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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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My Husband is Very Lazy – How Can I Get Him to Help Me With Chores?

The post My Husband is Very Lazy – How Can I Get Him to Help Me With Chores? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

“Men are overly sensitive to being told what to do. If they are persuaded to understand that they’re making you happy by doing more, they’ll be a lot more interested, than if they’re doing it because they’re being told.”

~Joshua Coleman

Hi, My name is Beth…and my husband is very lazy. Everything that needs to be done – I do. The result? Most things go left undone. What can I do to get my husband to help me with the housework, the kids, and everything else? Help!

Are you living the scenario above? If so, you’re not alone.

Your husband’s slowness at “getting things done” has been infuriating and frustrating you for a while. But, the last straw was when you were trying to clean the house for impending guests, while your hubby was reclining on the couch – with his feet up, watching a football game on the television, and munching on popcorn. Really?! You think to yourself, “Could he be any more inconsiderate? Nope.”

Unfortunately, this is a common complaint amongst newly married women and those, who have been married for years or even decades. Many husbands partake in the fruits of laziness – because they can. Plain and simple. We allow them to do that.

But, what does that laziness really stem from? Well, it originated long ago, when most, if not all of the world was patriarchal. During that time, household and parenting responsibilities lie with the wives, while the husband brought-in money from their outside jobs.

Men didn’t really have do anything – but financially provide for the family. Their responsibilities typically ended once they arrived home. At which time, they could enjoy the luxury of, well, being lazy.

Women’s responsibilities, on the other hand, pretty much never ended. There was always work to be done with or without any “help.” They did not get to enjoy the luxury of laziness like their husbands, because the family (especially children) had to eat, the clothes had to be washed, children had to be “entertained,” and the house had to be cleaned – every day.

Surprisingly, even highly-educated and accomplished wives typically ignored the dismissive ways of their husbands and male children. Designating household and child-rearing tasks for themselves and their female children. As a result, even children were being taught that wives are responsible for the “home,” while husbands are responsible for “paying bills and putting food on the table.”

But, why now? That was a million years ago. Well, not quite a million years ago – maybe a few decades ago. I guess some traditions and beliefs die hard. In other words, even today, some remnants of this mentality still exist.

You’ve probably heard “well-meaning” onlookers say, “He’ll change his ways once you get married or have children.” Yeah…maybe, but maybe not. Plus, when did you become “rehab” for your husband? You don’t remember signing-up for that complex and possibly, impossible job, do you? But, here you are…trying to get your lazy husband to do something!

Yes, we, as a society, have become more progressive over the decades, but there is still a lot to be desired when it comes to gender equality and the “sharing of household and parenting chores.” It is what it is. But, that in a nutshell, is *probably* why your hubby appears to be lazy, selfish, unenthusiastic, and slow-to-act.

To be fair, we all have those days when we really don’t want to do anything, but “veg out” in front of the television. Maybe, he’s worked long shifts all week or maybe, he’s just not feeling well. Or, perhaps, he just needs a mental health break, because he’s highly stressed. Laziness in this situation is normal and even healthy.

A day here-and-there doesn’t mean your husband is lazy. However, if more times than not, you hubby refuses to help you around the house or with the kids, he just may be a lazy person, who needs a fire lit under is butt (figuratively not literally) to get him to help out.

The good news is this article can provide you with some much-needed pointers on how to deal with a lazy husband, who refuses to help you with…well, anything really. The suggestions listed below will hopefully motivate your hubby to get up and help you with household and parenting responsibilities.

Things You Can Do to Get Your Hubby to Help Out

Listed below are ways you can inspire your husband to help you with household and parenting responsibilities:

Ask – Don’t Yell

If you want your hubby to do something, ask him. Don’t, however, yell at him out of frustration and anger. It’s irritating to ask your spouse fifteen-times to do something. only to come back later, and find he hasn’t done a thing! I get it.

But, yelling at your husband about what he’s not doing isn’t going to make him do anything. It’s only going to infuriate him to the point that he blocks you out. It could also lead to a knock-down-drag-out argument or he could get up and leave the house altogether. Then, what? You’re still stuck with the chores – and now, you have to contend with an angry husband.

So, ask him in a calm tone, if he can help you with this-or-that. Do not however, make demands, yell, or give him ultimatums, because it’ll backfire on you.

