When there is constant conflict and negativity in your marriage it is very difficult to see yourself sticking around for the rest of your life, let alone another minute!! You start thinking about how you may have married the wrong person or this just isn’t for you anymore. Then you look at your young family and your baby and toddler, fear and guilt sets in and you find yourself in the same unhappy state year after year hoping things will get better.
What you must realize is that your marriage needs to grow because things have changed. Just like your partnership grew from dating it moved forward into marriage and grew into family life. Now your marriage needs to mature into a happy medium for the whole family. So should you leave your marriage? Yes you should leave this old, unhappy one and create a new one… with the same partner …What, you say?!?!
Conflict is an opportunity for growth and allows relationships to have a common target/ something to fight for or work on … what tends to happen, according to marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, is that couples turn away from each other to avoid pain and conflict with much blame going to the other partner. What couples need to know is that they need to discuss the uncomfortable, awkward things with honesty and effectiveness. That means Improving your skills in self awareness and how to express your frustrations and grievances without making your partner wrong or defensive and this can be very tricky but doable! How? There are communication rules.. 1. Stick with the facts 2. State only your feelings not judgements.. e.g “I feel lonely” instead of “I feel neglected” because “neglected” is a judgement.. 3. State a need you have…e.g. “I’m needing connection, closeness, security, safety, adventure, etc..” 4. Make a specific request of your partner. As the listener, attuning to your partner’s needs and learning how to say “no” lovingly, couples can each be empowered to turn things around very quickly.
You may be thinking it is premature to seek professional support because you may not be at the point that you’re really truly done with the marriage. Sooner than later is actually best! Research indicates that couples wait at least five years in conflict before seeking support but time makes it more and more challenging to tackle frustrations that have turned into resentments as time sets those habits and thinking more deeply into each partner. The earlier your marriage is supported by an effective professional the higher your chances for a long lasting and truly happy marriage where there is deep connection and fulfillment! So go ahead and leave what is unhappy about your marriage and revitalize the areas that need it.