Marriage Survival – Before, During, and After a Fight

We all fight. It is part of marriage survival.  You husband will get angry or annoyed with you over any number of things.  Or, if you are a guy visiting this article, you can be assured that your wife is not immune from fighting with you about all kinds of issues.  You have heard it all, right?  Hell has no fury than a woman’s scorn….Don’t be glad if a women is mad.  If you have not watched “War of the Roses” and need a good laugh and a lesson of what not to do, then check it out!

Surviving Fights in Your Marriage

So the question is what do we do when we feel a fight coming on.  How do we maintain a relationship….a marriage….such that there is an understanding of how the husband and wife should behave if a fight should ensue?

You should also understand what kind of things you can do during a fight that will keep the fight fair.  A husband and wife lobbing insults and resorting to making ugly assertions will accomplish little in growing their marriage.

Marriages are Torn Down When Fighting Ensues

The idea of a marriage is to build the relationship, not tear it down.  So learning how to handle yourselves during a fight is critical.  The damage caused from fighting unfair and not knowing how to diffuse emotions when they rise high, can threaten the very survival of your marriage.

This is particularly the case when fights become commonplace. Some people think that it is OK to fight and fuss as it builds character and helps people let off steam . The thinking is that couples in a marriage can survive fighting because it makes them  stronger.  It helps them relieves them of stress.  Ummmm, really!

I know of a husband and wife team that were of the opinion that fighting is simply a part of their way of communicating.  They told me that sometimes they hold things back and are afraid to tell their husband or wife and that when they get into the fighting mood, they just let it loose.  When all the dust settles, even if they have suffered wounds, they have good sex and all is well in their marriage.  Ummm, can you say, “delusional”!

Personally, I think that they are walking a marriage survival tight rope with this kind of attitude for fighting.  There is no doubt that stress can easily build and sometimes spouses will need to find a way to get rid of it.  But hoping that a fight will unfold in order to open up communication channels or planning to have word by word combat with your lover is playing with fire that will in time threaten the stability of your marriage.

So if you come from an upbringing or have a philosophy where it is perfectly OK to let it loose with your wife or husband and you think that by doing so it will make things better….think again because you will eventually find yourself enveloped in marital quicksand.

Marriages That Work are Like Banks

Think of your interactions with your husband or wife as a endless series of transactions.  You can make deposits or you can make withdrawals, just like at a bank.

Think of fighting with your marriage partner as a withdrawal from your love bank.  For the marriage to thrive…we are talking way beyond marital survival here…..then the relationship you share with your lover should be within a culture of positive exchanges.

We are talking making frequent deposits.  When a couple is engaged in destructive and irresponsible marriage fights,  the emotional and behavioral experiences they are having leading up to the fight, during the fight, and often at the end of the fight will weigh on the survival of the relationship.

The negative experiences and bad memories will collect and negatively imprint on the couple’s psyche, often times on one of the marriage partners more than the other.  So if you are of the mind that it is perfectly fine to fuss and fight frequently with your spouse and if this behavior has become commonplace in your marriage, then I cannot tell you enough that you are violating one of the most important rules of marriage….”Thou shall not frequently fight with my spouse”.

Or there exceptions to this rule?  Sure, I know of some couples that are very secure with who they are and what they are about and while the frequency of their fights were far too high by my guidelines, they still enjoyed a functionally successful marriage.

But such couples are usually the exception to the rule.  Most couples cannot withstand the damage that is done when fights with their spouse becomes too commonplace.  It is both emotionally and physically unhealthy to frequently give in to the temptation of our “bad” desires.  Indeed it is both selfish, short sighted to drag your lover over the coals.

Fighting With Your Lover is Difficult to Always Avoid

Now, with all that said, I think we would all agree that to a large extent fighting with your lover cannot be avoided.  It will happen.  We are not robots and cannot always contain our pent up emotions. Something can happen suddenly that causes you to become so angry with your spouse that it becomes nearly impossible to not launch into some fit of anger.

After all, we are all creatures of the animal kindom with the most complex emotions of any animal on this planet.  You throw all that complexity around within the framework of marriage and things can go bat sh#t crazy at times.

Our past histories can get dredged up and that can serve as a springboard for some of the rawest of emotions that in themselves trigger conflict.  Show me a marriage and I will show you two people who love each other, but who are never completely compatible in every situation and who will give, at times, to the urge to argue and fight.

Surviving the Urge to Wage Battle in Your Marriage

So let’s discuss some of the things you can do before a fight gets underway.  You usually know it before it happens, right?  You can feel the urge welling up in you to launch an attack or preemptive attack on your wife or husband over whatever.

The feeling to let things loose may start to well up inside of you minutes before an actual argument begins. Or it can be one of those marital situations that has been building for days and you just “know” that it is going to end up into a fight.

Then again, it can be that other marital thing.  It can be a case where you are picking up little clues that your wife or husband is getting fussy or edgy.  There are unusually telltale signs that informs you that a fight is brewing….that conflict with your spouse is just around the corner.

Stopping the Relationship Conflict Before It Gets Started

What can one do before a fight gets underway to stop it?  If you pick up on any of these warning signs that hell may be breaking loose, then I would suggest you “name it”.

What does that mean?

Essentially, what I am talking about is speaking the words like, “honey, I feel we are about to fight“.  Name what about to happen before it can get underway.  While this is not 100% effective, it can go a long ways in deflating the urge to fight.

What you would rather see happen is the fight gets avoided and is replaced with a calmer discussion.  Even if it is a robust or somewhat emotional conversation you are having with you spouse, that is much better than letting things evolve into a full fledged marital dispute.

After “naming” the potential for a fight, you should go further and underscore why arguing is counter productive and painful.  Take the opportunity to point out that waging a fight will be painful to both of you is important.  Tell your spouse something like, “Honey, it hurts me inside so much when we fight.  I am afraid we will say awful things to each other“.

By giving the prospect of a fight a “face” and using words to explain why that behavior is personally destructive helps with stopping the fight in its track.  You see, when we resort to our fight ways in marriage, it is often done without foresight or the recognition of the damage it can cause to our spouse, ourselves, and the marriage.

Your fighting urges don’t care about feelings.  Fighting urges don’t care about acting responsible.  Such urges only care about getting out…rearing its ugly head. Your fighting urges are selfish.  So if you appeal to your wife or husband while they are still mostly in control of their emotional center and urges…..and reason with them and explain to them the consequences of a potential fight, you might just be able to head off the conflict before it emerges.

Your Fight Has Started – How do you Stop It?

So what is one to do if the fight is underway? How can you tame the ugliness that sometimes unfolds when a married couple starts banging heads?  Well, I have some basic tips you should follow.   I talk about them extensively in my post that deals with the 5 Principles of an Successful Marriage.

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

Let me summarize a few ideas that I believe can help a married couple. First, be reminded that when you fight with your marriage partner, you both lose.  No matter how the fight turns out or who declares themselves as the winner or the person that was “right”, just be reminded that you have both lost when a fight starts and the experience itself is usually not healthy for the relationship.

This is a case in which one of the spouses can declare themselves as being “so right”, but in reality they are so “wrong”.  At the beginning stages of the fight, remind your spouse of this fact.  Tell them that we are hurting our relationship and should calm down and stop fighting.

Another practical suggestion to help diffuse a marital fight as it gets underway is to call a time out, particularly as things get heated.  Simply tell your wife or husband, “I love you and I hate fighting.  Let’s just calm a time out for 15 minutes, then resume our discussion.”  It may sound like it won’t work, but just try it.

Remember, it takes two to argue, so if one of the parties simply walks away, refusing to participate in the ugliness of verbal conflict, it is pretty hard for a fight to gain any real traction.

The Fight is Over – What Now?

So what about after the fight?

Things can go in all different directions immediately following the verbal fisticuffs with your spouse.  The argument can lead to tears.  Brooding and anger can remain under the surface and boil up into another fight.  The discussion may have been diffused due to sheer exhaustion, leaving both parties fatigued and dazed. Or the couple may have ended the fight without resolving the issue leaving a bitter taste in the air.

I advocate that when a fight is over, give your spouse some time to process things for 10 to 15 minutes (maybe less time depending on the situation).  Sometimes we need some personal time to ourselves to sort things out and work out some of the raging thoughts that could be left in our minds.

Once the emotions have settled back down and most, if not all of the ugly aftermath thoughts are gone, this is the time to allow your love for each other to come to the forefront.  One or preferably both of you should be motivated to reach out and express your sincere regret for allowing things to break down to such an extent that a fight occurred.

Offering your sincerest regrets and express that you are sorry for the role you played in all the fussing and underscore the importance of not allowing conflict to rule your emotions in the future.  This will help repair some of the damage done.

