Marriage is not always sunshine and rainbows. If you walked into marriage feeling that was the bar that you had to meet, let’s abolish that thought. Marriage, just like everything in life, goes through seasons. It’s the same in motherhood, where there are times it feels like everything is smooth sailing and then something happens and you're thinking, “I don't know what the hell I'm doing.”
Marriage goes through seasons as well. There is so much pressure put on a marriage. We expect our partners to be a certain way and to meet our expectations and make us happy. We're not always doing this intentionally though. Sometimes it's very much unintentional. Even being a marriage coach, I go through this as well. I was subconsciously expecting my spouse to do things I never shared I wanted or I had this unrealistic expectation that I was holding over him.
Where Are You in Your Marriage?
We have so much shit going on all the time: kids, work, family, friends, etc. It's easy to become complacent and just accept things as they are. I want you to be real with yourself and be brutally honest and assess how things are going.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to your marriage:
Is Your Spouse Your Teammate?
This is the time to be honest. Do you feel more like co-parenting roommates instead of being in a relationship together, where you create new memories and enjoy the time that you have together? Do you see your partner as your teammate? If you are not able to see your partner as your teammate, that's a huge problem. Life is always going to have things that come up where you need to work through them. Having someone on your side through those moments makes a huge difference.
When you don’t see your spouse as your teammate that creates a lot of drama that does not need to exist. It creates more conflict because you don’t notice when they're trying to support you, or vice versa, they may not notice that you're trying to support them. It can seem that everything you say comes off wrong because you’re choosing to see each other as enemies, rather than partners.
How open are you and your spouse? Are things pretty surface level where you're just talking about who's going to do what for the kids, chores, job, etc.? Or are you sharing how you feel, what you desire, your goals, and how things are really doing? Do you go beyond “how are you?”
Are you and your spouse having heart-to-heart conversations where you feel like you are getting to know your spouse on a deeper level? Are you allowing yourself to be seen? This is not always easy, however, it's essential to grow as a couple.
Do you feel like you're growing as a couple?
Conflict cannot be avoided in marriage. Conflict isn’t always a bad thing, in fact, conflict can be used as a catalyst for growth.
Is conflict in your marriage being utilized as a way to get to know yourself better and to get to know them better? Are you both getting to know how to work together so that you can become a stronger unit? Or is conflict being used as a weapon and confirmation that marriage is hard?
Marriage has hard times; however, marriage does not need to be hard.
If you're in that place where you feel like marriage is hard, it’s just how it is and everyone around you is also subscribing to this belief, then you need to reevaluate your surroundings. Hang out with different people and invite different approaches to how you handle things. Things in life can be hard, but it is in the way that we choose to see the issues and how we choose to tackle these issues is what makes all the difference.
While conflict is not comfortable and can be hard to deal with, it doesn't have to be the end of your marriage. You can use this time as a growing opportunity.
Ask yourself these questions:
If you aren’t happy with some of your answers, it means that something needs to change. It doesn't mean that your marriage is doomed. It’s a sign that something needs to shift. It can be you doing the work to change your approach or maybe becoming more attuned to your own needs so that you can communicate better. It can be about communicating better in general and working on your communication skills.
I want you to take the time to ask yourself all these questions. This would be a great time to journal it out. Be honest with yourself and figure out where you want to be in your marriage.
If you're feeling lost in your marriage, and you know that you're unhappy, but you don't know what to do next, there are so many resources out there that are available to help you navigate through this.
From blogs to books to courses/programs to working 1:1 with a professional.
Just because you don’t know what else to do, does not mean you are doomed. All it takes is having the intention for your marriage to grow and getting the support that you need.
It’s not your fault you weren’t taught how to have a successful marriage, but thankfully it’s learnable. So if you desire to have a successful marriage, it’s time to figure out your next steps.
If your next step is working with me, I want you to know that your happiness is truly my priority. I care about whether you are living your best life.
As a marriage coach, I am not here to tell you to stay in your marriage just to be married. That does not serve you, your spouse or your kids. Your kids need a happy parent more than they need you to stay together just to stay together. Whatever path you feel like you need to go down, have the courage to put yourself first and have the courage to prioritize your growth and happiness because everyone wins when you do that. It might not feel that way in the short term but authentic happiness is key.