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  • Wendy Godfrey
  • April 17, 2018 06:45:15 PM
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A Little About Us

We offer Intensive Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats for couples and marriage in crisis. Our Retreats are down-in-the-trenches 3-5 day events aimed at completely restoring a marriage that is in crisis. We also offer 2 day retreats for individuals who have not been successful in convincing the other spouse to attend a retreat with them.

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How to Recover After a Bad Fight

How to Recover After a Bad Fight “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is a quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” ~Ann Landers After a nasty fight, you may feel angry, upset, […]The post How to Recover After a Bad Fight appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats....

How to Recover After a Bad Fight

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is a quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

~Ann Landers

After a nasty fight, you may feel angry, upset, confused, frustrated, and/or betrayed. As a result, you may feel like it will be impossible to personally recover from the fight, and even more impossible to repair the damage to your relationship. But, guess what? Every couple has arguments from time-to-time. Why? Well, mainly because you aren’t clones of each other. You are, however, unique human beings, who have had individualized experiences, from childhood until now.

Understand that it may require extra effort to regain the homeostasis (balance) in your relationship and the romance and cuddle factors may go AWOL for a while, but you can definitely recover from the fight – if you want to save your relationship.

The key to recovering from a bad fight is to fight fairly and be respectful towards one another. If you’ve recently had a knock-down-drag-out-fight, and feel like you’ll never recover from it – keep reading because this article will give you some valuable pointers on how to “bounce back” from a big “blowout” with your partner.

Listed below are ways you can recover after a bad fight:

1. Give Each Other Space

It is common to want to “hash things out” during a bad fight, even if the other person needs some space. Don’t “pigeon-hold” your partner, because you want to resolve the issue. Why not? Because, it may cause irreparable damage to your relationship. In other words, your partner may view your attempt to “make things better” as being “pushy.” Take a minute and allow your partner to do the same.

You need time to process what happened – i.e. why you are arguing and how you can compromise or resolve the issue. In other words, you need time to “relax, relate, and release,” before you can calmly and rationally discuss the issue or issues-at-hand. In other words, you need time to recover and heal from the fight, before addressing what occurred with your partner.  The worst thing you can do for yourself and your partner is force the issue, when you’re both angry and upset. This will only lead to a disaster.

What if my partner needs space, but I don’t? Give him or her space anyway. It can be upsetting when your partner tells you he or she needs space, especially when you don’t feel that way. But, being too clingy, pushy, or demanding can push your partner even farther away from you.  And, although being in close proximity, during or after a fight may make you feel better, it could be more confusing and upsetting to your partner.

It could even cause him or her to look at you and your relationship differently. You and your partner need time to think things through and decide your next steps. You can’t do that if you cloistered (confined) together. So, take an adult time-out and process how you are feeling. Don’t take it personally and understand that your partner may need this “pause” to collect himself or herself, so he or she doesn’t say something he or she will later regret. Revisit the conversation at a later date and take this time to cool down.

2. Don’t Be Defensive

Another way to recover from a bad fight is to refrain from being defensive. In other words, don’t try to defend yourself, as a way to justify your own behaviors. Rather, listen to what your partner has to say – without interrupting him or her. If you continuously interrupt your partner to defend your actions, it will only keep the fight going, escalate it, and damage your relationship further.

What should you do? Acknowledge and accept your partner’s feelings and the role you played in the current situation. Don’t automatically assume your partner is trying to “attack” you, because they may not be the case. It’s hard to hear the truth sometimes – I get that, however, it is important that you *hear* what your partner is trying to tell you, because it’s important.

But, guess what? You can’t *hear* your partner’s message, if all of your energy is directed at defending yourself. So, as hard as it may be, don’t defend yourself – during or after a bad fight. Listen and make the necessary changes in your mindset, attitude, and behavior.

Note: If you feel like you need to explain why you did this or that – do it later. In other words, shed light on why you did what you did (or did not do) once cooler heads have prevailed.

3. Take Responsibility

As mentioned briefly above, a good way to recover from a bad fight is to take responsibility for your own actions. It’s hard to look at oneself and point out errors, mistakes, and “bad behavior,” but it is crucial to do just that, if you want to heal and recover from that nasty tiff with your partner.  Questions like, “What role did you play in the fight?” “What led up to the fight?” and, “How can you work together to recover from the fight?” are important for “bouncing back” from an especially difficult argument and preserving your relationship.

So, how can you take responsibility for your own actions? By acknowledging and apologizing for something you said or did (or didn’t say or didn’t do) that was hurtful, disrespectful, rude, careless, and/or spiteful – especially if you went off on him or her without thinking before speaking, or you went off “half-cocked” (without all of the information). No one likes people who are always blaming someone or something else, even when they are at fault.

Take responsibility for your behaviors by admitting that you’ve been taking your frustration, mental and physical fatigue, stress, and personal issues out on your partner. Explain that these “things” have been causing you to behave out of character and/or take him or her for granted. In other words, be accountable for your words and actions – without unfairly blaming your partner for things he or she probably didn’t say or do.

For example, you could something like this, “I know I’ve been working a lot of hours lately, and haven’t had much time to connect with you. I also realize that I’ve been crankier than normal due to this work stress, and you’ve received the brunt of my angst. I just want to say I’m sorry for my part in the argument. You aren’t to blame for the things I did. I’m tired and frustrated, but that doesn’t take away from how much I love you. I’ll try to do better from now on by taking warm baths to de-stress once I get home, so I can spend more quality time with you in the evening and on the weekends.”

4. Control Your Emotions & Actions

One of the most effective ways to recover from a nasty spat with your partner is to control your emotions and actions. In other words, don’t say (or do) anything during or after the argument that you’re likely to regret later. Think before you talk and act. And, be mindful of the power of your emotions, words, and behaviors. If you say or do something hurtful, there is chance you and your relationship won’t recover from your words and/or actions.

So, when you feel your emotions spinning out-of-control, stop. More specifically, remove yourself from the situation, practice deep breathing, and take a few minutes or days or weeks to collect yourself. Pause and think about the long-term ramifications of your actions. Do not, however, return to the conversation until you are fully in control of yourself. The last thing you want is to say or do something your partner will not forgive. So, think before you act – and get those emotions and actions under control.

5. Agree to Disagree

The best thing you can do to save your relationship and sanity after a knock-down-drag-out-fight with your partner is to agree to disagree – if you are unable to come to a compromise or resolution. The truth is there are times in a relationship when you simply don’t, won’t, or can’t see eye-to-eye. And, as shocking as this may sound, that’s actually normal.

As much as you love each other and as compatible as you may be, you are still two very different people, so there are going to be times when you disagree. If you can accept this fact without blaming, shaming, or judging your partner, you’ll be able to recover from your fight.

The key to using this method to recover from a bad fight is to agree to disagree, when you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

6. Ask for Help

This brings me to the next step – seeking help. If you are having a hard time coming to a resolution, compromising, and agreeing to disagree, it’s time to reach out to a relationship expert – i.e. counselor, therapist, clinical social worker, and/or psychologist. Rehashing past hurts and arguments will only push you further and further apart.

It’s important to ask for help if you simply can’t move past the argument. Don’t just sit on your feelings, because that may lead to destructive behaviors – destructive behaviors that can cause mistrust and irreparable damage to you and your relationship. So, reach out to someone, who can provide you with sage advice.

