Today I’m launching a multi-part Save Your Marriage series. If you read along each day, you’ll eventually learn every strategy I used to save my marriage. Today’s free marriage advice comes from the first marital improvement book I read: The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do, by John and Linda Friel.
Today, I’d like you to think about this question:
How have you contributed to the failure of your marriage?
Um, are you thinking something along the lines of this: “Look Alisa, I’ve done nothing to hurt my marriage. It’s all my partner’s fault. Now if you would kindly tell me how to fix my partner, everything would be just swell.”
I thought that, too, when I first came across that question. After all, I was the one who was not happy, and I wasn’t happy with him. I could have listed hundreds of ways my husband had contributed to our failed marriage. Me? I was perfect.
The Friels also mentioned that they thought my husband was my emotional equal. I really laughed at that one. Oh, did I laugh. I actually talked out loud to the book, saying, “You really don’t know my husband, now, do you? My emotional equal? Yeah, right.”
Thing is, the Friels were right.
My husband and I were stuck in dysfunctional pattern that was, in part, caused by my inability to ask for what I wanted. For example, my husband would ask, “Is it okay if I can go for a bike ride?” I’d say, “Yeah sure” when I really meant, “Are you out of your mind?! Don’t you see how overwhelmed I am right now? Are you that blind or just completely insensitive?”
It’s true that my husband is not a sensitive mind-reading type. He doesn’t get body language. He doesn’t pick up on tone of voice. He just doesn’t. Expecting him to somehow read my mind is like expecting an infant to sing the alphabet. It’s never going to happen.
Yet, my husband is really good at following directions. Once I found the ability to speak my voice and stand up for my needs, he found the ability to listen and do as I requested. He just needed an instruction manual.
Looking back on it, I’m thankful that he was such a failure at reading my mind. It forced me to grow up and become a better person, one who is now more assertive in every area of her life.
So think about that question. How are you contributing to your bad marriage? It takes two people to have a good marriage, and two people to have a bad one. You are just as much a part of your dysfunctional marriage as your spouse. Really think about that question, because owning the problem of your bad marriage is your first step toward fixing it.
How have you contributed to your bad marriage? Are you a part of the problem or is your partner entirely to blame? Leave a comment.
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