Note: Accept that you may have to remind your husband several times to get him motivated to do something, however, try to ask him each time with a pleasant tone (even if you have to bite your tongue to do so).

Make Him Believe He’s Your Real-Life Hero

A good way to get your spouse to stop being so lazy and help you is to make him believe he’s your real-life hero! In other words, explain to him that there are certain things like getting things off the top shelf of your closet, cleaning the gutters, mowing the lawn, etc.

Disclaimer: Women can also do these things, but the goal is to get your hubby to help you. So, make him believe there are things only he can do. It gets you the help you need and provides him with an ego boost.

Seriously, men like to feel needed, so if you can make him feel like you need him, he’ll be more inclined to help out. Once he sees the “extraordinary” things he can do simply by helping out a little or even sometimes, he’s more likely to continue to help, because it makes you happy and makes him feel good.

Be Appreciative

Also, don’t forget to be appreciative when your husband actually does something. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small – make a big production out of it. Praise him for a job well done. And, explain to him that you couldn’t have completed your tasks without him.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, right? The key to making this tip work? Be genuine about it. Don’t fake your enthusiasm, because he’ll be able to tell. He’s your husband, after all. He knows you. So, be genuinely appreciative and reward him with a treat of his choice for a job well done!

Be Considerate

You’ll also need to be considerate towards him. In other words, put yourself in his shoes. Would you want to houseclean after you’ve been working 10-hour shifts at work all week? Probably not. Should you still expect him to do something? Yes, even if it’s simply picking up after himself and/or taking out the trash.

Should you expect him to clean the whole house with you? No. He’s tired and probably stressed, so don’t ask more than he can emotionally and/or physically do. It will only lead to disappointment and frustration (on your end) and resentment and anger (on his). So, think about why he may be “acting lazy” before you give him a million tasks to complete. Then, praise, praise, and praise some more for the help you did get!

Accept That You’re Different

In other words, accept that you and your hubby are two different people. You were *probably* raised differently, and, as a result, you probably have different values and perceived levels of cleanliness. So, your husband may have been taught how to clean differently than you.

And, guess what? That’s perfectly okay – if it gets the job done. You don’t have to do everything the same to accomplish tasks.  Who says your way is the better way? No one. But, if you just don’t like the way your husband performs tasks – do them yourself. You want him to help you because you need the help, so be appreciative of the help he gives you, and thank him for helping out with the household and/or parenting tasks.

ADHD-marriage

Don’t Go Behind Your Husband – Fixing Things

The absolute worst thing you can do if you want your spouse to stop being so lazy and help you is to go behind his back – fixing things. Nothing irks a person (any person) worse than having someone go behind him or her, “redoing” things they have already done – not because it’s wrong, but because the other person simply doesn’t like the other your method or style. It can make your hubby feel like the little he is doing, isn’t appreciated or is somehow “not good enough” for you.

You may not like how your hubby puts the dirty dishes in the dishwasher – you face them one way, he the other way. But, try not to take them out and reposition them. I know it’s hard, but try not to, because it could cause him to stop putting them in the dishwasher altogether.

Rather, sit down and discuss how you’d like both of you to perform the task – i.e. which way you want the dirty dishes to face in the dishwasher. Then, you’re both on the same page. So, leave it be, and remind yourself that the only thing that really matters is the task gets completed.

Ask Him When He’s in a Good Mood

Lastly, if you want your husband to get up and do something, ask him when he’s in a good mood. The truth is everyone has those days when they’re just not in the best of moods. That’s also normal. How does that affect your husband from helping you? Well, if he’s in a bad mood, there a high chance he won’t help you with anything, because he’s just not in that mindframe.

But, if he’s in a pretty good mood, there’s a higher chance he will. So, wait and be patient until he’s in a good mood – then pounce on him. In other words, ask him to help you. Don’t be blunt about what you want him to do, rather, ease him into it by sharing with him something you’ve been struggling with. Because, he’s feeling good and happy, you may just get him to stop being lazy.

couples

In Summary…

Adjusting to each other’s mannerisms, quirks, pet-peeves, and habits, when you get married can be challenging. The truth is it takes time to sync-up with one another, and it takes even longer to discover the things you dislike about one another. This is especially true, if you only recently got married.