A mental health specialist will help you get more in-tune with your emotions, so you can better understand why you behave the way you do. He or she can also help you work through residual feelings from the argument, so they don’t prevent you from recovering from it. The truth is seeking therapy doesn’t make you weak, no, if anything it shows just how strong you are.

7. Forgive

Lastly, before you can heal from the bad fight, you’ll need to forgive – yourself and your partner. Forgiveness is freedom from an internal prison. In other words, it can set you free, so you don’t have to carry the effects of the argument around with you. When you forgive, you let go of hurt feelings, hostility, and resentment towards your partner.

On the other hand, holding onto a grudge can lead to emotional and physical turmoil. So, as hard as this may be – forgive your partner for hurting you. Can’t let it go? Keep this in mind, forgiving someone does not mean you accept the behavior or you have forgotten what transpired. It simply means you are ready to let what happened go and move on with your life.

In Summary…

A bad fight doesn’t have to define your whole relationship. More specifically, it doesn’t have to destroy what you have built with your partner. You can recover from what happened. In other words, you can “bounce back,” if you want to. Keep in mind, however, that it will require patience, openness, honesty, forgiveness, respect, love, and commitment. You have the ability to heal from the hurt of the argument; you just have to give your partner space, refrain from being defensive, take responsibility for your own actions, get a check on your emotions and behaviors, agree to disagree, ask for help, if necessary, and forgive.

References

  1. Steeves, S. M. (2016). Balance in relationships, life, and everything in-between. com. Retrieved from https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/balance-in-relationships-life-and-everything-in-between/
  2. Kirkpatrick, N. (2019). Counseling (or counselling): 5 reasons why we need it. Better Help. Retrieved from https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/counseling/counselling-vs-counseling-is-there-a-difference/

The post How to Recover After a Bad Fight appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


Topics Every Couple Should Discuss Before Marriage

The post Topics Every Couple Should Discuss Before Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Topics Every Couple Should Discuss Before Marriage

Studies suggest that couples, who adopt a “happily-ever-after,” “Cinderella and Prince Charming,” and “all we need is love” mentality have the highest risk of having an unsuccessful marriage. Why? Well, because it’s unrealistic and can cause both partners to set unrealistic expectations of what marriage should be like.

The truth is: most, if not all marriages, experience issues at some point. Maybe the issues are minor, or maybe they are gigantic – either way it’s something both partners have to work through if they want their marriage to remain intact.

It is important to understand that the success or failure of your marriage may depend on how well you and your spouse can communicate and work through any issues (i.e. finances, kids, household chores, family involvement, sex, religion, and priorities and life goals) that arise. These are important topics that should be discussed before tying the knot and regularly revisited during the marriage.

The ability to effectively communicate with each other (even when it’s difficult) is a hallmark sign of a happy and healthy relationship, so it’s important that you work on your communication skills before you get married.

Being compatible and united on fundamental values is also a must for a healthy and happy marriage. Why? Because, you will experience “tests” as a married couple – “tests” you will have to address and work through together.

So, the best way to tackle some of the “trials” you will experience once you are married is to address a wide-variety of topics, while you’re still dating. More specifically, it is vital that you have these conversations before you decide to spend the rest of your lives together. The good news is this article will provide you with topics that you and your partner can discuss before walking down the aisle.

Listed below are topics every couple should discuss before marriage:

Finances

Money can make or break a marriage. According to studies one of the main reasons couples divorce is because of finances. One spouse is a tight budgeter, while the other one spends money freely – sound familiar? So, it is important that you discuss this topic with your partner before you get married.

Sit down and talk about how you handle money vs. how your partner handles money. Also, discuss how you will handle finances once married.

Financial questions you may want to talk about before getting married:

  • Are you a budgeter and/or “tightwad” with money? Is your partner the same way or is he/she more of the “free spender?”
  • Do you or your partner have a lot of debt or do you or partner value saving money over spending it?
  • What will you do if one or both of you loses a job? Will you take whatever you can find to support your family or wait until you get what you want?

It’s important that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to money, especially if you are thinking about getting married. Ask your partner what he/she likes to splurge on and how often he/she thinks one should be able to do this. Also, ask him/her what he/she considers “a lot of money to spend on something.”

It is common for married couples to put their finances together in one joint bank account, so this is a really big deal. A joint bank account means you both have access to it, and can deposit or withdraw money from it at any time. So, it’s vital that you know your partner’s spending habits if you are thinking of building a life with him/her.

Moreover, once married, most creditors will not separate you from your spouse, when it comes to bills. In other words, your credit score will drop along with your spouse’s, if you are late or delinquent on bills. In other words, bills your spouse doesn’t pay can affect both of you – and vice versa.

So, the last thing you want to do is join your money with someone who is reckless when it comes to his/her money. Address this topic with your partner before you consider marrying him/her.

Kids

Another “touchy” subject that a lot of couples try to avoid is KIDS. Still, it is a topic that definitely needs to be addressed in-depth before marriage.

Questions you may want to discuss before “getting hitched:”

  • Do you want kids? Does your partner want kids? If so, how many and when?
  • What values and morals do you want your kids to have?
  • What about education – private or public school?
  • Do you expect the mother to stay-at-home with the kids? What about the father, can he stay-at-home with the kids instead?
  • What do you think about gender roles?
  • How will you and your partner feel if one or more of your kids turns out to be gay or transgendered?
  • What do you think about circumcision for boys? What about your partner?
  • Are you pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine? What about your partner?
  • How do you plan to discipline your kids? How does your partner?
  • How do you and your partner feel about surrogacy or adoption, if you can’t have children the “natural way?”

These are extremely important topics that should be discussed, in detail, before getting married and before having children. The quickest way to divorce is if one spouse is ready to have kids, and the other one is not sure he/she wants them or doesn’t want them at all.

This can become a major problem if it’s not addressed before marriage. The worst thing you or your partner can do is pretend that you want kids or may want kids in the future, knowing you have no intention of starting a family with your spouse.

Pretending is one of the most heartless, selfish, and inconsiderate thing you can do to the person you say you love. Why? Well, because it prevents the other person from finding someone who shares his/her dream of being a parent.

For many couples this is a deal breaker that can rapidly lead to divorce. The truth is if you and your partner have conflicting views on having kids, you probably should not get married. If the spouse that wants kids “settles” by staying married to the spouse that doesn’t, both partners will probably end up being unhappy and unsatisfied.

If you definitely wants kids, but your partner is unsure, then what? Well, talking to a couples or marriage counselor could help your partner decide if kids are in his/her future. If they are, then you can look forward to having a family together. However, if your partner decides he/she absolutely does not want kids, you may have to re-evaluate your relationship. So, talk about this subject before you get married, and be honest and open with one another.

Household Chores

Another biggie that couples should discuss before getting married is household chores.

Questions you may want to talk about before “tying the knot:”

  • How do you and your partner feel about gender roles, when it comes to household chores?
  • Do you expect the man to work outside of the home, fix things around the house, kill insects, and take out the trash? What about your partner – how does he/she feel about the man doing these specific chores?
  • Do you expect the woman to stay at home and take care of the household by cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids? What about your partner – how does he/she feel about a woman doing these chores?
  • Or, are you more fluid and gender neutral about chores? In other words, are you okay with the woman taking out the trash and working outside of the home, while the man cooks, cleans, and takes care of the kids? What about your partner – how does he/she feel about this?
  • How will chores be divided between you?

