As this new year begins, I know many of you will be reflecting on the state of your married life.
Many will conclude they have not been happy for a while, and 2022 is the year to change that; enough really is enough!
Hasn’t there been enough pain and suffering?
Shouldn’t life be full of fun, excitement and new adventures, not the substandard groundhog existence many seem to settle for?
In some people’s minds, the solution to that problem could be divorce, but are they right? Is this the best solution, or are they missing the point and heading for more problems?
Other people will want to know how to make their failing relationship work because they remain stuck in a never-ending loop of disconnect, cycling from anger to frustration to sadness and wondering why me, which makes them frustrated and angry all over again.
What should they do?
Are they wasting their time, or are they not seeing the real problems, which is why they can’t solve them.
Others will be totally lost, unsure what they want, all they know is what they’ve had so far, and they don’t want that again.
Others will have given up who they are for their marriage to work only to be devastated that even that isn’t enough for their partner.
This leaves them with a dilemma of “is it me? Is it you? How do I make sense of this”?
Some are horribly stuck. They are afraid of their marriage failing (better the devil, you know) whilst also being afraid of it working.
They don’t know what to trust. Many end up wondering in the end if they can even trust themselves.
Some people who can see their partner emotionally exiting the marriage and verbally touting the idea of divorce can find themselves jolted into making massive changes to save the marriage.
On the one hand, they can make great changes but, the problem with sudden changes is their partner won’t trust them, so they are both going nowhere.
Is it too little too late for those couples?
I have also seen in the past two years that COVID has wreaked havoc on many relationships.
Being forced together has highlighted, accelerated and compounded their problems.
Is it good they now know the truth, or are they seeing that as a sign they are ill-suited and if they do, are they right?
I hope that normal life can soon resume. Time, of course, will tell.
But to be honest, COVID or not, the steady flow of couples who hit crisis doesn’t change, and there is a good reason.
Keeping a marriage alive is a skill many have yet to learn and many are unaware there is even a skill needed.
And this is the problem; people don’t look for something if they don’t know it exists.
Couples in crisis are usually in crisis because they do not understand their real problems.
They cycle through their conflict/disconnected patterns, they know how it starts and the path they will take and where it always ends up and no one ends up happy.
One lady whose marriage was saved said the solution they received was a total surprise because they were trying to fix the wrong problem and didn’t know.
They had to go through this process below to uncover what they couldn’t see before.
Look at the four stages they went through to see if their marriage could work again
- Unconscious Incompetence – I don’t know what I need to know to keep my marriage alive.
- Conscious Incompetence – I now know what I didn’t know that could of kept my marriage alive.
- Conscious Competence – I’m now consciously practising what I know could keep it alive.
- Unconscious Competence – the new re-connection pattern is formed so it will feel natural now. Keeping it alive is now easier.
Most people in relationships, especially those not working, are at Stage 1.
This is their danger; they are unaware their thinking is insufficient to keep them emotionally safe in a relationship, yet many are convinced they are right.
They blame their problems on their partner leaving them only to run the same lack of knowledge Stage 1 in a new relationship.
They will do this until they question themselves as one 60-year-old lady who did this with three marriages until she asked the question “am I the problem”?
Relationship building isn’t rocket science, but couples’ thinking has to shift significantly to make it last.