I encourage you to take a few moments and comment below on whatever marital experience you might be undergoing.  I would like to hear from you and will be happy to respond!

 

What Works to Make a Happy, Joyful & Fulfilled Marriage

Just about every day I will get a question on one of my websites about what works to make for a happy and successful marriage or relationship.  People are often looking for the special rules they can follow to bring bliss and joy to their marital lives.  More often than not, a couple will go through the typical marriage up and downs and when they find themselves in a valley, it is not unusual for one or both relationship partners to seek answers.

Make a happy marriage

It is interesting what we do when we seek happiness.  We instinctively know when things are not right and instead of wallowing in pain and suffering, the typical action a devoted spouse will take is to seek out a solution.  Sometimes that involves turning to a friend for help with our marriage.  Though that can be awkward as we may not be comfortable talking about our marriage woes to just anybody.  A wife or husband could turn to their family for advice and counsel, but I see even less of this because our marriage problems and lack of happiness is just not something we want to drag our family into.

So what are we to do when we are trying to make things work out a lot better with our spouse?

What Can You Do To Make Your Marriage One of the Happy Ones!

Sometimes we think a marriage counselor might work.  But a lot of people have told me stories about how they tried, but it didn’t work.  Finding the right marital counselor that really knows their stuff and can connect with both husband and wife is not always a sure thing.

Utilizing a marriage therapist or counselor also pre-supposes that both husband and wife agree that they want a 3rd party to help them and that is not always the case.  The couple may think their problems….the barriers to marriage happiness are not enough to cause them to get help from a trained psychologist or marriage counselor.  Plus, they may not be able to afford the marriage counseling sessions. Just raising the topic with the wife or husband might create undue anxiety or even contribute to yet another conflict.

These days, a lot of relationship partners turn to a book or the internet looking for help.  Undoubtedly, their are several good resources out there that can help a couple get back on track and better understand their problems.  Even if just one of the marriage partners is seeking insights, ideas, or a plan on how to improve their marriage, going it solo as far as reading and educating oneself can be helpful.

But where does one start?  There are all kinds of articles out there and a lot of different advice on what a couple should do to maximize their happiness.  Since I own 3 websites that focus on relationship issues and write extensively about the topic, allow me to point you in the right direction.

You see,  if you read a lot about how to get your marriage back in order or how to recover from a bad marriage, you are likely to ran across all kinds of ideas….possibly many dozens of suggestions.

You may even get some marriage tips and recommendations that are so far out there, that you may start second guessing if you should even try some of these wild notions.  If you find yourself gravitating to ideas like “psychic touch” marriage therapy or methods like linking up horoscopes or pursuing other magical sounding solutions, then I would advise you steer clear of these kinds of marital remedies, unless you are looking for a laugh.  Well now hold it!  Laughing with your marital partner is great therapy.  It truly is.  So if you want to try some of these things just for the fun of it, go for it!

It is also likely you will run across what I call the “top lists” relationship solutions. Typically the author of such an article might explain that putting all the pieces of your marriage back together is as easy as implementing these 15 steps (or top 10 tactics).  Ummm.  I am not so keen on these kind of articles.  I will tell you in a minute!

In some ways, I think it is a good thing to have more than a few ideas to work with because after all, marriages are complex entities.  I mean, after all, your relationship is essentially the sum total of what you and your husband or wife put into it.  And what people are willing to offer or what they are capable of bringing to the relationship can vary widely.

And not every marriage is impacted by the same issues and stresses. It is true that sometimes life can deal us a bad hand and the same can be said about your marriage in many ways.  After all, you don’t really get to choose your in laws and that has been known to create some stresses.  Nor does every couple start on equal footing when it comes to the evolution of their marriage.  For some partners, finances can be a big problem from the get go.  Health issues can create its own host of problems.  If children are part of the marriage equation in those early days, then rest assured that the typical stresses and anxieties of life will be compounded (though that can be offset by some terrific and fulfilling moments and experiences).

So when we talk about what makes a marriage good and the things we should focus on to bring that about, just know that this is a very complex subject and the challenges and solutions are different depending on the people involved and the circumstances each couple is operating under.

But what if I told you that there are some proven principles, that if you embrace and put into practice, can really help your marriage grow in strength.  No one can promise you that every single thing in your marriage will fall in place and that if you only implement these 10 or 20 steps, all will be good.

Good Marriages Focus on the High Hard Ones

First of all, it is impractical to expect people to be able to effectively implement many, many things.  If I was to talk to my relationship clients about executing 15 steps to improve their marital lives, their eyes would glaze over and I am pretty sure they will give up from sheer exhaustion of trying so many things.  That would be spreading out your efforts.  I think of doing such things as  the “thin” slice of marriage remedies.  It all sounds good, but what would be more meaningful is knowing the top things to focus on.

Fortunately, to make progress in improving your marital situation, you need not implement a ton of things.  Indeed, in my view you are better served if you focus on what I call the “high hard ones”.  Not that these principles that I am about to talk about are necessarily hard or difficult to implement.  What I mean is that there are some things you should be doing in your marriage that are so important…so vital…that they rise to the top of the totem pole.

They are the rock solid solutions that will help you advance your relationship to the next level.  Such principles, when implemented, can help a couple enormously get over their anger issues or communication breakdowns and bring the focus around to the bigger picture of what really matters.

The Golden Synergistic Marriage Principle

I have written an article about this topic elsewhere on the site which you can find here:

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage: Fixing Your Relationship 101

The first principle and by far the most important principle that will help you arrive at a quality marriage is practicing, religiously, the wisdom of being “kind” to each other.

There have been studies evaluating married couples and the one common denominator that all successful couples shared is they are kind to each other, both in terms of words, gestures, and body language.  If there was only one thing you could improve and do an extraordinary job of adopting into your marriage, then  it would be practicing kindness day in and day out.

You see, kindness is more than just a word or a thought.  To make a marriage fall within that good to great range, then kindness should be a way of life.  Clearly, it is easier said than done.  But if you wanted a little magic today….real magic based on science and empirical relationship research, then let kindness prevail in the ways you and your wife or husband interact each and every day.

The second principle, which is critical but often overlooked, deals with making sure the relationship partners make time, alone, with each other.  That means, not being interrupted by others.  It does not have to be any special place or environment. The idea is that spending time together, alone, can create a powerful and lasting bond.  Even if you just sit near each other and read for an hour without other interruptions, it makes a difference.  Making love together counts as time together, alone.  Going out someplace, preferably a quite place so you can talk about things and connect about events happening in your life, is yet another example.

A third principle you and your spouse should adopt deals with making time for yourself.  Too often in marriages, the prevailing notion is that husband and wife need to spend all their free time together.  The thinking is that the more time you spend with your spouse, the more you will appreciate and value their company.

I think this is true to some extent, particularly as it applies to spending time, alone, with your wife or husband.  But we need a life of our own and we should all have personal aims and goals we strive to achieve.  And to the extent that your wife or husband can support you in attaining these personal objectives almost always indirectly supports the strengthening of your marriage.

A fourth principle deals with getting out of the box with your communications. We often hear about the importance of communications in a relationship.  When one or the other marriage partners fail to open up and talk and share, then this usually leads to future problems.

One’s comfort with open communications is a highway to improving marital success.  If you desire to have a happy marriage, better yet a continuous strengthening of your relationship, then I think a couple needs to get out of the box with their communications.

I am talking about making your communications with your spouse more trans formative.  This is where I get into this discussion of synergy.  You see, all five of these principles that I am discussing have a synergistic relationship.  This means each support the other and can be integrated within the other.  They are all connected.  If one of the principles is poorly implemented, then that can impact the other principles and likewise can set your marriage back.

Part of being a good communicator is not so much about frequency.  Rather the focus should be on quality.  A good marriage is about two people saying nice things to each other…kind things being shared back and forth.  That in itself can be a hugely transformative event.

You do remember the first principle we discussed, right?

It is all about practicing kindness and showing appreciation to our spouse on a daily basis.  If you do this within your verbal and non verbal communications with your wife or husband, then look out…your marriage has the potential of being fantastic.

The fifth principle that can go a long ways in making your marriage better is seeking to revitalize your marriage.  One of the the most common pitfalls married couples make is choosing to shoot par for the course.

Now what the heck does that mean?

Essentially, even solid marriages can get…..well…..a bit too settled.  Things can come easy and routines….even if they are good and safe routines…can get just a bit too familiar and a bit too safe.

For a marriage to thrive, it needs to evolve.  If you want a good….check that….a “great” marriage, then you need to start thinking about doing some things differently.  Now,  I am not talking about changing everything about what makes the two of you “work“.  Not at all.  What I am advocating though is that you and your wife or husband, whatever the case may be, need to usher in some excitement into your marriage.