You and your partner must be on the same page or it will cause issues in your marriage. So, get this “hashed out” before you “tie the knot.”

Family Involvement

A topic every couple should discuss before getting married is family involvement.

Questions you may want to discuss before marriage:

  • How involved do you and your partner think your immediate and extended families (i.e. family, siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and in-laws) will be in your lives once you get married?
  • Should you and your partner expect to see both families during holidays, vacations, and special occasions?
  • Will you and your partner be expected to see your families every weekend, a couple times a month, during holidays, or at church every Sunday?

When it comes to in-laws, it is imperative that you always have a united front. Once married, never contradict your spouse in front of your family, and especially not in front of your parents. If you always have each other’s backs, in-laws will have fewer nasty things to say about your spouse. And, they will be more likely to treat your spouse with respect and kindness.

On the other hand, if you continuously complain to your parents about what your spouse did or did not do, they will probably end up not liking your spouse, which could cause problems in your marriage.

A good test? How your partner treats you in front of his/her family, while you are dating. If he/she “sticks up” for you, he/she probably won’t change once you get married. But, if he/she continuously allows his/her family to “put you down” and disrespect you, you can expect that behavior to continue once you are husband and wife.

Sex

Sex is an important part of any relationship, but especially marriage. Some couples shy away from talking about intimacy, and specifically sex. Maybe, it is because sex is often linked to vulnerability or emotional attachment. Or, maybe, it is because of past sexual experiences or societal expectations. Regardless of the reason, it is a topic that every couple should talk about before getting married.

Keep in mind that sexual expectations may be different when you’re dating vs. when you’re actually married. For instance, when you’re dating, sex may be a marathon (long and satisfying), however a decade into marriage, the sex may be a sprint (short and quick), if it happens at all. Why the difference? Well, because when you’re dating, you want to make the experience fulfilling for both partners, so it may take a while. However, when you’ve been married for a while, a “quickie” may be required because you have children to raise, job responsibilities, and household tasks to perform.

You just may not have the time for a long sexual experience. So, you “settle” for what you can get. The good news is, there are couples and marriage counselors, who can help you in this area. Counseling may also be especially beneficial, if you have been married a while, and feel as if you are sexually disconnected from your spouse.

The truth is you can’t predict your sex life down the road – even if you talk about it while you are dating.  So, a relationship expert is a good resource, if you start to have issues in the bedroom later on. However, once married, it is essential that you make time to sexually re-connect with your spouse from time-to-time.

What does that look like? Well, if you have kids, it means sending them to their grandparents for a night or hiring a babysitter, while you spend the night or at least a few hours at a local hotel. If they are pre-teens or teens, it means sending them for an overnight sleepover with one of their friends.

Questions you may want to ask about sex before you “get hitched:”

  • How often do you expect to have sex once you are married? What about your partner?
  • What is your favorite position? What is your partner’s favorite position?
  • What does sex mean to you? What does it mean to your partner?
  • What are sexual activities that make you uncomfortable? What about your partner?
  • What are sexual activities you enjoy? What about your partner?
  • What do you think about foreplay activities? What about your partner?

These things matter in a relationship – any relationship, but especially if you plan to spend the rest of your lives together. If you ask these questions before you get married, you’ll have some idea of what to expect when you finally make your relationship “official.”

Religion

Religion is another “hot button” topic that every couple should explore before marriage. Now, it’s not as crucial if you are just dating and not really thinking about marriage, but if you are, it’s worth talking about in advance. Why? Well, because once you are married you’ll have to take in consideration religious holidays, religious traditions, and children (what religion they will follow). While if you are just dating, you won’t have to participate in these activities unless you want to.

Religious questions you may want to ask before getting married:

  • How important is religion to you? What about your partner?
  • What religion would you like your children to follow? What about your partner?
  • Will you expect your spouse to convert to your religion (if yours is different)? What about your partner?
  • What religious activities do you participate in and why? What about your partner?
  • How will you handle religious holidays and traditions, if you are of a different religion? How will your partner?

Many married couples experience conflict over religious matters, because they did not discuss this topic in advance. If you “hash out” all of these things before you get married, you be less likely to squabble over them once you are married.

Priorities & Life Goals

The last topic every couple should discuss before marriage is priorities and life goals. Why does it matter? Well, it matters because if you and your partner have different things you want to accomplish in life, your marriage may not work, especially if you can’t find a compromise that satisfies both of you.

For instance, if you want to join the military, but your partner wants to “settle down” and live a more “traditional family life,” you will most likely experience major issues once you have “tied the knot” – especially if you are both set on these lifestyles. So, it is extremely important that you know these things before you decided to tie yourself together for forever.

Questions you may want to ask your partner before you get married:

  • Where do you see yourself in the future? What about your partner?
  • What are your priorities in life? What are your partner’s?
  • What are your life goals? What about your partner’s?
  • Do you want to “settle down” or do you want to travel and see the world? What about your partner?
  • How do you feel about having kids in the future? How does your partner feel about that?
  • Would you like to go back to school? What about your partner?
  • Would you like to live in another city, state, or country or are you satisfied living where you are now? What about your partner?

Get this out of the way by talking about it before you contemplate getting married. The last thing you want is to get “stuck” on one lifestyle, when you spouse has another idea.

Final Thoughts…

The truth is having a happy and healthy marriage takes work – lots of work. It takes unconditional love, good communication, respect, loyalty, trust, compatibility, openness, commitment and fidelity, patience and tolerance, a deliberate effort, and a willingness to compromise and work through issues.

It’s a big step – one that signifies you willingness to stay around for the long haul. Sadly, however, sometimes love just isn’t enough to keep a marriage afloat. This is especially true, when the differences between the two spouses are so big and overwhelming that they are impossible to overcome.

One way to combat issues that can arise in marriage is to discuss them before thinking about or planning to get married. Talking about these issues in advance can save both you and your partner a ton of heartache and disappointment. The answers to these questions can help you and your partner decide if you’re truly ready to take the next step in your relationship.

If you are able to compromise on issues you don’t fully agree on, then the outlook for marriage look promising, but if you can’t, it may be time for you and your partner to re-evaluate if you are truly meant to be together forever. Regardless, it’s worth exploring before you get married.

References

  1. Bredow, C. A. (2015). Chasing prince charming: Partnering consequences of holding unrealistic standards for a spouse. Personal Relationships, 22(3), 476–501. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12091
  2. Loftus, M. (2004). Till debt do us part. Psychology Today, 37(6), 42–52. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a2h&AN=14843379&site=ehost-live
  3. Kazemi, P., Tarkhan, M., & Golpour, R. (2018). Predicting of marital conflict based on religious attitudes in women applicants for divorce. Journal of Fundamentals of Mental Health, 20(4), 278–283. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a2h&AN=131822950&site=ehost-live

 

 

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How a Heartfelt Letter Can Help Save Your Marriage (Template Included!)

