful place and a grudge develops.
A grudge is a longstanding feeling of disappointment, resentment or anger toward another person which interferes with trust and openness in a relationship. Most grudges stem from an inability to express anger directly to a person who has been hurtful or unkind.
How to Handle a Grudge
If you have done something to hurt your spouse, you need to apologize sincerely. Try to understand why what you did was hurtful to your spouse. Acknowledge that you hurt them and ask for their forgiveness. This lets your spouse know that you are taking ownership of what you did and acknowledging your regret for causing them pain.
When you have hurt your spouse, you need to reassure them of your love for them. If you do not understand why they were hurt by what you said or did, you need to gently reassure your spouse that you love them and never meant to hurt them. Ask them to talk to you about their feelings and give them a chance to talk through their hurt.
Don’t expect forgiveness. Depending on what was said or done, you may have to be patient and give your spouse time to work through their pain. Forgiveness often takes time. Be patient and gently remind them that you care.
How to let go of a Grudge
In a marriage, when your spouse does something that hurts you deeply, you must eventually make a choice. Either turn inward and away from your spouse and hold on to that anger and hurt or find a way to move past it and forgive your spouse.
Holding a grudge does not hurt your spouse. It hurts you. Holding a grudge does not make you strong, it makes you bitter. By holding onto your anger at being hurt or betrayed, you are choosing to play the victim.
Holding a grudge is unhealthy and stands between you and intimacy with your spouse. You are choosing to shut your spouse out of your life. If you choose to continue to hold the grudge, you risk losing a deeply meaningful relationship in your life—your marriage.
Try to remember all the reasons you married your spouse and forgive them.
Forgiveness does not mean what happened was OK. The process of forgiveness is learning to let it go and move on.
Forgiveness is not given because your spouse deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness simply means that you are putting your grudge against the other person to rest.
Forgiveness does not make you weak, it sets you free.
Forgiveness is not for the benefit of your spouse. Forgiveness is for you because you deserve peace. Forgiveness frees you from negative thoughts about your spouse and makes room in your life for happiness.
Your marriage is tested when you go through a rough patch and come out the other side. Because you choose to work it out together rather than just give up, your marriage will likely be stronger, and you will regain the love and happiness that brought you together in the first place.
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