Go on a second honeymoon……try doing something you have never done before….explore some new, sexually oriented experiences with each other….go on a hot air balloon ride….start off, even if you are relatively a still young couple, on knocking out some of the items on your “bucket list”.  Whatever you choose to do, decide together and change things up to keep the marriage and your interactions with each other fresh, challenging, thrilling, and fulfilling.

It is through successfully implementing these 5 synergistic principles of marriage that you and the love of your life can make good on your promise to each other to rock each other’s life in the most beautiful and satisfying ways.

 

What Happens When All the Love Goes out of a Marriage

The other day I was standing on a corner of the street when I saw something that saddened me.  There was a young couple nearby that were arguing.  They appeared to be married and were probably once very much in love.  Then it happened, the woman, presumably the wife, turned to her husband and told him that she hated their marriage.  Her voice rose high above all of the traffic noise and declared that their marriage was a sham and that it so happened that she never really did love him.  And then she went on to tell him it was all over and that she never wanted to see or speak to him again.

Should we fear that the end is near for this couple?  Should we fear that love has abandoned this young couple?

Fear of losing the love

Love, Hate, and Other Passions of Marriage

So if there was ever a time for one to ask what happens when all the love goes out of the marriage, this was it.  I was watching the beginning of a marriage meltdown.  Some people who watched such an event might fear for the couple’s future.  Or perhaps, these two had been struggling before.  Just maybe they had had been fussing and fighting for weeks or months, such that the love from the marriage had  slowly ebbed away.  At least so it seemed.

Then again, I had another thought about this obvious marital strife that the couple was experiencing.  This thought emerged from a lot of my experience with couples who have been in similar situations

I thought, just perhaps what I was witnessing was not a marriage being split in two.  I reasoned that it was probably not likely, particularly given the age of this young couple….they looked to be in their mid 20s….that not all was lost in their relationship.  Rather, it seemed to me that something else was happening.  And it was not that the love between this couple had suddenly just upped and disappeared from their lives.

No, on the contrary, what I was witnessing was a passionate, emotional temper fest.  Yep, that is what I call these things when they unfold either in private or public.  One or both of the marriage partners can get pushed so far to their emotional edge that they can literally become unglued and in the process tear down each other and the marriage with it while they are at it.

The slippery slope of anger and conflict that takes a hold of a couple can create many bad experiences, memories and routines.  Once you become accustomed to simply giving in to the urges to fight with your husband or wife, think of these emotional urges as withdrawals from the trust bank of love.  You only have so much love that is built up and like a beautiful and magnificent structure, a loving marriage is built over time, brick by brick….one loving gesture and the next.

But when a couple starts hacking away at this beautiful structure they worked so hard to build through their labors of love and trust and forgiveness, the foundation of this relationship can begin to shake.  And while it may not necessarily topple over all at once, the strain on the structure of the marriage will cause harm.  If repairs are not made, quickly, then more damage can be occur.

This is the way in which a marriage becomes painful for both partners.  A relationship devoid of kindness, consideration, and respect is facing some pretty strong headwinds.  These kind of relationships usually don’t just happen overnight, but rather it is a process that happens over time.

I have talked to a lot of couples and is both ironic and sad that many of them actually understand what is happening to them.  They can see that their marriage is being torn and chipped away by their actions.  Yet they are so caught up in their routines and reluctant to make a meaningful change to shake them lose from their poor relationships habits of selfishness and inflexibility, it is as if they are caught up in some kind of marriage blunder trap that won’t let loose of them.

What I described is obviously not the ideal marriage relationship when a couple has lost all trust and every day seems to be a repetition of mistakes from the past. So how can love be found again when the husband and wife struggle to even show that they “like” each other?

Can Your Love for Husband or Wife Just Disappear?

I think that this notion that love has completely deserted a marriage is just a lot of bunk. If the two people have spent a good bit of time with each other in marriage, then undoubtedly they have forged many experiences together as a couple.  Some if not most of these experiences have some positive outcomes and memories associated with them.  Think of these moments in your past as marriage bonding agents.   And while there may come a time in which your wife or husband may get very upset and declare that “all is lost” and the marriage is “over”.  You should know that it is much more likely that your spouse is speaking from the voice of anger or resentment or frustration.  They would be using the right side of their brain….the emotional side.  This part of the brain, unlike the logical left side, is responsible for a lot of our passions, excitement, and outbursts.

Once love is created and exists for any meaningful period of time in the life of a couple, it just doesn’t go AWOL.  Love is not one of these fickle things that comes and goes like the rising and setting of the sun.

Your love for your wife or husband, while it may not be eternal, is a powerful force to reckon with.  It can be used to do a great many good things, including resurrecting a bad or broken marriage.  And ironically, the bond of love in a married couple’s life can also serve to create passions that can strike in “not so nice” ways.

This is because when you fall in love with your wife or husband and have been with your spouse for a good number of years and shared experiences (good and bad) with this individual, you are in effect creating a history.

Now it can be argued that heightened passions that frequently lead to conflict can be the undoing of a marriage.  But if you ask me, I would much rather be dealing with a couple whose passions and feelings run deep.  There are two sides to the sword of passion.  One side can cut and hurt, the other can carve out the most wonderful of life experiences.  When a couple is filled with passion, it shows they care and if these feelings and motivations are directed in the right way, then much good can come of them.  But like a wild horse, passions must be bridled and controlled to some extent.  Or you can get the sidewalk scene between the arguing couple I was describing earlier in this post.

So, if you ever think that your marriage is loveless or that love has abandoned your relationship, pinch yourself, because it is rarely true.  Couples can go through cycles, just as an individual mood can be altered.  Various life experiences coupled other relationship variables can cause a marriage to fall on hard times and it may appear that no end is in sight.  But I want you to understand that the feelings and the emotions we experience can sometimes conspire to overwhelm our “perspective”.

So when an argumentative couple comes to me and tells me that there is little love left between them, my response is usually that they may be blind to their own relationship truth.  The lack of love is seldom the problem.  It is more often the ugly, selfish, mean spirited, and unforgiving behaviors that we can easily fall victim to.  Love is present, but can be hidden away when these other undesirable and unkind behaviors take over the stage of life.

Just think about it for a moment.  The whole notion of love just draining out of a marriage doesn’t make much sense.  During the courtship phase, the two of you spent considerable time getting to know each other and learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  In the vast majority of marriages, couples did not just walk in blind.  You come to know a lot about your partner and over time, each of you decide that you like what you see.  Indeed, you liked what you saw in and ultimately got married.

None of these decisions were made in a vacuum.  Both husband and wife took measure of all the things they liked or disliked about their partner and decided to make a commitment.  That is how marriages are formed.  Two people come to know each other and accept everything they see in the partner, whether it is a virtue or vice, and join together to face life together.

So my point is love just does not disappear suddenly because of fights or other hardships.  Love, while it may not be eternal, is stubbornly loyal and that is a good thing for marriage.  Why?  Because in all marriages, somewhere along the way the couple will encounter problems  and if love went rushing out the door…..well, there would be a lot of divorces and separations.

So the next time you think that your spouse no longer loves you, think twice.  Usually the problem is not with the love that is continuously forged between the two of you. What is more often the problem is the behaviors that the couple exhibit.  It is the ways in which you talk to each other.  The problems in marriage are found in the way you treat each other.

This is what you want to spend you time thinking about.  Do yourself a favor.  The next time you convince yourself that love has abandoned the marriage.  Give yourself a good slap across the face and be reminded that love rarely just dissolves away.   You have many opportunities to improve the marriage and build upon the love that exists between you and your lover.  Focus on those tangible things I call “relationship makers”.

A relationship maker is when you and your spouse embrace a principle that can grow your love and create incredibly strong bonds.  And the amazing news for you is that relationship makers are not complicated or confusing or difficult to implement.  All you need is a dose of commitment.

Throughout my website, I talk about the importance of showing kindness.  Exchanging a kind word or glance with your marriage partner and doing it consistently is a step in the right direction.  It is the most powerful of “relationship makers” because it can help you in all aspects of your marriage.  Whether it be the quality of your communications or sexual experiences, embracing the principle of kindness is in every respect a “maker” of your relationship.  Failing to act with kindness or appreciation is a “breaker” of relationships.

Let me leave you with a few final thoughts.  Would you rather spend your time breaking down your relationship by interjecting unkind or cruel remarks and behaviors in your marriage?  If you follow such a path, then you certainly flirting with “breaking” the love the two of your worked so hard to develop.  Or would you rather adopt the principle of kindness and frequently compliment your spouse or show appreciation and respect for the thing they tell you?  If you follow that path, all the data and research out there suggest you and your loving partner will enjoy many successful years of marriage.  And if you have children, they will model their behaviors after you.