The post How a Heartfelt Letter Can Help Save Your Marriage (Template Included!) appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Let’s be honest, you will experience conflict in your marriage at some point or another. It is natural, healthy (at safe levels) and inevitable. When it occurs, it either strengthens your marriage or tears it apart. The determinant? How you handle it. A couple that is able to handle conflict in a healthy and effective way learns a boatload of new things in the process – i.e. new ideas, new conflict-resolution skills, new problem-solving techniques, and new ideas of how to maintain one’s cool during a heated debate or argument.

When combined together prayerfully with humility and hard work, these elements can rekindle the passion in your relationship. On the flip side, however, if you are unable to resolve your conflicts in a healthy manner, deep-seated wounds can form, causing damage to your marriage that may feel irreparable.

Contrary to popular belief, however, conflict is usually not the main problem in a marriage. Like I stated before, it’s how a couple chooses to address the conflict that makes all the difference. Therefore, effective communication (verbal and non-verbal) is essential to saving a marriage. According to a recent study on failing marriages, approximately 54% if marriages end in divorce because of conflict, a lack of communication, and/or ineffective communication. The good news is you can save your marriage simply be having good communication and conflict-resolution skills.

So, how can writing a letter help save a crumbling marriage?

Well, letter writing is a form of communication. The truth is verbalizing concerns and issues to a partner when tension is already present can be challenging or downright impossible. Maybe the other partner isn’t ready to listen – actively listen to your concerns – or maybe you aren’t ready to listen to his/hers. Maybe emotion, hurt, frustration, anger has taken over the conversation, and it’s difficult to see beyond them. Sometimes, the only way to express yourself to your partner is to put it in a letter – a heartfelt letter.

Surprisingly, an effective way to save your marriage is to use a non-traditional method of communication (“old school” even!) like a letter. In fact, there are many benefits to putting your thoughts, dreams, goals, concerns, feelings, beliefs, and fears on paper.

Some of these benefits include:

  • More time to ponder what you’re really trying to say
  • The ability to choose the “right words” for your message (what you’re trying to say)
  • The ability to pour out your heart or divulge your truest feelings – without having to worry about being interrupted, stumbling, or saying the “wrong thing”

How Can I Convey What I Really Want to Say in My Letter?

You are probably hoping you’ll achieve a variety of things with your heartfelt letter. However, the ultimate goal is most likely to find a compromise (or two or three) that will help save your deteriorating marriage. In other words, you are hoping that your letter will be the first step in getting your marriage back on track. That is why it is so important to really think and pray about what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how your spouse will probably perceive it.

Putting all of your bottled up thoughts and emotions down on paper allows you to take your time before blurting out things in a fit of anger, frustration, sadness – and desperation. It provides you with time – time to figure out how you truly feel, time to decide what you really want to say, and time to figure out the best way to say it – a way that will catch your spouse’s attention without sounding accusatory and condescending. That’s important.

Who’s to Blame?

So, what should you do? Refrain from making the letter about everything your spouse has done wrong in the marriage. Rather, focus on how you feel. Explain to your spouse how the breakdown in the marriage is making you feel and reaffirm how devoted you are to saving the marriage. Tell your partner that you still love him/her and you regret that you both have allowed the marriage to get to its current state. Make sure he/she understands that you that you’re tired of playing “the blaming game,” and you’re both to blame for the decline of your relationship.

Avoid Playing the Victim

And, whatever you do, avoid playing the “victim” in the letter. Why? Well, because after reading a couple of sentences of why you are the “victim” and he’s the “villain”, he/she will probably throw down your letter in anger. Not good. Remember, there is a breakdown in the marriage, so make sure your letter details how you would like to move forward in the relationship – not stay stuck in the past.

Is There a Sample Letter I Could Look At?

Actually, there is! Feel free to tweak this letter to fit what’s happening in your marriage. The goal of this sample letter is to give you ideas on how to write your own letter.

Handwrite the letter – do not type it because it may appear impersonal.

Sweetheart,

From the moment I first laid eyes on you, I knew there was a good chance we could have something special. I was right. I remember feeling so lucky to have found you. You were everything I could have asked for – smart, funny, witty, considerate, honest, hardworking, ambitious, sexy, generous, and kind. You were everything I wanted in a lifelong partner back then – and still are today. Your integrity is something I love and respect.

 But, somewhere along the way our marriage went off track and I regret that. 

The thing I loved most about us during those early years of dating and marriage is that we truly enjoyed each other’s company. Our days were always sunny and filled with tummy-quaking laughter. Never was a day that I felt unloved or unwanted – and I’m pretty sure you felt the same way. Our passion for life, love, and each other was unmatched. It took very little time for me to know that you were the person I wanted to spend my life with. That is still true today, and will never change. I am devoted to you, our marriage, and our children – and always will be.

We have weathered many storms, during our ten years of marriage. But, we have also always come out on top. We survived – flourished. We have been blessed with a home to call our own, battled uncomfortable and sometimes frightening illnesses, had miracle babies, earned degrees and got good jobs.

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that we also encountered some tricky and challenging episodes, as well. But that’s life and marriage, right? There will be triumphant moments and rough patches in a marriage. We are currently in the midst of a storm, but it will pass. Yes, we have both made mistakes – some small and some huge, but we are still here – together. Fighting together. My hope is that we have both learned from our mistakes – yours, mine, and ours. You were and still are my rock during troubling times – and I hope I am that for you, as well. You make me feel safe like no one else can.

I’m proud to be your spouse, and I believe in you, me, and us.

I know I don’t say it often enough, but everything in this letter comes from my heart. Forgive me for taking us for granted. I don’t always make the best decisions and sometimes I’m a bit rash – well, okay a lot rash. I also know I can be impatient and thoughtless, and I’m sorry for that.

I am also more sensitive and emotional than you at times, which makes resolving issues tricky. I know that I lash out at you for things when I’m upset – sometimes you deserve them and sometimes you don’t. Either way there are better ways to address our issues.

I can be frustrating, I know. And, I admit that in the past when we have disagreed, we have not handled the conflict to the best our abilities. But, I want to change that. I feel like I’m losing my best friend, and that’s the last thing I want to do. I have walked out on you in the middle of arguments. I have shut you out when I should have leaned on you for support. Now, I realize just how damaging those actions can be to a marriage, so my goal is to change how we communicate and interact with each other.

Because you – we are worth it to me.

Honestly, I regret so many things in our marriage. Hurtful things we have said and done to each other. I am sorry I didn’t listen more. You deserved that. Please forgive me for all of the times I was disrespectful to you and our marriage. And, all of the times I made you feel “less than” because I didn’t get my way. You are not “less than” in any way. You are everything. Please forgive me for putting our relationship in jeopardy because it means so much to me. 

So, I have taken time to deeply reflect on my part in the breakdown our marriage, and I now understand my role in it. I am ready to take steps to repair our damaged relationship. I am prepared to do whatever I can to “fix us.” Even if it means going to a marriage counselor, dating again like we did when we were younger, trying new things in the bedroom, eating breakfast and dinner together every night, taking mini-vacations without children, going to marriage retreats, etc. I want to save our marriage. I promise to listen to you uninterrupted and to always show you the respect you deserve.

I will take your concerns seriously, so we can strengthen our bond.

Let’s work together and make our marriage stronger than ever before. I’m game – are you? I miss our late night convos. I miss your sweet kisses on my neck and the way we cuddled every night. I miss you.

