There is a diet for everything these days, isn’t there? Now there is one for your marriage. It is easy to follow but, like every diet, will take work to implement. Many couples want a quick fix.
“How long will it take to fix this?”
How long has it taken you to get where you are at? It takes years to form relational patterns, in and outside of a romantic relationship. You have your individual childhood histories that play a part in all of your present day interactions AND you have also created new ways of interacting with each other by blending those backgrounds into new ways of relating. It will take as long as it takes.
Your first prescription is to move from unintentional to intentional communication.
People all over the place parent, work and exercise without intention. It’s kind of a crap-shoot; if what they are doing works out, great, if not, boo-hoo. This might be what you have been doing, that’s okay, you are already gaining control over your future by reading this. You know something the rest doesn’t know:
You have more control than you think you do.
The “C” word is not a bad word. Think of being in control in your relationship not as a battle for power but as a lifestyle change towards intentionality, a step towards steering your relationship in a healthy direction. There are a ton of books out on the market that you can read that teach the concept of living intentionally.
Intentional living gives you control over your life to steer you and your partner towards happiness.
The rest of your diet plan includes looking at your relational patterns and pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses. The top weaknesses in relationships that can hurt instead of help include (Physical abuse is not included because it is outside the scope of this article requires immediate help. If you are being abused call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. ALIVE is a great organization in Saint Louis that can provide confidential help as well.):
- Name calling
- Fighting in front of the kids
- Pitting kids against the other parent
- Drug/Alcohol abuse
- Involving other people
- Social media
- Confiding in a “friend” of the opposite sex
After you pin point what weaknesses are to be eliminated from your relationship, immediately decide what you will replace these behaviors with.
If you have ever been on a diet plan you know that a replacement behavior is vital for success. Imagine, you are standing in front of your partner and your first instinct is to call them a name. What do you do?
- Recognize your feelings in your own mind
- Reflect theirs to them verbally and communicate yours
Always stop and think before you act.
Humans have a tendency to be on their best behavior with those they don’t know instead of the people they love the most. Remember to treat the person you married like someone you want to be best friends with your whole life.
Remember to stop, think and ask yourself:
Is what I am about to do helping or hurting our relationship?
The answer to this question alone will help save you and your family a lot of suffering.