There are a lot of things we can do to tear down a marriage.  And often in dysfunctional marriages, the husband and wife pick and fuss at each other over time.  What I advocate is your turn that around and join with your partner to make “kindness” the pillar of your marriage.  If you follow that course of action, you need not ever worry about love disappearing from your marriage.

 

Save Yourself From a Horrible and Broken Marriage

Our lives are full of crossroads.  We are born and embark on a journey which for many leads  to marriage. None of us welcome a horrible or broken marriage relationship. But statistical data suggests that about half of marriages are unsuccessful and eventually lead to separation and divorce.

We don’t seek out a marital partner with the thought that things could become horrible and that the marriage can result in a break up.  But as we look around, broken marriages abound.  What is one to do? It sure is not part of our relationship game plan to toil in the pain of a difficult marital relationship.

Marriage on the Rocks

Saving Yourself from a Difficult Marriage

We would like to think that there are many people out there that we can form a close and loving relationship which eventually leads to marriage.  I mean, really, is it not true that the world we live in is full of all types of people and today more than any time in our lives, there are so many ways to connect, communicate, and grow to know and love someone who we wish to be part of our lives.

With all of the online dating websites and the plethora of social media platforms that exists, the ways we can come to know discover the person we think could be our soulmate are plentiful.  And this is the way it starts  for most of us.  One would think with all these opportunities to screen out the men or women that don’t meet our very own marital compatibility checklist, our odds of avoiding a horrible and broken marriage would be much better.  Yet, what we see more often than not are relationships between two people that get off to really good starts, but don’t stand the test of time.

You see, what we can typically expect when a relationship unfolds are phases of development.  There is what I call the courtship phase.  During this period, seldom does the couple encounter much anger, conflict, or horrible episodes of strife.  On the contrary, this phase is usually colored by the close intimacy between two lovers and more often than not, the love struck individuals are walking on cloud nine as they experience all the charms of their “made for each other” bond.

This period of intense happiness and contentment will eventually give way to the good, bad, and ugly phase.  Now let me just chime in a bit more about this phase. How much is good versus bad or ugly varies from couple to couple.  Usually, there is much more good, but invariably, some bad experiences….even horribly ugly can be visited upon the couple.   I guess to be more precise, it is really the couple that brings upon themselves these experiences.  There is really no outside force that has cursed the couple to live in a relationship ranging from harmony to conflict. Both the husband and wife must bear responsibility for the outcomes of their marriage.

Eventually, the third phase of a relationship takes shape.  It is often defined by the lessons learned from the past experiences the couple has enjoyed or endured. This is what I call the “maturation” phase.  The couple has learned to coexist and work through their issues and the number of deposits into their love or relationship trust account, far outweighs the withdrawals.  This is usually what is seen in a healthy, functional marriage.

But sometimes a marriage gets off kilter and it leads to a break up that either both parties agree to or it just turns messy and strung out.  For those who are married, but later become (sooner than either would have expected) separated or divorced, there can be any number of reasons why things come apart.  This article is too short to discuss and debate all of these variables.  But often, the downward slide in marriage can owe itself to a couple that did not spend enough time working through Phase two.  If a couple rushes from the early blissful moments and skips over the Good/Bad/Ugly phase, straight into the bonds of marriage, the couple may find there are experiential gaps in their relationship.  The foundation may not be as strong as it needs to be.

So what do we do when we realize we are in this horrible situation in which we feel broken and the marriage is presumably in shambles.  Well, first off, be careful about drawing any lasting conclusions.  Your journey through the “aftermath period” is usually full of surprises….often good and bad.

How does one go about saving themselves from all of the unnecessary suffering? How does one ensure they so don’t make more mistakes that further exasperates the situation?  I guess an even better question you might want to ask yourself is what can be done to ensure that a future relationship or marriage does not turn sour?

Start First With Understanding Why Some Marriages Fail

I will tell you now, just so that you are not left wondering if there is some kind of golden ticket that will allow you entrance into the world of a foolproof marriage. No such foolproof system of marriage repair or future marriage assessment exists. The reason why around 50% of marriages crash and burn is not due to bad luck  or the fickleness of a marriage partner.  The reasons for so many marriage failures are not altogether different than they were during your parents time and their parents time.

I want you to think about the complexity of all of the emotions and feelings you have at any given time.  From minute to minute, do you feel you have it altogether?  Do you always know what you want? Do you feel you are experienced enough to deal with all of the challenges that life may throw at you?  Do you always understand what you are feeling…what you want….why you feel or want something?  Do you feel you have a handle on managing your anxiety?  Do you always like yourself and do you have any unreasonable fears?

Depending who you are and many other factors, the answer to these questions will vary.  So I think it is not difficult to surmise that it can be quite a chore to just manage one’s self, never mind trying to manage all these feelings and challenges within the framework of a serious and committed relationship.

As with any relationship, the way you manage your own feelings can be impacted by the issues and challenges your partner may be experiencing.  When you are a couple, you do not exist in a separate silo.  As a couple, your needs, desires, worries, and issues are integrated and commingled. This makes for a very complex chemistry of feelings and behaviors.  When two people can get the chemistry of their feelings and desires right…when they are both reading from the same sheet of music….magical things can happen.  The results or outcomes can be explosively good.  I am talking bonding in the the strongest of ways.  I am talking passionately embracing each other physically and emotionally in a powerful and positive way. I am talking about more than the synergy of the sexual act and the closeness gained from that experience.

So we are talking about things coming together to breathe positive fire to the relationship. Let’s flip the relationship coin to it’s other side.  When passions burn bright, bear in mind that they are not always positive or supportive or loving. When a couple brings together all of the “good” about themselves, many positive, even remarkably beautiful things can come of it.  But a couple can also bring chemistry  to the relationship originating from their own faults and weaknesses and this can have a detrimental effect on the marriage.  Humans are full of good.  But we are also full of bad.  We can “break bad” and by doing so, we can bring the marriage to the edge of dysfunction.

Hence, it should be no surprise to any of us when we see couples fighting or struggling to make the marriage work because after all, it is not easy to overcome some of our primal ugly animal urges.  Marriage partners can exhibit emotions and behaviors like selfishness, anger, resentment, cruelness, mean spiritedness, and a host of other undesirable traits.

If you get a lot of these kinds of negative interactions or behavior”transactions” occurring in the marriage, you end up with dysfunction and pain.  And the saddest thing about all of this is that the deck is sort of stacked against marriages that are deteriorating due to compatibility issues or a frequent expression of negative behaviors.  As things spiral out of control, a domino effect can take hold and the couple can find themselves in a rut of repeating the same behaviors over and over again.

Save Yourself From Marriage Heartache

So how do you save yourself?  Some people, who have experienced great difficulty in their marriage or relationship, tend to take on a more “avoidant” attachment style.  They simply won’t commit for fear that they will get involved in something that might just not work out.  Their reasoning is if you avoid commitment, then you need not have to concern yourself with trying to extract yourself from the clutches of a close relationship.  So they avoid allowing themselves to really get close and open up in a relationship as a way to “save” themselves from any future heartache.

Unfortunately, this type of attachment style….”avoidance”….is often one of the primary reasons why marriages and relationships don’t work.  Adopting such an approach….if one is willfully doing so……is usually part of the problem, not a solution.  It is believed that about 25% of the population practices an avoidance style.  Such people avoid intimacy and open communication and trying to build a serious, long term relationship with such individuals is usually unsuccessful.

So if you are of the mind to employ an “avoidance” style in your dating practices or marital behaviors, think twice.  It might save you from heartache, but you will seldom be able to embrace all of the fulfilling moments that a couple should enjoy if they strive to be as perfect of a “union” as possible.

And on that note, if you are seeking to build a relationship and are in the process of selecting who you think you may wish to be married to, then I strongly recommend you find a partner who does not exhibit avoidance behaviors.  If you are an individual who is secure with sharing openly yourself with another, then find a partner who is also willing to open up and invest their full trust with you. Such individuals are referred to as having a “secure” attachment style.

Without a lot of details, I cannot truly advise what is the right thing to do for your individual marital situation.  But if you have made multiple efforts to save the marriage, yet you still feel the relationship and marriage is broken and you are discovering that too many days are filled  with sadness, then it may be time to step away.

Sometimes, just moving away, as painful as that may sound, can help you get better acquainted with what you truly want.  Sometimes our choices in individuals we choose to spend our life with in marriage are flawed.  We often start off thinking we made the right choice.  But later  we may discover that for whatever reason, whether due to maturity or deceit or the blindness caused by the hormones raging within us in the early days of courtship, that our choice of a marital partner was deeply flawed.  It happens and it’s the fault of both individuals that make the couple.

