Love isn’t supposed to hurt, but unfortunately, we often end up hurting the people closest to us the most. Anyone who believes that having a healthy and positive marriage is easy is misguided. It takes hard work, year after year, to have a healthy and lasting relationship. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but a healthy marriage should involve good feelings, nurturing behavior, and two people that are strongly committed to making the relationship work through good and bad times.
Signs of a Dysfunctional Relationship and What to Do
- Before marriage we see our relationship through rose-colored glasses and feel as though nothing can ever go wrong, but soon after the blessed union, couples tend to clash. Different views on finances, childbearing, gender roles, and unmet expectations often result in frequent arguing. Constantly arguing over small stuff and the same things can negatively affect your health and certainly your relationship. Most couples argue – the goal is to learn how to argue fairly and not make it your mission to win. Remember, the happiness of the person you are arguing with is very important to you. Stay calm and try to get to the root of the matter. What is fueling the argument? What needs aren’t being met? Usually, a fight about the dishes in the sink isn’t really about dirty dishes but is about feeling unappreciated or taken for granted. Try to come up with solutions that work for both of you.
- Controlling behavior is another sign of a dysfunctional relationship. Marriage is a partnership and not a child-parent relationship. Controlling behavior can isn’t impossible, but you need to acknowledge that the world does not revolve around you and realize that perfection doesn’t exist. Learn to accept the things in your life that you can’t control and (I hate to break it to you) that is everything except your actions and reactions.
- Trust is a vital component of a successful marriage. Without trust, it is nearly impossible to have a healthy marriage. Trust issues can lead to many problems such as jealousy and abuse. Trust can take a long time to build but mere moments to destroy. To gain or establish trust, learn to work with your spouse, fight fair, don’t go to bed mad, take responsibility for your actions, express your needs/wants, be a good listener and communicate effectively.
Relationships, much like the economy, go in cycles and there are times when stress, busyness, health issues, work, child rearing and a host of other issues can interfere with any marriage. Recognize that you are simply in a downtime and ride it out. The upswing might be just around the corner. Make your marriage a priority and do whatever is necessary to resolve issues before they get out of hand.