What Do you do when your spouse is content with the way things are, but you are miserable?
It may depend on what you are fighting over. Sometimes, we argue over insignificant things in an attempt to mask a larger issue. Also, sometimes we can just be very critical, and in our negativity become demanding for change. It is important to determine beforehand whether the issue is your spouse, or within you.
In assessing the situation, we must also be honest with ourselves as to whether the source of the desire for change is a deal-breaker, or something (as annoying as it may be) that we can live with. If it’s something that we can live with, but is annoying, then we have to let it go. If it’s something major such as a person attacking your self-worth, then we need to do something about it.
Before you Give Ultimatums…
Before you utter the phrase, “You had better change, or else…”, you need to give your marriage the best possible chance for success. Did you…
- Sit your spouse down and have an honest conversation with them? Many times we complain about a series of issues that are tied to a larger problem. For instance, it’s not really about the socks left on the floor, but feeling like you are unappreciated. When we open a dialogue (without anger), we enter into an atmosphere with the potential to change. Anger places people on the defence, which means they are often closed to what you have to say. Also, good communication promotes intimacy.
- Have you told your spouse that this issue really bothers you and why? Sometimes we become angry at the person while having an attitude of, “Well, if you really knew me, you would know why I’m upset.” Hate to break it to you, but without a word of knowledge, your spouse has no idea why you are constantly nagging them. Also, when you explain the why, couples come into a deeper understanding and connection with one another. Sometimes it is our issue/insecurity, and your spouse can help you work through it.
- Have you developed a plan of action to deal with it? It’s not enough to tell someone that you don’t like a behaviour and they had better change. Sometimes we acknowledge a problem, but don’t know how to go about changing it. Additionally, sometimes we may not know how to behave to our partner’s satisfaction.
- Have you determined whether it’s them or you? I have heard of some individuals who have accused their spouse of flirting with the opposite sex when this has not been the case. The request came from an insecurity within them- a fear that they weren’t good enough, attractive enough, wealthy enough, intelligent enough etc. The insecurity manifested in jealousy which actually pushed their spouse away instead of drawing them closer.
- Have you given them ample time and opportunities? Change doesn’t happen overnight- it takes time. Just because you are at the end of your rope because you left things fester too long, you can’t demand that the other person fix things yesterday. It’s unrealistic, and is a set-up for failure- not to mention frustration. They also won’t get it right the first time… or the second or third, for that matter.
- Have you asked them if they are willing to change? Many spouses genuinely want to make their partner happy. No one wants their relationship to fail. Yet, there are situations in which the person sees no reason to change, or doesn’t see why they should change. Some behaviours are rooted in addiction, habit, or up-bringing. Change requires a new normal, and with someone not recognizing that there indeed is a problem, you may be banging your head against a wall.
Andrea Marino discusses whether a relationship wherein a spouse refuses to change is truly dead or still has a possibility for success. She will help you determine whether it may be best to separate for a time for your own mental well-being, or if things can be worked through.
Additionally, she gives couples words of encouragement over any situation.
It isn’t God’s desire that any marriage is over. However, sometimes change can be slow. Change also comes when someone recognizes there is an issue and takes responsibility for it. Without that acknowledgement, all we are left with is prayer that God reaches that person’s heart.
Reconciliation, in these cases, is sometimes possible. Just because you may have to part for a time, it doesn’t mean that the marriage is over. In dire circumstances, sometimes the other party really needs that wake-up call.
Is the relationship dead, possible, 50/50, or needing boundaries? We help navigate you through the process in our October issue coming out on September 26, 2019!