We are all human and experience and wisdom only comes upon us after we live some life. So if you are separating or divorcing your marital partner, take time to heal yourself.  And take the lessons learned from your relationship and realize the vast complexity associated with human emotions and accept that there is no such thing as perfect compatibility with another. Strive to be  proactive and choose wisely in the future.  Your choice of a marriage partner is a topic I will be talking about in more detail in future posts.

 

 

My Marriage is Over: How Do I Get My Ex Husband or Wife Back

When we look over the landscape of failed marriages, you might be surprised at the number of ex husbands and ex wives (or ex wife) seeking to reconnect with their former spouse.  It should not be too surprising given that many of these couples probably had some really good times together but somewhere along the journey married individuals can meet up with some tough times.

It could be any number of things that lead to the deterioration of a marital union such that a couple that once was very close are now effectively an ex wife and ex husband. It is a tough road for anyone to travel when marital conflicts and challenges lead to separation or divorce.

Once married, you have such high hopes for the future and when a marriage relationship comes to an end, the pain and difficulty of recovering from this challenge in your life is far more difficult than it is for the typical  breakup between boyfriend and girlfriend.

Broken Marriage

Why Does It Hurt So Much When Marriages Break Down?

You see, there are differ dynamics going on when you have been hitched up and then things start to unravel.  Usually, when you have a relationship in which their is often only casual dating or where there is no understanding of exclusivity, the connection is not as strong….certainly in the beginning of such relationships this is true.  Eventually as the relationship between two unmarried individuals matures, a break up can be very painful.

But more often than not, couples that are not married tend to have a greater frequency of breakups.  I see this every day with my other websites (i.e. exboyfriendrecovery.com and exgirlfriendrecovery.com) as the foundation of relationships between a boyfriend and girlfriend are usually on somewhat more shaky ground.   It is somewhat easier to pull away because not as much is usually on the line.

With a marriage, you have much more on the line.  When the marriages come to and end, there is both personal, emotional, family, and legal issues one has to manage.  So from the get go, you have layers upon layers of complications.  The emotional upheaval when you and your husband or wife get upside down with all of the angry, upsetting, frustrating,  and even bewildering feelings can be a heck of a load to carry.  So the pain and devastation is usually more devastating when we are talking about a married couple splitting up.

What is one to do?

Doing nothing and just suffering and hoping for the best is certainly not an alternative.  Staying angry or sad and even lashing out does little in advancing what may be best for you in terms of your future relationship….assuming you conclude you wish to pursue a relationship.

Just letting go of your husband or wife can really be hard. Right?  Is it better to stay the course and work on trying to reconcile?  Or is in your best interest to make a clean break now that the two of you have already in a sense “broken it off”.

The answer to this very complicated question is far from clear.  You will not find the solution in the stars or in the palm of your hand (i.e. palm reader!).  Nor will your family or friends necessarily be in the best position to advise you on what is in your best interest.  Look…while I think I have a lot to offer, not even I have a corner on all things wise and true.

Though it is important I clarify something.  Your family and friends can be helpful during this period of healing.  But even your family or friends can have a different agenda or not understand the full picture of what is going on.

I just want to underscore that making a decision as to whether your marriage is over or should come to an end is never something you want to rush through. Coming to such a realization is a process.  If you truly think your marriage is over, perhaps it is.  But perhaps it is not.  Just know that you may be influenced by a set of emotions that is leading you away from objectivity.  That is why it is wise to take things slow.  Rushing back into a broken marriage or rushing away is seldom the answer.

I think for most marriages that are coming apart at the seams and that has entered a period of a highly dysfunctional co-existence….such as a forced separation or even divorce….. there needs to be an extended time out.

Getting Your Husband or Wife Back After a Break Up

I offer a lot of  advice to men and women at my websites exboyfriendrecovery.com and exgirlfriendrecovery.com and one of the things I have learned in the years that I have been working with thousands of clients is that sometimes it is necessary for a transformational event to happen in order to reset one’s emotions (both your’s and your spouse) and rediscover who you are, what you want, and whether the marriage you once had can be re-discovered.

Maybe the marriage you had before was always a bit dysfunctional.  Maybe you came to this post thinking that you want your husband or wife back, but  I want you to consider the possibility that such an outcome may not in your best interest.  I guess what I am trying to tell you is to be careful about getting too set in your ways about what you think you want.

If you are fresh from the marriage breakup, then it is likely you are  operating within a fog of emotions and reactive behaviors.  If that is the case, then be most careful in those early days with any definitive decisions you may make as they may be unduly influenced more by your raw emotions, rather than rationale and pragmatic thought.

Look, I am not trying to pick on you and cause you to second guess everything.  I am just telling your from my experience that I see scores of people that are in the zone of “Recovery” and “Aftermath” and often these folks are ill prepared to making meaningful and important decisions that impact marriage and family.

When emotions run high, logic runs low and your  sense of right and wrong and what might be in your best interest can get skewed.  Even if you are very certain you want your husband or wife back in your life….even if your marriage is in shambles but you are determined to make the marriage relationship work; I would still suggest to you that you likely have more to gain in the long run by embracing the No Contact Principle

Hence, because of the emotional environment that often can cloud one’s judgement, I advocate people take some time away from their spouse and focus more on becoming the best version of themselves.  You can do this while executing the No Contact Rule.

This timeout from the relationship ,which I have written about extensively both here on this site and on the websites I mentioned above, can be instrumental in helping your heal and get in tough with your feelings.

I have even written a comprehensive book on the topic that teaches people how and when to make use of the No Contact Principle….why it works…when you should do it…when you should avoid it…and what are some of the exceptions you may wish to employ depending on your individual situation. So feel free to check it out on my website exboyfriendrecovery.com or exgirlfriendrecovery.com.

It is funny how things work out sometimes.  Let’s say you are in a place where the marriage is not working and it all seems to be over or the end appears near. Perhaps you have plowed a lot of your love and commitment into the marriage but now you find yourself wondering what happened…how it all came to such an abrupt end after many years of effort. Things in your relationship that you took for granted…like the weekend mornings when the two of you would get up together or the evenings after work when you both were trying to decompress….these things which made up such an important part of your life…your routines which you found comfort are over or coming to an end. And it hurts when you try to process these things and begin to realize how things have progressed

But let’s say you are not ready to give up your husband or wife of so many years. So you ask yourself what are you to do?  Ironically, sometimes the best way to re-attract you spouse and re-ignite that spark which could bring the two of you together again is the opposite of what comes natural.

What To Do To Recover Your Ex Husband or Ex Wife

Naturally, you may be of the mind that only if the two of you could just sit down and “really” talk it all out.  Or maybe you are thinking if your husband or wife could join you to participate in some serious marriage counseling, then things could be different.  But what if all these things have been done, but to no avail? What if neither you or your spouse (or both of you) have no interest in airing your dirty laundry in front of a marriage counselor.  Maybe you cannot afford it. Maybe you don’t believe they can help you.  Where do you turn?  How can you turn the marriage slide around?

I say that sometimes it is best to tack away.  What does that mean?  Like a sail boat that is out on the lake or ocean, the skipper of the boat never sails directly into the wind, but rather tacks away, using the angular velocity of the wind to navigate.

Sometimes if you go right into something head on, you will meet with resistance. Sometimes it is better to pull away.  That is what the No Contact Principle is all about.  It affords you an opportunity to get reacquainted with yourself…your needs….your desires.  It gives you an opportunity for some much needed healing. And it also gives much needed space between you and your spouse.  There is a good chance that you will be flooded with emotions and ideas to quickly fix what is wrong.  You may be be willing to accept all the fault of the failed marriage.  But I bet you know, deep in your heart, that marriages rarely break down because of the fault of one partner.  Marriages rise or fall on the strength of the union of two loving people.  It takes two to make it work and to repair the damage.

Often times, space creates an opportunity for your Ex to appreciate more things about you, now that you are no longer available.  There is a psychological principle called, “reactance theory” which basically says that people want or desire that which they can’t have or if something is withheld from an individual, they will desire it more….value it more.   If such thing (or person) is thought of as something that use to belong to the person….or be part of them…a thing that is perceived as a freedom than has now been taken away…the individual will invariable seek it out.

In marriage, you create bonds with your partner.  A connection between husband and wife form and evolve.  This bond or connection operates on many levels (i.e. intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical).  So I think upon refection you will come to appreciate how psychological reactance can work in your favor.  Though by itself, it does not solve your marriage woes.

Sometimes to get what you want and attract it to you….. you need to move away from it.  Space creates a vacuum and all vacuums desire to be filled.  Think about it and read about it more in my writings and learn!