I  Love You,

Me

What Will Happen Next?

Crafting an emotionally-raw letter like that can be overwhelming. It may even make you feel like you are giving all your “power” to your spouse. In other words, you may feel as if you are begging for forgiveness. You’re not. You’re trying to save your marriage. The thing is you must be vulnerable to your spouse for the letter to make any difference.

Once you give your spouse the letter – back off. Giving him/her time to read it, think about it, pray about it, and craft a response to it – verbally or through another letter. He/she may not read the letter immediately, and that’s okay. It’s best that your partner read the letter with a clear head and open mind. It may take a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Be patient. But, don’t allow it to go on for months with no response. Also, be prepared for no response but a change in behavior. That’s a non-verbal way to communicate that he/she has read your letter and is meeting you halfway.

In Summary…

The truth is, settling down in a quiet place with a pen and paper and crafting a heartfelt letter may be the first step in reducing the anger, hurt, and resentment in your marriage. The next step should be to rebuild the bond you once shared. It wasn’t too long ago that you couldn’t wait to see your partner after a long day at work. You’d practically jump into each other’s arms. When you used to smile just from the thought of seeing your loved one again.

You loved his/her smell, the way his/her skin felt on yours, the way he/she laughed, dressed, walked, and even ate food. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t rush the re-connection process, no matter how much you’d like to. It should be a process – one that takes time so you don’t ever end up in this same predicament again.

The good news is you can start the process of rebuilding your marriage, even if your partner isn’t initially onboard. Ask him/her out on a date – someplace you both used to love. Stay positive around your spouse and don’t allow him/her to goad you into an argument. Be attentive and loving even if he/she is not. Going home to your family every night doesn’t have to be a negative experience. You can still recapture the butterflies you used to feel when you saw your partner. It just takes time and patience – and sometimes a really good letter. Good Luck!

References

Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple & Family Psychology, 2(2), 131–145. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012696/

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How Can I Tell if My Husband is Abusive?

The post How Can I Tell if My Husband is Abusive? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

*If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.

Guess what? By the time the abuse begins, you are already most likely fully devoted to your marriage and your husband. Most likely you’ve invested a lot of your time, money, and effort into being the “perfect wife.” You and your husband have probably purchased your first house by now, uprooted much of your “former lives,” re-routed your personal routines, ingratiated each other into your families, church communities and other social circles, and built a boatload of trust. You may be pregnant, considering pregnancy, or even have a child or two.

Your lives have become thoroughly intertwined – even before the abuse has started. You are legally, financially, and spiritually bound to your abusive husband. The truth is, the main goal of an abuser (any abuser – boyfriend, friend, parent, spouse, partner, etc.) is to pull you in and push you out.

In other words, the aim is to entice you with sweet words and gestures, thus, making you 100% dependent. Then, he/she uses hurtful and destructive tactics like belittlement, control, degradation, and criticism to isolate you from friends and family and lower your self-esteem. The objective? For you to end up feel like you are worthless without him/her.

How Can I Tell If My Husband is Abusive?

Most psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health workers, physicians, and social workers define abuse as any action that is deliberately degrading, psychological harmful, mentally/emotionally cruel, violent, life-threatening, and/or dangerous to another individual.

However, even with this definition, truly understanding the nuances of abuse and identifying it can be extremely challenging. Why? Well, many times, the signs of abuse are so hidden that even those closest to the victim don’t know it is happening. As a result, the victim often suffers in silence for many years or decades until something pushes him/her over the edge and he/she is forced to do something – whether they want to or not.

Did you know that approximately 35% of couples have experienced at least one dangerous, aggressive, life-threatening, or violent event during the course of their marriages? Another 24% of marital couples will experience ongoing domestic violence during the lifetime of the relationship. Well, it’s frighteningly true.

The severity and longevity of domestic violence, aka abuse between spouses, depends on the type of abuse and a variety of other factors. But, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter what gender, race, socio-economic status, educational status, religion, culture, weight/ height, or age you are – it can still happen to you.

Abuse does not discriminate. 

How Can I Tell If I’m Being Abused?

The most common forms of abuse are mental/emotional/psychological, sexual, verbal, and physical. Keep in mind, there are other “lesser known” types and subtypes of abuse like neglect. For instance, domestic violence is a subtype of abuse that occurs between spouses.

An abusive husband is usually extremely controlling and belittling. He also tends to be ridiculously overprotective, pushy, intrusive, violent, and upsetting. For instance, an abusive husband will want to know where you are at all times. You will have to “check-in” with him multiple times a day, and be where you said you would be – or there is hell to pay. There is no room for mistakes. He will also have a detailed list of extremely strict and limiting rules and guidelines for you to follow – at all times.

If you break these rules, you are confronted with an onslaught of psychologically-damaging words – i.e. “stupid,” “worthless,” etc., and/or physical acts – i.e. beatings. You will have to account for every minute of your day and your ability to communicate with friends and family will be severely limited, if not non-existent. In addition, you will most likely be confined to the house most of the day.

You may be lucky enough to get small allowances for any items you need, but will not have access to any bank accounts or substantial amounts of money. You may or may not have a phone or television. As a result, you will most likely feel lonely, scared, and dependent on your spouse for everything. You will fear upsetting him, so you will tip-toe around him, and try you best to keep him happy, but it won’t work. It never works for too long. Your life (and your children’s lives) will feel bleak, depressing, and utterly hopeless.

Okay, So My Husband is Abusive – Now What?

If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.

They can talk you through the options and important next steps you need to take to help ensure that you and children are safe.

What If I’m Still Not Sure?

If you’re still unsure, try confiding in a close friend, church pastor, counselor or other trusted advisor for support.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline also has helpful resources on their website thehotline.org, including a page titled “Is this abuse?” and confidential live chat feature where you can talk to an advocate every day from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. CST.

In Summary…

I would do you an injustice, if I told you that this would be easy – because that is a lie. Leaving an abusive husband will be hard, painful, difficult, frightening, extremely emotional, and gut-wrenching – especially if you have been together for a long time. You will cry and get cold feet many times before you finally use your voice and/or get away.

You may love your husband and you may be dependent on him like a young child is dependent on his/her parents. You may be scared to venture into the world – by yourself – for the first time in a really long time. I get it. But, it’s important to dream about who you used to be before your husband dwindled you down to the shell you are now.

Who did you used to want to be? Did you want to be a nurse, teacher, doctor, etc.? Did you used to want to feel important? Valued? Did you used to want to be a stay-home-mom, fully immersed in your happy children’s lives? Who did you used to be? Because, you can still be that person. Your husband will tell you can’t be – but that is a lie.

There are programs out there that can help you get on your feet – programs for women and women and children. Professionals, who can help you find a job, go back to school, get counseling, find housing, provide childcare for your children, pay your own bills again, protect you and your children (witness protection programs) and just start over. You just have to gather the courage to tell someone – anyone what’s happening to you and accept their help.

The former you is still inside. The brave and courageous you. You just have to find her again – for you and your children. Keep in mind that the longer you stay in a dysfunctional environment, the more harm you will do to you and your children. So, put you and your children first – and tell someone. It will change your life.

*If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.  

