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When your marriage problems feel unsolvable, it's easy to lose hope. Feeling trapped, alone and exhausted become your new normal. As an experienced marriage counselor, I want to remind you that there are solutions. True, there may not be an immediate solution for your spouse or your relationship.
But sometimes, hope can arrive in unexpected ways. As I reflect on how healing happens, I know it often comes from tiny sparks of inspiration during dark times. Even the Star-Spangled Banner was written in the wake of a dark and bloody battle.
What Can You Do to Solve Your Marriage Problems?
#1 Rethinking the problem, finding a solution within yourself
All marriages have problems but not all of them need to be fixed the way we initially think.
Sometimes, we need to learn how to accept things about our partner or our relationship that we don't necessarily like. In the past, there were several complaints I had with my husband. I saw them as big problems. Things like, he didn't believe in God, didn't earn as much money and didn't dress the way I wanted.
There are two ways to look at these types of problems.
Either you can see no immediate solutions or you can choose to find a solution within yourself.
[bctt tweet="Either you can see no solution or you can look for one."]
I started with the first one and got really upset over and over again. I tried my best to change my husband. To convince him to see things my way. I wanted him to read and learn and fix himself.
#2 Letting Go of What I Believed In
When that didn't work, I became willing to consider I was the one with the problem and not my husband.
This is where the spark of healing appeared.
#3 Shifting Something Within Yourself
Can you check in with yourself and determine if your problems can be solved by shifting something within yourself?
If you are critical, judgmental or controlling (aka nagging) you may be the culprit! It's important to know that just because your partner won't do something, doesn't mean they don't love you.
Consider your motive for wanting your partner to fix a problem.
In my case, I wanted my partner to think like me, agree with me and to teach our child to think like me and agree with me.
Thank goodness I saw the light and realized how controlling this was. I also wanted my husband to earn more money because I wanted it easier. It had nothing to do with how hard he worked or if he was a good partner.
What if the problem is bigger or more complicated?
Some of the most common unsolvable problems I encounter in my counseling practice are people who are not willing to admit or take responsibility for the damage they are causing to their relationship.
- Refusing to balance work/life,
- constant blame,
- difficult relationships with step-children,
- not communicating openly and honestly,
- not addressing chronic addiction or mental health problems,
- chronic selfishness,
- habitual criticism,
- verbal hostility,
- secrecy, and
- refusing to take care of physical health.
These are all things that threaten to interrupt partnership and teamwork.
#4 Decide if You Stay or Go
When my clients feel trapped in an unsolvable problem, I watch them wrestle with the "do I stay or do I go" question. It's hard to know when to say when.
Hope is vital to living our best life but sometimes hope gets more attention than self-love.
What do I mean by that?
Hope alone will not allow you to live peacefully and healthfully.
To remain in a painful relationship, we must prioritize our own emotional, physical and psychological needs. When you check in an examine how well you are caring for yourself, you will have more information to take your next steps.
It's true, bad things happen to good people.
That doesn't mean you deserve these marriage problems. It means it's time to accept that this is not turning out how you hoped.
Life doesn't always seem fair.
Perhaps it's time to shift your perspective.
Joseph Campbell a well-known literature professor once said famously: "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
I know you have fantasized about a different life waiting for you.
You cannot experience a different life if you aren't willing to change anything. And by now, you've already figured out you can't change your spouse.
So take your eyes off of your that seems like unsolvable marriage problems and refocus your attention on yourself.
#1 Bring Your House In Order
I'm not talking about your marital home. I'm talking about you. Focus on your physical, emotional and psychological dwelling.
It's impossible to see the light of hope if you are personally shrouded in darkness.
So take some action!
Do something that will help you find hope, a spark of healing and clarity in YOUR life.
#2 Do Something Different
When I am feeling stuck personally or professionally, I know it's time to do something different. This week, I was inspired to write for myself. I love writing and do it every week. But often, I am writing for you and not me 🙁
So, I grabbed a fresh journal and was enthralled with what surfaced. Almost immediately I felt more grounded peaceful and aware. There is something magical that happens between the brain, the pen and the paper. Many people resist journaling or writing. Typically it's because they are afraid to see what will show up.
Are you afraid to write or speak your truth?
I felt more grounded, peaceful and aware.
#3 Focus on What Inspires You
This week is an invitation for you to spend time focusing on what inspires you and doing it!
No bullshit and no excuses. If you can't seem to find your inspiration, notice if there is resistance. For instance:
- I'm fine,
- I can't,
- there's no time,
- this idea is crap, etc.
I dare you to look underneath the resistance.
Everything you need to heal from your marriage problems is inside of you. You have to find the courage to heal yourself first.
If you still need a nudge or some support, shoot me an email and I'll encourage your exploration!
“Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.” ~Oprah Winfrey
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