However, it can also be challenging if you’ve been married for a while. To have a successful marriage it is imperative that both spouses’ participate, in some way, in household and parenting tasks. In other words, both partners’ must pull their own weight to keep the marriage afloat. When one spouse is lazy or unmotivated to help out, it eventually leads to problems in the marriage.

The good news is laziness can be changed. It’s not a permanent state-of-mind. But, your hubby must be inspired to do so. And, unfortunately, you must be the one to inspire him. Yelling at, belittling, and demanding that he help you will not work, but asking him (even several times) in a polite and non-threatening way and being considerate and patient just might.

So, be creative and flexible, and keep at it, because persistence pays-off – even with a lazy husband.

Reference

Science Struck. (2019). Patriarchal Society: Definition, examples, and ill-effects. Retrieved from https://sciencestruck.com/patriarchal-society-definition-examples

The post My Husband is Very Lazy – How Can I Get Him to Help Me With Chores? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


Surviving Family Visits During The Holiday Season!

The post Surviving Family Visits During The Holiday Season! appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

“A merry heart does good like medicine.”
~Proverbs 17:22

The truth is family visits can be stressful, especially during the holiday season. Yes, it’s great to see some family members during the holidays; however… some family members may be a bit challenging. Regardless, the holiday season typically comes with some level of anxiety, especially if you are hosting a family gathering.

So, how can you figuratively and literally survive family visits during the holiday season? Is it even possible? Yes, it is! The key to surviving holiday family visits is to be patient, accept what you can and cannot do, plan ahead, gather a strong support system to help you if or when the “going gets rough,” and… drum roll, please… practice self-care.

In other words, make sure your needs are not dismissed or neglected during this crucial time. If you’re tired and worn-out due to a lack of rest and/or a poor diet, your temper, patience, energy, and mindframe will also be poor. In other words, you’ll become easily annoyed and upset at everyone and everything.

The good news is the holiday season doesn’t have to be anxiety-provoking or depressing, no; it could actually end-up being some of your best memories all year! All you have to do to minimize stress with your family is follow the awesome tips listed in this article!

Help is on the way!

How to Survive Family Visits During The Holidays

Listed below are ways to reduce or manage the stress of holiday family visits:

Go to Church

A good way to survive family visits during the holiday season is to go to church. Your church or one nearby may even host a special candlelight Christmas service. A church service can help ease your stress and calm your mind, so you’re better equipped to deal with anything that pops-up during the visits.

It’s also a good way to help you reconnect with a higher power, so you feel supported by something or someone greater than yourself. Lastly, going to church helps you remember why we celebrate Christmas – the birth of Christ. Thus, it’s a wonderful way to congregate with others, while being thankful for your blessings.

Note: If possible, ask and encourage your family members to attend church with you. The holiday season, especially because Christmas is a time of unconditional love and support, forgiveness, unity, and celebration. So, celebrate the birth of humanity with your loved ones in a place created just for Him!

Bible Verses to Help Your Marriage in Crisis

Be Realistic

In other words, don’t expect family members, who have never been easy to get along with to start behaving differently this year. Also, don’t expect family members, who have never gotten along to start holding hands and singing “Kum Ba Ya”– because it probably won’t happen. So, what can you do in this situation?

First, accept that things may not go as you hope. This may be hard to do, but it’s the only way you will survive family visits during the holiday season. Keep in mind that family visits like family members don’t have to be perfect for you to have amazing holiday visits. All you need to do to keep these visits pleasant is to accept that people will be people, no matter what you say or do.

So, try keeping things light during the visits. Number #1 rule – Stay far away from political and social issues. Nothing evokes the ire of family members like talking about controversial issues. It can cause a happy visit to turn sour in a matter of minutes. So, stay away from these topics during these times.

But, what if family members bring them up? Then, nod and quickly change the subject. Keep changing the subject until they get the message – you don’t want to discuss these things during your visit. If that doesn’t work, politely remove yourself from the situation.

Don’t, however, become frustrated, angry, or upset at your family members – if you can help it. Use every interaction as an opportunity to grow as a person, and as a family member – even if it’s hard.