Why Are Marriages So Hard: 5 Things You Should Be Doing

Getting married for most people is the easier the to do.  Staying married and having a satisfying marriage is by far the more challenge of the two feats.

Why is this?

One would think that after a couple has spent a good amount of time weighing their options and finally settling in on a decision to get married, they would have crossed all their t’s and dotted all the i’s.  One would think that after spending quality time in the arms of each other, building a stronger bond day by day, the couple will have arrived at a relationship intersection where almost every day is full of bliss and discovery.

Making Your Marriage Strong

I think we will benefit from a little science lesson about love and relationships and how the chemistry of our brains reigns supreme in the early days.

The Early Days of  Courtship and Marriage Filled With Hormones

Hormones and certain brain chemicals often rule the day in the early phases of courtship.  So most everything we see and experience is through the prism of brain chemicals, like ocytocin (i.e. the love or cuddle hormone)  induced by the natural progression of love’s grip.

Your remember those days, right!  I bet love had a really big grip on both you and your lover and husband or wife to be.

We often think and conjure up in our minds how amazingly wonderful our partner in marriage will be.  These thoughts are what I like to call “the marriage fanciful thoughts“.  They cause us to become convinced that we are well on the road to many blissful moments.  Some call it the honeymoon period.  But in reality, these multitude of feel good feelings are born from our hormones firing and bathing our brain in all the right chemicals.

Yep, that is what we all are…..just walking chemical labs with two arms and legs trying to figure out our way through this world.

Oh, by the way.  If you wish to later comment on any of the things we talk about in this post or if you have a question that pertains to your own relationship, then take a minute and respond.  You can do so at the end of this post in the comment section.  It is my aim to respond back to every question or observation I get from my readers.

Ok…so let’s get back on track because you need to understand why marriage can be so hard at times and what you can do about it to make it easier and more fulfilling.

Remember….we were just talking about the chemical bath we find ourselves in when love comes knocking on your door.   At some point the release of these chemicals become less frequent as we begin to settle into the routines of our married lives.  There is nothing wrong with this.  It represents the cycle of how marriages and relationships work.  Our marriages cannot always be like a shooting star streaking across the sky.

When we come back to earth, we learn to live and love each other in different ways (not just sex and intimacy, though that does and should continue).  We learn form attachments based on our many shared experiences.  This is the period in which our love for each other matures and so does the marriage.  But it takes work.  It can be hard to make the marriage successful on a day to day basis.  It is not like those early days when the two of were in courtship or even in the early days of the marriage.

The shine and excitement is not quite as it use to be.  The loving and romantic words and gestures become fewer and far between.  Those kisses and hugs make come with less frequency.  Sex may be happen less. Now, if these things are unfolding in your married lives, do not think something is wrong.  It is just the pay many marriages take because as things mature, things can get more complex and married life has a way of introducing new challenges and responsibilities.

We are creatures of habit and routines and as the marriage evolves certain new routines can develop and some of them, while not negative in themselves, cause the husband and wife to spend less time together and do things together.

Now, all these relationship experiences and paths vary from couple to couple.  But one thing all couples share after Marriage Fanciful Period has ended is the need to come to realize and accept that marriage is a long term experience where the couple is seeking to maximize compatibility.  Learning to adapt and be flexible as well as accept that you will need to make some individual sacrifices is an important learning.

Making Your Marriage Easy and Fulfilling

So let’s talk about some behaviors and actions you and your spouse can embrace that will help make the challenges of marriage a bit easier to overcome.

1.Make time for Yourself: No matter what you may have read or been told, while marriage is all about trying to become a more perfection union of two people, you cannot lose sight of the importance of each individual in the marriage having time for themselves.  If you are constantly wanting to be part of every action of your spouse or if your husband or wife is constantly trying to be part of everything you are doing, the long term end result is usually not positive.  Smothering your spouse or feeling crowded by your significant other does not allow for personal growth.  So make time for yourself.  And encourage your husband or wife to make time to do things that further their self growth and personal interests.  You can grow closer together when you seek to become the best version of yourself.

2. Make Kindness the Order of the Day:  The easiest thing for people to do is lose their patience or their temper.  It is also easy to be selfish.  These are basic human emotions that we frequently default to when we get comfortable with the relationship or become stressed.  In a way, it is a good thing that a couple is comfortable with each other and can relax and be who they are.  But who we are at any given time is seldom the best version of ourselves.  One of the most important elements of a successful marriage is to demonstrate as often as possible “kindness” to each other.  Think of kind acts as deposits into your marital trust bank.  The more kind acts you can offer and receive, the stronger the relationship. Many studies have been performed in this area and if you are seeking a strong marriage, then talk to each other about the value of exhibiting kindness.  Make a commitment…both of you….to taking the effort to embrace kindness as a daily routine in your marriage life.

3. Make Your Sex Life Interesting, Varied, Fun:  One of the things that can overcome common marriage difficulties is creating an atmosphere within the marriage such that the two of you can enjoy a varied and creative way of truly making love.  Making love and being in love are two sides of the same coin.  One leads and supports the other.  It is not uncommon for a marriage couple to get set in their routines about a great many of things….and one’s sex life is certainly one of those things.  So buy a book and try some things out.  Go set up a date and conclude it at a hotel.  Feel free to role play. Keep things fresh.  Remember, our biggest sex organ is our brain.  Work in some surprises.

4. Learning to Fight Fair: A strong marriage is one where both parties understand that fighting with each other is  zero sum game.  Once the fight starts, you both lose.  So why fight a losing battle.  I know, I know…somehow while we can all intellectually understand the wisdom of avoiding fighting, it just happens anyway.  We are after all beholden to our animal instincts to a large degree.  But that does not mean you have to resign yourself to participating in an event that tears at the fabric of your relationship.  I have written some posts that address this topic and I encourage you to check them out and learn how to treat each other and talk to each other during and after a fight.

5. Re-invent Your Relationship :  So what do I mean by that?  Do you need to start over and be completely different? Absolutely not.  But married couples can easily become prisoners and victims to their own marital routines.  And when that happens, the life of a marriage slowly ebbs away.  So take it upon yourself (i.e. you and your spouse) to change up some of your major routines.  For example, one thing that can easily creep into your marriage that can turn it inside out is the lack of time you spend together “alone”.  We can get caught up in the drumbeat of what we think our marriage is about.  The routines we settle into can get comfortable as we seek to ease marital stress and anxiety.  But often times, we forget about the value of spending quality time together and to do that well, you have to plan for it.  So I challenge you and your husband or wife to be .Marriage Routine Breakers.  Yes, you can take back some control of your marriage and repair some of the damage done if you make a commitment to increase the time the two of your spend together alone….which means no one is around….not your friends…your family….your children.  Just you and your spouse.  Use this time to reconnect and talk and and play and have fun.  Sometimes re-inventing your relationship is really about getting back to the way it was in the early days.

Knowing What Your Husband Wants in the Wild World of Love and Marriage

Some years ago, a really cool relationship movie was made staring Mel Gibson and it was called, “What Women Want”.  It was funny and insightful and hit on a lot of things that can help guys with understanding what women really want.

Now, if you have seen this movie or go and watch it (and I strongly recommend you do because it is a fun ride) you may find some really interesting and valid points are made about how men and women treat each other in relationships….how they process various things…how they should treat and interact with each other to maximize attractiveness and connection.

Men Love Flattery

But the core of the movie is about what women really want.  And to get into that …..to truly empathize with a woman, a man almost needs to morph himself into a woman.  So from that respect, I think the flick is more about the inner workings of how women think and what are some of their needs and desires and how that can lead some women to weave in and out of relationships.

So again, if you have not seen this romantic comedy, check it out.  I cannot vouch for everything that is represented as an underlying relationship truth, but I do think the producers of the movie got a lot more right than wrong.

What Does Your Man Really Want in Your Marriage

In today’s post, we are going to flip the the script and approach the question from the male perspective.  Namely, what is it that “men want“?  What do men value in a relationship? What keeps the man engaged in the marriage so he keeps coming back for more and more? What is this “thing” that men want more of?  Yep, we have a lot of questions and I will tell you right off (i.e. warning: somewhat biased opinion!) that men’s basket of needs and yearnings are far less complex and confusing as women’s.

By the way, I value your comments.  So as you read this post, think of your situation and ask any questions you may have.  Or if you simply want to contribute and share your thoughts, I look forward to hearing from you.  The comment section can be found at the end of this post.

Ok, so let’s get back on track!