Reference

The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2019). Abuse statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

 

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What Should I Do If I Feel My Spouse is Neglecting Me?

The post What Should I Do If I Feel My Spouse is Neglecting Me? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Why isn’t my spouse paying attention to me?

If you feel like your spouse has suddenly stopped paying attention to you and your needs – you’re definitely not alone. The truth is the neglect could stem from disinterest, dissatisfaction, or boredom with you or the marriage OR there could actually be a really good reason for it like stress, illness, the death of a loved one, pet, or close friend, financial issues, and/or workplace drama. In other words, it may not have anything to do with you…

But, how can you know for sure?

You can’t unless he/she shares his/her thoughts with you. All you can do is take notice of the change in your spouse’s behavior and wait patiently until he/she feels comfortable enough to share any concerns with you. Waiting can take forever, I know. But, in the meantime, you can gently encourage him/her to open up to you – but don’t be pushy because that will only drive him/her further away from you.

couple hands

The first thing you need to do is remind yourself that you really don’t know what’s going on at this point. In other words, you may suspect something is “off” with your spouse, but you can’t know for sure unless he/she tells you what’s going on. So, to avoid looking cold-hearted and angry; summon your inner angel and be sympathetic towards him/her and whatever he/she may be going through. It’s going to be challenging, especially if you feel like your spouse has been ignoring or dismissing you for a long time.

For instance, you tell your spouse you love him/her, but the sentiment is not returned. Or, you cook your spouse his/her favorite meal for dinner and he/she calls you and tells you he/she is going out with friends. I get it. And, although every situation is different, feeling like your spouse simply doesn’t care about you anymore is both frightening and heart-breaking. Thankfully, nine-out-ten times that’s simply not the case – your spouse loves you even if he/she isn’t showing it like he/she used to.

The worst thing you can do, however, is become needy, demanding, and/or aggressive – physically or passively. These tactics will only push you further apart, instead of getting you the attention you want. The key is communication. If something is bothering you in the relationship – talk to your spouse about it. The good news is there are things you can do to jumpstart the chemistry between you and your spouse again. It’s not over yet!

How Should I Address the Situation with My Spouse?

Let’s be honest – no one gets married just to be ignored. If that were the case, most of us wouldn’t go through the torment. Yeah, feeling ignored, dismissed, and neglected hurts like crazy, but luckily there are things you can do to encourage better communication.

Listed below are things you can do if you feel your spouse is neglecting you:

Get Out of Your Head!

This is probably one of the hardest things you will probably ever have to do. Getting out of your heard is hard – real hard. This is especially true when the person you love is ignoring you or excluding you from his/her life. Anxiety and depression are often just around the corner – lurking. That’s why the worst thing you can do is conjure up all the bad things that could be happening in your marriage.

“My hubby doesn’t love me anymore, so that’s why he spends so much time at work.” Maybe, that’s it OR maybe, he’s trying to work extra hours to take you on your dream vacay OR maybe, he’s simply trying to catch up on bills, but doesn’t want you to worry about it.

“My wife is bored with me, and that’s why she spends so much time with her sister.” Maybe, that’s true OR maybe, she simply enjoys the company of her sister, whom she has grown up with. There’s often a close bond between family members, especially between siblings, so maybe being with her sister feels like home and has nothing to do with her love for you.

So, what should you do if I if can’t stop thinking the worst case scenarios?

Keep going. Be your normal loving self and don’t allow your partner’s distant behavior to ruin your day – or life. More specifically, every time a depressing thought pops in your mind, replace it with a more positive one – from your marriage or just from your day or life.

What are you thankful for? What makes you truly happy? Once you determine that – focus on it. Happiness is contagious. So, if you are positive and happy, your spouse is bound to take notice – making it impossible for him/her to ignore you for too long.

Slow Your Roll

Slow my roll? Yes, slow your roll. In other words, take a break. Keep in mind that a “break” doesn’t have to mean moving out of the house or breaking up. It may simply involve not calling or texting your spouse until he/she initiates contact with you first. This gives him/her a chance to miss you.

Moreover STOP calling and texting your spouse a thousand times a day over nothing. Yep, nothing. This is especially true if you know your partner is super busy at work and if the job is super demanding and stressful.

Be considerate and give him/her a break. The truth is a less available spouse is an appealing one because its add an extra layer of mystery and longing to the relationship. More specifically, it causes your partner to wonder what you’ve been up to all day.

Do You!

The best thing you can do for yourself, if you are feeling neglected, ignored, and/or abandoned is do you. In other words, be less clingy and more independent. More specifically, always have a “backup plan” for when your spouse just isn’t “there” emotionally or physically.

For instance, go grab drinks and dinner with co-workers after work, call up a friend or sibling and catch that movie you’ve been dying to see, volunteer at a non-profit like the Red Cross or an animal shelter, start a new hobby, spend time with those less fortunate, train for a marathon, start a new exercise routine, and/or focus on your health and hygiene.

Basically, surround yourself with people, who make you feel good about yourself. But, don’t throw yourself a pity party, because that’s just not attractive – and it’s not going to make your spouse spend more time with you.
Keep this in mind, it’s normal and healthy to have separate interests, friends, and activities. You are not joined at the hip, and you both had lives before meeting and marrying, so it’s time you got back to doing you. And, honestly, being independent from your partner helps keep you both grounded.

So, be available for your spouse – but not too available that he/she forgets how truly magical you really are. Your independence will remind your spouse just why he/she married you in the first place. Score!

Take a Long Hard Look at YOUR Behavior

It’s always easy to blame any problems in the marriage solely on your spouse. It’s his/her fault, right? But, before you go jumping to conclusions, take a minute to take a look at yourself.

Maybe, your spouse is ignoring or neglecting you because you said or did something that hurt him/her. Maybe, you forget your anniversary or maybe you were a little too friendly to the waiter or waitress the last time you went out to eat. These things matter – and hurt.

You won’t know until he/she shares this tidbit with you. Granted, you probably didn’t mean to hurt your spouse’s feelings, but what if you did? That would explain why he/she is now distant towards you.

Maybe, your clinginess, jealousy, bossiness, or aggressiveness is becoming overwhelming to your spouse – especially if you only recently started behaving that way. The truth is your spouse may just need a little breathing room every once-in-a-while. And, guess what? That’s perfectly normal and very healthy.

Tell the Truth!

Once the gates of communication have opened up and your spouse is ready and willing to share his/her concerns with you – tell him/her the truth. Don’t sugarcoat how you have been feeling or what you have been experiencing. Be open and honest. One of the best ways to work through issues is to be truthful about how you feel. But, leave the anger and resentment at the door. Just talk and listen to one another.

Don’t make assumptions and try to keep an open mind. After you have mustered your courage, ask your spouse why he/she hasn’t been spending much time with you lately. Tell your spouse that you feel ignored and neglected. Explain to him/her that it has been making you sad.

Ask your partner if it was something you said or did that pushed him/her away from you. And, reassure him/her that he/she can talk to you about anything and you will listen. Lastly, let him/her know that you are willing and ready to work on any issues together.

FYI: Your spouse may have no idea that he/she has been neglecting you or that it’s hurting you, so give him/her a chance to rectify his/her behavior before calling it quits. One of the hallmarks of a happy and successful marriage is good communication.

