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Welcome to my Save My Marriage Today Newsletter Series! If you are looking for effective, powerful tips and techniques to take your marriage back from the verge of divorce and rebuild the love that you both once had - even if your partner doesn't want to - then read on!
co-author of Save My Marriage Today!
Validating Contributions In Your Marriage
Written by Andrew Rusbatch
When reading of people's marriages, I hear a lot of stories. Miscommunication, mistrust, poor communication, fear, and long working hours all have their toll.
Today we are going to look at the impact work and careers have on relationships, and how poor communication can further contribute to a state of decline.
When you meet the person you love, in addition to the wonderful things you see before you, everyone is to some extent damaged. Behavior patterns are set, and when you have been together for a length of time, its easy to fall into familiar behaviors and take each other for granted.
How often do you recognize your partner's contribution to the relationship? How often do you tell them that they are doing a good job? How often do you receive that sort of positive feedback from your spouse?
An important point to remember here is that even once you are married, you are still in a period of growth. You are still learning.
Mistakes are made, but the most important thing is that you are able to acknowledge mistakes, learn lessons, and above all, communicate with your partner, both in terms of areas where improvements can be made, and acknowledging the positives that both of you bring to the relationship as well.
I received an email from a man who had been married for a number of years, had a couple of children, and to others, appeared to be living the dream. He earned a good income, has a beautiful wife and two children, but behind the facade there are some serious marital issues.
The long working hours mean the husband is detached from his family, working nights and sleeping days, preventing him from participating in everyday family life. His wife feels he wasn't involved enough, and she had an affair.
Their marriage survived the affair, but since that point has been a victim of a lack of communication, and subsequently a lack of trust. This is a couple crying out to be noticed by one another, validated and fulfilled by each other and the relationship, yet their communication skills seem to be holding them back and preventing them from dealing with their issues.
When he touches her she feels it degrades her. He just wants to be noticed, loved, and made to feel important again - the way it used to be.
I have omitted any identifying details, and here is my reply:
Thanks for your email.
Your submission was very well written and I feel you have covered the main points of your marital situation very well, and I can identify a number of areas that need attention. The first thing I am going to tell you is that there is no such thing as the perfect marriage.
Perfection is a dangerous illusion, as I talk about in the course, and just because there are a few problems doesn't mean you have failed her.
Marriage is a journey, a continuously evolving period of growth as you both figure out how to live together, create a life for one another, and how to love each other every day. I often talk to clients about mistakes, and to be honest, it is a very important part of growth.
If you never made mistakes, you would never learn, so let's look at it that way.
From what you have written, I can see that you and your wife are approaching this from two very different perspectives. You have written that you believe your major role in the marriage is to be the very best provider you can be. I think you have performed this part really well, and bring a good amount of income into the home.
However, this comes at a cost. The hours you spend at work come at the expense of time spent at home with your family. I can see from this that you are put in a very difficult position. You feel the need to provide for your family, while your wife feels that you need to spend more time with the family.
It's all about balance, and understanding where each other are coming from. Your wife needs to understand that if you spend more time contributing to the family, this will come at a cost to your income.
It also sounds as though you are both seeking validation for the contributions you make, she for looking after the children, and you for providing the income. What both of you need to understand is that contributing to the marriage is not a competition, but some recognition is necessary.
When is the last time you told your wife how much you appreciate what she is doing with the children? When is the last time you told her that you value her and her contribution?
It's that kind of feedback that she may be yearning. You want to feel important to her again, but it starts with you making her feel important. You hate small-talk, but she loves it. To a woman, small-talk is an integral part of communication in a marriage, and a good way of feeling connected to a partner.
If you can't come in at the end of a day and talk about how your day went, what are you going to talk about? In what way do you share your experiences, fears and dreams?
This sounds to me as though your wife is crying for attention, and you ned to find ways of giving her the attention she needs. It's about fulfillment. Fulfilling her emotional and intimate needs. I want you to read Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages."
Find out what your love language you show, and what language you best respond to. Then I want you to examine what language your wife shows and responds to. You may find the love you show your wife, through acts of service for example, is incompatible with her love language. She may need words of praise. It's a good book, read it.
You both need to feel validated and loved, and this comes through very clearly in your writing. Start by looking at Book 2, focusing on Love is a Doing Word, and find ways to love your wife. Find out what her love language is. Find ways to reconnect.
Communication is about much more than just talking. You need to know what to say and do. If you are able to make the first move, she can follow your lead and find ways to notice you and give you the attention you need to.
You are being called into finding new ways of loving and supporting each other. Read the books.
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co-author of Save My Marriage Today!
About "Save My Marriage Today"
The "Save My Marriage Today" course is a comprehensive collection of marriage rebuilding tools designed to assist troubled couples in turning around the negative patterns of behavior that exist in their marriages.
We have a range of experience with a large variety of problems among the members of the Save My Marriage Today team and have managed to help many couples in crisis turnaround their patterns of negative behavior. We have a range of life-changing e-books, and also have a new e-book specifically written for couples in extreme crisis. We also offer free access to personal consultations from a member of the "Save My Marriage Today" team.
I am sure that we can help with any problem that you may have in your marriage.