I think most of you who have been in a marriage or relationship for a number of years would agree.  Men tend to be a bit more predictable than their better halves (i.e. women).  Nevertheless, if you are a woman and are accustom to processing the world from your female perspective, interacting and understanding a man can be somewhat bewildering.  From a women’s perspective, a man seems to be operating under a somewhat different set of rules.  But once you get to understand a man’s rules of interacting….their common behaviors and needs….deciphering their behavior becomes an easier task.

Now I realize I am generalizing a lot here with my comments.  But that is OK, because you did not come here to read a 40,000 word publication with graphs, validity coefficients, and long and confusing accounts of standard deviations covering the entirety of the male population.  Hey, life is complicated enough, without me trying to razzle and dazzle you with a lot of psyche babble and statistics.

So let’s get on with this conversation of what makes men tick and how this can potentially help you with making your marriage or relationship stronger. Remember, this is not an all inclusive list or discussion.  Men and women are exceptionally complex creatures and I don’t think any article, whatever the length, will be able to capture everything that your husband “wants”.  Be if we are going to talk “wants and desires“, we might as well focus on the what I consider those things that top the list.

Men Think Sex – Men Want Sex

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that all guys are like cut from the Flintstones mold of beings who only desire food, drink, shelter, and sex.  Well…actually…there are some days where a man’s behavior does not fall far from these basic needs.

Let is hope us guys have evolved to be much more sophisticated than that. Yep, I think we have. Though certainly some guys are somewhat more basic when it comes to their needs.  So if we are going to talk about basic needs and one of the important things that drives the machinery of your husband mind….then let it be known that sex is a leading contender.  Ok, I don’t think I am fooling anyone here! Sex is clearly a strong, primal player in a man’s symphony of behaviors.

Men are animals.  Well, technically, so are women.  But your man….your husband….not matter what lengths you have taken to domesticate him is in his heart truly a wild animal or at least that feeling seems to take over his very nature at times.  A guy sometimes acts like a beast or even strives to be beast like as it may suit his mood.  Now, don’t get misled by the word beast!  I am using somewhat loosely.  There are various levels of the degree in which a man will seek to become a beast or feel that way.  Much of the, the beastly quality is contained.  But there will be occasions will it emerge.  Sex can be such an occasion when a guy feels a craving to think wild thoughts and hunger to hold you and of course do a lot more than that.  Hey folks….just keep this PG 13 rated.

So just know that your husband or lover will often craves sex.  He thinks of it almost always, sometimes in small, subtle ways and sometimes in very clear, obvious and erotic ways.

As his wife or girlfriend or whatever the case may be, you may be thinking, “Chris, I already know that my guy want me sexually and thinks about sex a lot”.  If that is the case, then good, because wiser you will be when you realize this reality. But I am thinking some of you probably don’t know how to leverage this animal like craving your man possesses.

Now, since you husband or lover want a lot of sex and is thinking about sex all the time and frequently does and says things that lead to sex, the natural conclusion would be to give him what he wants, right?  So if you always give him the sex he desires, will he be happy, contented, and love you even more?

Well, my answer is not so fast!

If you give someone everything they want, particularly when it comes to sex, they person will slowly begin to lose appreciation of that wonderful gift of pleasure we can offer to each other.

So yes, you want to help quench your husband’s appetite.  But if he always gets what he wants, when he wants, the “value” of the act will slowly erode.  The last thing you want is your husband to take you and your sexuality for granted.  So what is the solution?  What is an effective way of finding balance so that you both can enjoy a fulfilling and enriching sex life and you can be confident that your husband sexual needs and desires are being met.  It is a bit of a balancing act.  And I think we all know there is not a simple solution because there are many factors at play.  Sometimes your husband or boyfriend is very much in the mood, but you are not for any number of reasons.  How does one navigate those waters?

I think it is helpful to realize that too much of one thing is never good.  Too much chocolate can make you sick.  Too much alcohol can make one drunk.  Just because someone desires something all of the time, does not mean that it is healthy for them to always get what they want.  What I think is a powerful solution that can help balance a man’s animal sexual desire with the reality of what is happening in the relationship is the “making it count” principle.  We can’t always have everything we want, in the quantity we want, but you when it does unfold, there is a magic to making it happen a way that is not soon forgotten.

In my book, quality trumps quantity!

I kind of think the less is more strategy can be helpful with regard to this sexual balance equation.  I also think you can benefit from the push/pull approach.  I have spoken before about what is called psychological reactance.  This is basically a psychological principle that says if you take away a man’s perceived freedom to do or have something, they will want it even more.  So in my view, to have a highly successful sex life, there needs to be some chase aspects associated with the act.

Playing Before Foreplay

I think of it as the play before the foreplay.  You want your husband or lover to feel attracted, then more attracted, then even more attracted.   A man’s  feeling to chase after his woman is wired into the circuitry of their brain.

Sure, you are now his wife or long term girlfriend (whichever the case) and so you may think that there really is not much of a chase anymore.  He has you and you have him.  You both have professed your love and commitment to each other.  All those chase games and jealousy plays are things from the past, right?

Wrong.  The behavior to chase and feel aroused and motivated by that act is natural and healthy and just because you are married or engaged, does not mean that these behaviors have less importance in the rules of attraction that govern your relationship.  Relationships can grow stale unless there is a sense of some excitement or some challenge on the sexual front.  And this “truth” is very much applicable when talking about what men want.

So play with your husband and make him feel like it is a bit of a chore to get what he wants.  The pull/push approach can be effective.  Think of it as fishing for sex. You know he wants you.  So string him.  Reel him in. But then give him slack and release him a bit and let him play with the line.  Don’t make it obvious or easy that he will get all that he wants.  A series of push and pull behaviors makes the experience all that more exiting and plays to your husband’s need to chase and pursue and achieve.

Men love to hunt.  Make him hunt for you, literally send him on a sexual quest to find you…to find what he wants and desires.  Your value will increase when he feels like he must work to gain you.  Make him invest in you, to have you.  This can happen in small and large ways, depending on the situation, your mood, and his mood.  And not every sexual encounter must be a chase.  Sometimes you can surprise your husband to the upside  and give him more than he ever imagined.

This is when your husband hits the jackpot.  While this should not happen to often, when it does, it should be something he never, ever forgets and those memories form and lay deep within his psyche.  It gives you value and plays to his desire for a repeat performance some day.   This keeps things fresh, somewhat unpredictable, and plays to your husband’s needs and can fulfill his sexual fantasy world.

Men Like To Feel Like a God

Just about every guy I know wants to think of themselves as a stud.  Some guys are studs.  Some guys are not quite there.  Other guys just don’t have the right stuff and need a little help in getting there.

There is this thing that lies deep in every man’s psyche.   One can call it ego.  Or one call refer to it as a man’s Achilles’s heel.  Whichever way one wishes to think about this matter,  just know that there is considerable mileage to be made if you make your man, husband, or boyfriend feel like a “million bucks”.

Men like to feel like they are special…that you think of them as special.  You want them to feel that they can and will come to your rescue.  If there is a jar top that needs to be opened, ask for their help and gush over how strong they are in their ability to open.  If they are working out, tell them how strong they look and how much stamina they have.

Brag on them and make your husband feel like he a kind of superman.  If you see a roach or spider, call over your guy to kill it.  Tell them how good they are at hunting and destroying these pesky pests.  Men like to feel like they are protecting you.  Again, it is something they really don’t have a lot of control over.  It is hard wired into their thinking….their very essence of being.

But don’t over do it.  Just a few choice words at the right time, spread out over time, is probably just enough to do the trick.  Men like subtle reminders, but they will find little value in your words if it is overdone.  So we are talking about moderation here, ok!

Men Love and Cherish Their Freedom

It is a big turn on when a guy feels he has complete freedom.  The truth is he does not have total freedom  No one really has total freedom.  But that is a long story and we will try to stay on point with this discussion!

What is clear is most guys value their autonomy.  Your husband more and likely does not want to feel hemmed in.  They want to be able to do some things on their terms.  Now, this does not apply to everything, but sometimes a guy just needs to do it his way.  Even if his way is not the best way.  Let him learn on his own what works and does not work.

If you make your husband feel guilty for spending time with his friends, little resentments can creep into the relationship.  Another big turn on for a guy is when you encourage him to go out and spread his wings.  When he realizes you do not need to be constantly paired with him and understands that you genuinely approve of his little adventures in life, he will love and value you even more.

Even the thought that you would approve makes him feel less trapped and more free.  Take away a perceived freedom that your husband or boyfriend feel they have or need or deserve to have, then you will end up fighting against  his current of emotions.  In other words, we are back to that concept of psychological reactance… people want that which they are told they can’t have.