DON’T Divvy Out Blame

Okay, so we’ve talked about things you should do to reconnect with your spouse, but what should you not do?
Well, you should not divvy out blame that’s for sure. Whatever is happening with your partner and the relationship is two-fold, so blaming each other could lead you straight for a separation or divorce. Ouch. You both probably had some part in the disconnect. And, more than likely neither of you meant to hurt the other one.

Sometimes life happens that throws us off-track. The good news is we don’t have to stay off-track. The key is taking it day-by-day. Also, keep in mind that even if you do talk about what’s causing the distance and neglect, it doesn’t mean your relationship will immediately (or ever) go back to the way it “used to be.”

Maybe, it will be better or maybe it will just be different. Who knows? But, before you can do anything you both need to heal from what happened. You’ll need to work towards forgiving each other because, honestly, that doesn’t happen overnight.

And, let’s be frank – it’s not going to be easy. But, if you love one another and are determined to get back on-track with your marriage, it is possible. It’s really up to you and your spouse. But don’t rush each other. Be respectful and give each other the time and support you need to rekindle the passion you once felt for each other. It’s still there – just give it a chance.

Recouple

Recouple? Yes, recouple? What does that even mean? It means reconnecting with your spouse. In other words, once you learn the reason for your spouse’s neglect, you can start working towards finding solutions for the issue(s) and reconnecting with one another.

Recouple with your spouse by carving out time together each day – i.e. eating breakfast and talking in the morning before work, and/or sitting down to eat dinner together each evening and talking about your day, interests, highlights, concerns, goals, needs, wants, and passions. Talk about what makes you – you!

Allow your spouse to express himself/her without interruptions. And, vice versa. Be patient – and kind. But, most of all – listen. Take a real interest in what your spouse is sharing with you. Plan activities and vacations, and sign up for marriage retreats, where you can recouple with each other and meet other couples, who are recoupling, as well.

couples sitting together

Go on dates – dates you used to love before you got married. Don’t forget to get “dolled up” for them – they are special occasions, especially if you are parents. Remind your partner of just how much he/she means to you and how much you love him/her. And, re-spark the passion in your marriage by letting him/her know you are in it for the long haul.

Seek Emotional Support

If you’ve been feeling ignored, neglected, dismissed, and/or abandoned for a while now and nothing seems to be helping, it’s probably time you seek emotional support. Keep in mind, however, that it may take time to fully heal from the hurt and pain, but it’s definitely “doable” with commitment, time, patience, dedication, love, and respect.
And, because repairing your relationship is a marathon – not a sprint, seeking support will help you can remain strong, positive, and determined, while you work on reconnecting with each other.

One avenue not explored enough by struggling couples is marriage retreats. These sanctuaries are extremely beneficial for couples, who want to improve and strengthen their marriages. During this time, you and your spouse talk to relationship experts and other couples experiencing their own struggles – some like yours and some totally different.

Regardless, it is a good way to take a good look at yourself and your relationship through new lens – while making new friends and learning new ways of coping and resolving issues. Marriage retreats are not only relaxing, they can also help you remember just why you fell in love with each other.

In Summary…

You got married because you love one another and enjoy being around each other. Well, guess what? That core foundation is still there – even if it doesn’t feel like it. The truth is there may be times when you’re more in love with your spouse than he/she is in love with you and vice versa. That’s normal because love can be fleeting from time-to-time. But, most of the time, it’s only temporary.

Other times you both may be in love at the same time with the same intensity. All of this is normal. So, if you begin to feel neglected take pause, give your spouse space, be patient, be open and honest, be less clingy and demanding, be available to listen, be empathetic (as much as possible), and focus on why you fell in love with him/her.

Is your spouse’s behavior characteristic of who he/she has always been, but you’re just now noticing it? Is it possible you have been inadvertently neglecting your partner, as well, but just couldn’t see it? Think before your react and don’t come at your spouse when you’re angry, irritable, or frustrated because it will only push him/her farther away from you. Rather, try gentle nudges to open up communication. Then, work from there.

However, if you have tried everything including talking to people you trust, sharing your concerns with your spouse, and attending marriage retreats, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship. But, give your marriage 100% effort before you throw in the towel on years of love and memories. There’s always hope – you just have to grab hold of it!

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How to Reignite the Flame in Your Marriage

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“Trust is the most important part of a relationship, closely followed by communication. I think that if you have those two things, everything else falls into place – your affection, your emotional connection.”
~Vanessa Lachey

It doesn’t matter if you have been married for ten months or ten years, it is normal for the flame of love and passion to weaken over time, but when you add certain “elements” to the relationship, it can reignite the fire between you. The truth is everything is exciting at the beginning of a relationship – it’s all new, after all. But, as you get more comfortable with one another and your relationship becomes “routine,” boredom and indifference can set in… Unless, you take steps to prevent it. Your marriage doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t have to be “ritualized.” No, you can keep the passion sizzling between you with a little extra TLC.

Listed below are ways you can reignite the flame in your marriage:

Checking-In

If you want to get the fire burning in your relationship, you will need to reconnect with one another. What does that look like? Well, it could be as simple as drinking coffee or tea in the mornings or eating breakfast together, while you talk about your upcoming day.

Or, checking-in with one another in the evenings by eating dinner together and sharing your “highs” and “lows” from the day. The goal is to let your spouse know that you are there to listen and that you want to be involved in his/her life.

Kissing & Hugging When You Reunite

Jumpstart the passion in your relationship by kissing and hugging when you reunite. In other words, when you come home from work, greet your spouse with a kiss and hug to let him/her know you missed him/her. But, you shouldn’t just do this when he/she comes home from work – do it any time you separate and reunite.

Even if it’s something simple like coming home from running separate errands, running down the street to get gas, coming back from a friend’s or relative’s home or event, or even coming back in from taking your four-legged baby for a walk. It doesn’t have to be extensive or drawn-out because the aim is to show affection to one another.

Getting Handsy

What does “getting handsy” even mean? Well, it means holding hands. Now, you can add other “elements” into the mix like hugging, kissing, and caressing to “spice up” the marriage. These simple gestures can go a long way in re-sparking the love and sexual chemistry in your relationship. How? Well, physical stimulation of any kind can trigger your body’s release of oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone.

As a result, you are calmer and in a better mood. It’s the same hormone that is released during an orgasm, according to studies. Another added benefit to physically touching? A reduction in stress, and as we all know, less stress can lead to more sizzle.

Changing It Up!

The truth is it’s easy to get in a rut when you’ve been with someone for a long time. You get married and get immersed in a daily routine. Then, the kids come along, and while that routine shifts, it’s still just a routine. The result? Being stuck in the same old thing day in and day out. Snooze.

There’s nothing worse, for most, than being stuck in a life of unending predictability. However, that doesn’t have to be your life. No, you can add some excitement to your marriage, just by changing it up – your life, yourself, your activities, your behavior, your marriage, your routines, and the sex, of course. In other words, break your routine and try something new!

For instance, if you typically do your chores and run errands – hello grocery shopping, on Sundays, use this day to do something fun with your spouse. Find a babysitter, if you have children, and do something together like go to church, explore a museum, go downtown and partake in the festivities, go see a movie you’ve been wanting to see, grab lunch at your favorite restaurant and talk about your future goals, volunteer at an animal shelter, go get couples massages, workout together, etc. Basically, take in the sights in your city.

