We all know that marriage can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. The problem is, many get married thinking as long as we are compatible or share similar interests, we will be just fine. Reality tells another story. As counselors, we are taught how to help with these sticky situations but most of us have also had  our own experiences to draw from. And one thing rings true, we all know how hard it can actually be. We teach and learn that there are certain ingredients required to sustain a healthy and growth promoting marriage. So many things in our life are really out of our control, but how we choose to handle any given situation can either improve or degrade your circumstances.

Here are some simple tools that everyone needs to improve on. These simple tools will not only enhance your life in all aspects of relational living, but can help you become more self aware, responsible and accountable.

  1. Communication techniques
  2. Listening skills
  3. Honesty
  4. Vulnerability
  5.  Humility/ self awareness
  6. Willingness to be heard and hear
  7. Desire to come to a solution
  8. Acceptance
  9. Sometimes outside help or inward help through the Lord.
  10. Becoming assertive
  11. Establishing workable boundaries

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These all sound good but how do these tools really help? One thing I have learned personally and professionally is when a couple comes in and they are stuck on “he said she said,” both are unable to actively take responsibility for each persons hurts because their own hurts have not been validated. When we hold on to things and they build up like a cruddy sink drain, you will only end up with stinky stuff. So, both need to be in a place to give and receive. Most couples get stuck here. It is impossible to move forward when you haven’t been heard or at least understood. The change cycle cannot begin to spin until we are ready to take ownership.

Communication techniques allow each person to begin the process of discussing their pain in an objective and fair format. From here, incorporating the listening skills, sets the stage for each person to feel heard without feeling like they have to agree.     One step at a time folks.

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Being honest may seem really hard because the last thing you want to do is hurt each others feelings, or have to own up to  being a key player in things gone wrong. These feeling are normal and scary. Breaking free of this fear is the beginning to freedom, but it is hard work. Again many couples are stuck in the “he said, she said” phase because they never learned how to hear without formulating their next response or they don’t know how to use their voice from an assertive framework. When we aren’t free to speak honestly, or we are unable to see our circumstances openly, how can we take responsibility to change. Like Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you can’t acknowledge.”

Most couples with some extra help, can easily learn these basic techniques once they are introduced to them. I don’t think there are too many kids out there who grow up with a strong sense of how to communicate and  do healthy relationship. We are typically predictors of our upbringing until we choose to do different. It all comes down to wanting to take ownership of self and our behaviors.

From my perspective having a relationship with Christ can also destroy a marriage when both are not on the same page. Sometimes one will grow deeper in relationship to God and the other remains stagnant. Life is constantly changing whether we are aware or not, nothing stays the same for too long. To live from a God foundation, a kingdom perspective,  humbleness and/or desire to submit before God from his word and the Holy Spirits promptings is MANDATORY . I believe anyone is capable of complete change when they invite God in to reveal the dirty clogged stuff, most aren’t aware of or forgotten about. Most people live out of actions and reactions and many aren’t even aware that they are doing it. That is why learning self awareness is a huge step to actively effecting change. When humility is present, God has the freedom to come in and DO. Most of us, don’t experience true humility until our lives fall apart, and some still choose a victim stance instead of a proactive one. But those of us capable of seeing God’s Sovereignty for our lives and are able to grasped His love for each of us, individually, change is going to take form with lots of prayer, hard work, humility and endurance.

  What happens when you have been in a marriage that is one sided and you just can’t do it anymore?

For those religious types out there, everyone at one point has been forced to stay in a situation out of fear, shame or guilt. When a church or family expectation is condemning or unbending, most couples become so depressed within or learn how to compartmentalize their pain to STAY TOGETHER,  sadly at the expense of their own person hood. In turn you will feel a sense of void or disconnectedness and it always leads to internal decay or external vices and addictions.

Is this something GOD wants for us? Choosing to live for GOD in this world is hard enough and requires much growth in wisdom, knowledge and how to persevere from His strength. Choosing to live in obedience to God’s ways and his truths brings freedom . But most do not receive it because  they are unable or unwilling to acknowledge or surrender their personal brokenness. It is an act of choice, always. No one can take this from you.

These relationships can be very sticky and sometimes there are no fast solid rules. But what I do know is, if God becomes center and first, He will show you the way and it won’t be over night either. Sometimes people walk their way out of destructive marriages, but I can promise you, it will not be an easy ride. No matter how bad you think your spouse maybe, God has something for you to learn as well, ALWAYS! And in the end, if one chooses the hard but effective way in God, and is willing to get bruised up, regardless of the outcome, you will walk away free and whole in Christ.  NOTHING is better than that!

 

If any of this spoke to your circumstance or you are in need of some objective counsel, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with me.  321-536-0220. I know these things very well both from a personal journey of failed marriage to professionally in witnessing what ingredients are required to promote healing and restoration of broken marriages. Our outcomes are not our identities. Do not be afraid to choose change.

Blessings.

Amy C Choisser MS RMHCI NCC

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