Deep Breathe & Practice Mindfulness

You’d be naïve to think, that something wouldn’t happen that rattles you during your holiday visits with family members. So, what should you do when that happens? Practice deep breathing and mindfulness. What is mindfulness and how do you practice it? Mindfulness is a state-of-mind – a form of meditation. You practice it by going somewhere quiet and private, sitting down, taking a couple of deep breaths to center yourself, and conjuring-up positive images, words, or phrases.

Mindfulness helps you acknowledge your feelings and emotions during challenging situations, like a relative complaining that “you don’t come around anymore” or that your “mashed potatoes are dry,” without becoming angry or upset by the inconsiderate comments. The goal of mindfulness is to help you attain a calmer state-of-being, by replacing negative images and thoughts with happier and more peaceful and positive ones.

So, when something upsetting occurs during a family visit, briefly remove yourself from the situation (go to the restroom or an empty bedroom), take a few deep breaths, and practice mindfulness until you feel calmer. This will help you view the situation as a “causal onlooker” instead an angry or upset participant.

This takes practice, but once you master it, it will help you survive visits with family during the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

If you know a family visit is going to be challenging, plan ahead for it. In other words, think about what you’re going to talk about – in advance. For instance, if a family member is very political, think of ways to redirect his or her attention by bringing up less controversial topics.

If one family member doesn’t like another one, plan to visit each one separately, or if you’re having a family gathering try to keep each one busy doing separate tasks, like having one help in the kitchen, while the other one helps the kids with crafts, or sets the table for dinner.

The truth is a little planning can go a long way in easing your stress and keeping the peace in your family. So, do yourself a favor and plan ahead for family visits during the holiday season!

Note: If you are fixing meals for family visits, you may want to call ahead to your relatives to see if there are any dietary restrictions for them or their children, and to inquire about favorite foods, etc. Hopefully, this will make dinners more agreeable for everyone.

Try to Forgive!

This may be difficult, especially if you have been hurt or disappointed by these same family members in the past, but it’s important for your own survival – and sanity during holiday visits with family. Remember, the thing that makes the holiday season and Christmas so special is it’s a time for unity and forgiveness. So, try to let past hurts go and look at each year as a “new beginning” for you and them.

Note: Forgiving is more for you than the family members, who have “wronged” you in the past. In other words, let go of the cross you have been carrying on your shoulders since your fall-out with family.

Aren’t you tired of carrying around that tremendous weight? Yes! So, let it go by forgiving those, who have “wronged” you. Make that your Christmas present to them. Give yourself and them the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas. With the power of forgiveness and the Grace of God, you will survive these holiday visits!

Practice Self-Care

Lastly, don’t forget to practice self-care because it’s important every day, but especially during the holiday season! Family visits don’t have to freak you out or cause you stress. No, the key to de-stressing from family visits during the holiday season is to focus on your happiness, health, and well-being.

What does that look like? It looks like making sure you are eating lots of healthy foods, getting enough rest, going to doctor’s appointments, spending time with positive people, who make you feel good, going on dates your with partner, practicing stress-management techniques, like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation and yoga, taking a hot bath every evening, sipping on an alcoholic beverage, egg nog, or hot chocolate after a stressful visit, devoting time for a spa treatment, getting regular exercise, etc.

Basically, do things that re-center you and spark joy in your life. This could even mean spending time alone doing what you want to do, or doing things that have been neglected during the holiday season like going shopping or spending time with friends or pets!

Note: You can’t be your best self if you’re unwell, tired, frustrated, or stressed, so don’t forget to practice self-care – before and after family visits!

In Summary…

If you find visits with family during the holiday season highly stressful, you’re not alone. In fact, research suggests that approximately 90% of people view this time of the year anxiety-provoking and approximately 24% of these individuals experience the most stress during holiday visits with family. Yikes! The good news is a little extra effort can go a long way before, during, and after these visits. In other words, going to church, being realistic, engaging in deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, planning ahead, forgiving, and practicing self-care can reduce your stress and help you survive holiday visits with loved ones! Happy Holidays!

Reference

  1. Shader, M. (2011). Americans’ top holiday dread—being nice makes the list. Consumer Report. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/11/americans-top-holiday-dreads-mdash-being-nice-makes-the-list/index.htm

The post Surviving Family Visits During The Holiday Season! appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


How to Recover After a Bad Fight

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/

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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/

 

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


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