Or, be spontaneous and do something you’ve talked about a thousand times, but never did like signing up for a painting or cooking class, or going horseback riding or skydiving. The thing you don’t want to do is become complacent. Why not? Because it can quickly dim the sparkle in your relationship.

Keep in mind that changing it up can also refer to sex. Sex can get pretty humdrum if it’s performed the same way all of the time. For instance, if you are always the one to initiate sex, let your partner initiate it the next time. Or, if you have a go-to position, try a new one.

Remember, the goal is to reignite the flame in your marriage – so go for it! Think outside-of-the box and make magic again in the bedroom. There’s no need to be bashful – you’re married, after all!

Surprise!

Be honest, when was the last time you surprised your spouse or vice versa? Last week, last year, or ten years ago? Well, if you can’t remember the last time you and your spouse were surprised by each other, it’s long overdue. If you want the fire burning again in your relationship, send your partner a sexy text message or picture, while he/she is at work.

Note: Don’t send anything too racy to his/her phone because you don’t know who will be around him/her when he/she opens it up. So, keep it sexy, but PG-13. Use code words and emojis to get your point across. And, snap a picture of yourself in a sexy outfit or send a picture of you showing off your best assets – i.e. your lips, abs, legs, feet, eyes, smile, dimples, etc. Sexy doesn’t have to mean naked.

Think about how it used to make you feel to get those sweet and sexy texts and pictures when you first started dating. Well, even if you don’t get them as much anymore, you can re-spark the fire in your marriage simply re-starting this sexy game of cat-and-mouse.

Ditching Your Electronics

Have you ever thought about ditching your electronics for an hour or two a day? How about when you get home from work? Well, an excellent way for you to reignite the fire in your marriage is to free yourselves from distractions, and yes, I mean electronics – all electronics. So, do yourself and your relationship a favor and silence your smartphone, put away your tablet, and turn off the television.

Your favorite sitcom can wait. That juicy text from your BFF can wait. But, your relationship cannot. Choose to spend time with your spouse instead – talking, laughing, figuring things out, touching, and just being together.

Go on a romantic date, play UNO or charades together, sit on the front porch, rocking and sipping on your favorite adult beverage, cuddle in bed while talking about the future and remembering the past. Let your fascination or obsession with being connected to the world go, so you can reconnect with your partner.

Get Your Sexual Mojo Back

Mojo? Wait…what? Yes, you can’t reignite the flame without it. The truth is having a healthy and active sex life is important in a marriage. Therefore, it is vital that you carve out time to have sex on a regular basis. Don’t, however, pressure your spouse into having sex when he/she really doesn’t want to, because that will lead to a disaster.

Sex has to be mutual for it to be enjoyable. So, if one partner doesn’t feel up to the task that night, skip it. I know, it’s rough, but your spouse will appreciate your consideration and patience, which ultimately push him/her closer to you. Lastly, don’t be bashful in the bedroom – you’re married and sex is supposed to be fun – not an obligatory function of marriage.

Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane

When the passion starts to simmer down in your marriage, take a stroll down memory lane. In other words revisit the past. Think about your history together. Recall your happiest and funniest moments.

Think about what first drew you to your partner. Was it his/her smile or laugh? Was it the twinkle in his/her eye or the cute way he/she ate pasta on your date? Or, was it something super sweet like saving up to get you a piece of jewelry or take you on a fancy or fun date? Think about how all of that made you feel.

How did your spouse used to touch, hold and kiss you? Does he/she still do that today? If not, write down things you used to do to each other that you enjoyed and start doing them again.

Also, start revisiting places you used to go when you were dating – i.e. the old pizza joint, the park to feed the ducks, on a romantic dinner where you got all gussied up, out for ice cream or coffee, to the beach, to ball games, bowling, putt-putting, the movies, etc. And, while there hold hands, smooch, snuggle, and be affectionate. Who cares who is watching – this is about you and your spouse.

Talking

Sounds simple, but communication woes is the number one cause of marital dissatisfaction. It can be challenging to navigate how to communicate with your spouse, especially, when it’s a difficult topic. I get it. But, it’s necessary, if you want to have a healthy and happy marriage. Marriage takes work – a lot of work. And, sometimes is blissful and sometimes it’s hard – really hard.

Most of the time, however, it’s worth the effort. But, nothing will get resolve if you never talk to one another. I don’t mean just talking about the easy and neat things, but the challenging and messy ones too. So, if you have concerns, talk to your spouse about it, and encourage him/her to talk to you about his/hers.

Nothing will get “fixed,” if it stays hidden. And, the longer you avoid talking, the more damage it will do to your relationship.

Planning a Romantic Getaway – Sans the Kids

When was the last time you snuck away – just the two of you without your kids? I bet it’s been a while, right? Well, if the flame in your relationship is dying a slow death, consider saving up and going on a romantic getaway – out of your city or state. It can be a weekend or a week; it doesn’t matter.

The aim is to help you reconnect – mentally, physically, spiritually, and sexually. Honestly, spending some quality time away from work, routines, kids, and the daily stresses of life can work wonders in your fledging marriage. Even just one night together – alone in a hotel – can help refresh yourselves and your marriage.

Seeking Help

Seeking helps sounds so daunting, doesn’t it? Well, just because you need reinforcements in your relationship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or spouse. We all need extra support from time-to-time. It’s normal and healthy. And, you don’t always have to be stuck in couples counseling.

Many times, it just means talking to someone about what’s happening with you, your spouse, and in your marriage. One way you can do this is by attending marriage retreats. The best thing about these events is that they are relaxing and fun! Yes, fun!

It’s a good way talk about any issues with relationship experts in a calm and steady environment – sans the daily stresses and distractions back home. The goal is to provide support to you and your spouse, so you can reignite the flame in your relationship. It’s kinda like a working vacation. Not too bad, right?

And, the best part about it is that you get to leave with a toolbox of valuable “relationship tools” – i.e. healthy coping mechanisms, conflict-resolution strategies, stress management/relaxation techniques, better communication, and newfound appreciation for each other. Basically, all the ingredients to re-spark the flame in your marriage.

In Summary…

Good communication and reconnecting with your spouse are two of the best “elements” to keep the flame in your marriage burning bright for many years. And, although it seems like a lot of effort, it’s no more effort than you exerted when trying to snag your spouse when you were dating. Remember that? Waiting by the phone for a text or call or rearranging your schedule so you could be “free” to go out with your love interest?

Or, what about, making sure you always looked fantastic when going on date with him/her? Look at all of the effort you made back then – and do it again. You have the foundation of love, respect, and commitment, now all you need is to reignite the fire. You don’t have to let the flame dwindle out; you can stop it in its track simply by being proactive.

References:

Migdat, T. A. (2016). Dissertation: The effect of marital therapy on physical affection. Brigham Young University. Retrieved from https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7418&context=etd

Magon, N., & Kalra, S. (2011). The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 15, 156-161. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/

Uebelacker, L. A., Courtnage, E. S. & Whisman, M. S. (2003).Correlates of depression and marital dissatisfaction: Perceptions of marital communication style. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 20(6), 757-769.

The post How to Reignite the Flame in Your Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


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