Embrace Your Husband’s Need for Time Spent in the Man Cave

So ironically, sometimes the best way to pull your husband or lover closer to you is give him the room and space to do things alone.  A strong marriage is not simply measured by how well  people get along when they are together.  It is also a function of how well two people cope when they are alone.

So be an advocate of your husband’s need to sew some wild oats.  If he wants to go on a hunting trip or fishing trip or hiking trip or go with some buddies to see a movie or whatever….surprise him on the upside and enthusiastically embrace the idea.  Don’t try to cling to him.  Use this opportunity to realize some of your own needs and aspirations.

Think of this approach as investing in your husband’s need for freedom and space.  When he feels you are on his side when he need’s to hang with his buddies or go into his man cave, he will almost always come out the other side more appreciative and feeling valued and thinking of you as a real “catch” that understands his ways.

 

Help With Getting Your Distant Husband Back

Today’s article is going to be focused on helping you with getting your distant husband back.

So what do I mean by that?  For example, you might need help in just getting your husband to be the kind of man he was when the two of your were dating or were early in the marriage.  In this instance, it is not that you literally lost your husband to another lover or to separation or divorce.  What we are dealing with in this case is the age old problem of a couple slowly growing apart.  What we are talking about is how emotional distance in a relationship can take on a life of it is own.  It can grow in its influence and begin to adversely effect the quality of your marriage.  When you sense such a force is influencing your marriage in a negative way, then you need to take action.  Once the emotional distance marital genie is out of the bottle, it has a way of becoming a 3rd party in your relationship.

closing emotional distance

But let’s not get too carried away.  Before we proceed, let’s first put emotional distance in perspective.  It is not unusual for a couple to go through some rough or choppy waters.  There can be challenging periods due to a fight or challenges at work or fatigue or unusual stressful periods.  Life is chalk full of individual challenges that can influence a couple’s happiness.   And likewise, life can create challenges for a couple that impacts the individual’s qualify of fulfillment.

So let’s talk about that first and then I would like to give you a few pointers that might help get your marriage back on track.  Later, I will  be writing another article that will get into an even more serious issue of a husband that is truly removed from your life for reasons that relate to affairs or matters which lead to separation or divorce.  For now, let’s keep the focus on the more common place phenomenon in which you perceive your husband is just not as connected or bonded with you as in the early days of the marriage.

What To Do When Your Husband is Not Emotionally Involved in Your Marriage

I think one of the most common complaints I get from wives is that their husband just seems not to care as much as they use to.  The women I talk to wonder if they have done something wrong.  They want to know why their husband seems bored and detached.   They want to know what causes their guy to go from being romantic and loving to disengaged or even somewhat bored.

Well, quite honestly, when it comes to a husband’s discontent,  the  cause of the problem can be quite complex, so the solutions are not always the same for each couple.  But let’s try to focus on some of the more common problems that contribute to a husband’s seemingly lack of interest in his wife.  And again, I must warn you….the marital landscape of a couple that are just not connecting as they once did is far reaching and quite hard to dissect in an individual article.   So bear in mind, my relationship observations will be somewhat generalized.

So if you accept that then we are ready to explore some of the common causes that might help you understand where your man’s head is at.

The Challenge of the Chase

Your man loves to chase.

He loves the idea of a challenge laid out before him that must be conquered.  It is written into his code and is exhibited in many of his daily behaviors.  Second to this desire of wanting to pursue or chase a goal is a man’s desire to feel useful and feel that their actions count for something.

Creating this sense of purpose is instrumental keeping your husband engaged in the relationship.  If things come easy, the appreciation and value of what he perceives as engaging and challenging experiences within the relationship is minimized.

So give you husband something to get excited about.  You could also make it thrilling for him.  And as you construct this little real life fantasy (let’s call it a “come true experience”) for your husband, just know that it will also serve to make you feel special.  You will find it interesting and fun planning out what it is you want you husband to do.   And that is the key.  Physical action is often a way into the heart and mind of your man.

Think of yourself as the conductor of a little chase drama of your own making. You could leave him a a string of little clues about finding you and if he is successful, then you can make it worth his while.  If you follow this line of thinking (i.e. a man’s way of interacting with the world), then there should be a reward.  The chase adds excitement and creates a memory and association of fun and fulfillment which will be connected to you.

I had one client who decided she would surprise her husband with a game.  She called it hide and seek and reward.  She decided her husband was going to get a special sexual treat….namely her.  But he was going to have to work for it.

She left him a key and a letter with instructions on what to do.  The key opened the door to a hotel room she was staying at.   The note described the manner in which she would be dressed and some of the things that would happen if he chose the “right door”.  One way or the other, her husband would be rewarded, but he would have to apply himself.

The husband’s task was to use the clues in the letter to figure out which hotel she was staying at.  She gave her husband three choices.  If he picked the correct hotel within a given time line, then his sexual reward would be higher and more erotic.  Spicing things up for your husband can create powerful and lasting memories and in doing so, it can create this sense of seeking out these experiences again and again with you.  These experiences of challenge and chase and reward become positive memories which are locked into his psyche and associated with “you”.

The Theory of the Gone Girl

While it may seem odd, sometimes the way to attract and stimulate your husband and shake him loose from his sense of detachment and emotional distance is to play the part of the wife who is unavailable.

I know…it sounds counterproductive, but think of it as a form of reverse psychology! Trust me, my reasoning is grounded in a sound psychological framework.  Does it always work?  Of course not.  But I am sure you have heard of Einstein’s definition of insanity, right?  It is doing the same thing, over and over again (when it is not working), and hoping for different results.  Sometimes you just have to shift the paradigm.

Your husband is probably like most other guys out there.  Men have their routines.  So to do women, but right now we are talking about your guy.  Now, perhaps your husband has been less available to you and seems distant.  This is what you are trying to overcome, right!  Many women, when confronted by a distant husband, end up trying harder to get their husband’s attention.  They may wedge in conversations about any number of topics that unfortunately often end up making the guy pull away even more to avoid the connection.

It is a sad, but often repeated outcome in many relationships.  The woman attempts to pull her husband closer through conversation and the husband pushes her away, which in turn causes the wife to try harder, resulting in the husband resisting even more.  Often in all of these efforts to connect, the wife can grow frustrated, angry, and/or resentful which exasperates the whole situation. What results is  a viscious communication circle.

So how do we break the spell.  Well, you should consider tacking away.  What do I mean by that?  When a sailboat is out in the open seas sailing into the wind, to get where it needs to go, the sailboat will tack left or right, resulting in a zig and zag pattern, while never sailing directly into the wind.  Sometimes, trying to shake your husband out of his world of wanting to be “alone” by taking him on “head on“, is a a big mistake.

What I think is better is to give him the space he probably wants.  There is a psychological principle called psychological reactance.  Essentially, when you withhold something from someone or take it away….and if it is a type of thing or experience that the person is accustom to having….something the person values but perhaps does not realize how much…..the person will desire and value it even more.  People often want that which they are told they can’t have, particularly if they consider it a personal freedom that is being withheld from them.

Your husband is probably taking you for granted in many ways.  On one hand, though they may be portraying a distant demeanor with you, trust me, deep down they are very connected to you.  You just have to learn how to coax out that part of a man that speaks to intimacy.

Remember, you will always want to try first to discuss with your husband why they seem distant and why they don’t show as much emotional intimacy as they have in the past.  You should make multiple good faith efforts to have open and honest dialogue about what is causing the problem.  But if your efforts to talk about this problem falls on deaf ears or if you get the “run around“, then it may be necessary to shake things up just a bit in order to help your husband to get re-engaged.  Getting him to that place can lead to a more informed discussion of why he is behaving the way he is.  I can’t guarantee this tactic will work, but if you have tried hard to get to the bottom of why your husband is pulling away and he is just not opening up, then I think the marriage could use a little reboot.

So make yourself less available to your husband for a spell. For example, you could take a girlfriend and go on an unannounced over night trip.  Leave your husband a note, telling him that you need some space.  Just keep it short, like that.

Don’t write anything angry and don’t say or text anything angry if he reaches out to you for more details.  She keep it positive and brief and tell your husband you needs some space to clear your mind.  Deep down, your husband knows he has been “acting distant” and has not been supportive.  You do not have to spell it out for him.  Just go on your little trip and enjoy.  Perhaps when you return, he will be more amenable to sharing what is going on in “his head” that causes him to withdraw and act in a way that makes you feel he is emotionally distant and not fully engaged in making the relationship work.

The tactic, while it is not a solution, hopefully will lead to a more open and honest discussion in the near future.  This is just one idea.  There are many other similar approaches you can employ to pull away from him.  It is likely, your husband will pick up in the change in your routine and that might she open the door to a the conversation the two of you need to have to get to the bottom of what is causing your husband to act “distant” or “removed” from the relationship.