HOW TO NAVIGATE THE DIFFICULT YEARS IN MARRIAGE
All great marriages go through tough times! The journey of marriage, and the two people in it, transition through different stages throughout its lifetime.
It could be when the first baby comes along, children going through adolescence, young adults leaving home, a partner’s illness, challenging in-laws, unemployment, work stress, the care of elderly parents, and many more.
It is often the unexpectedness of these challenging situations, which leads to experiences of panic and anxiety in couples. In my counselling room, couples share feelings of being alone, distant from each other, and a lack of intimacy. It is not the ‘happily-ever-after’ which they were hoping for. They talk about still loving each other, but not being ‘in love’ anymore.
I have given this idea of being in love much thought over the years, speaking to many couples, and doing research into the work of the experts on marriage counselling. This is what I have come up with.
Love is a commitment we make to each other. In the beginning, we cannot imagine feeling anything else but lust, and being in love. As our marriage, and the two people in it transition, love requires us to show up, step up, and honour our commitment.
To love each other at our worst, at our best, and the truth of who we are, and who we are becoming. When we say we are not in love anymore, we are stuck in the transition, and we have no idea how to move through the situation we are facing. We are afraid, we feel lost and lonely; so we argue, and we do not feel in love anymore.
We need to learn how to transition the difficult times in our marriage by considering the following:
Do we know how to transition through the endings, the time of being lost and alone, and the phase of begin anew?
Can we safely discuss our fears and feelings about the changes in our marriage with each other?
Are we reacting to each other and becoming destructive?
Are we withdrawing intimacy from each other?
Are we leaving each other emotionally, to fend for ourselves?
If we need help, are we willing to ask for it, and invest in our marriage?
We get married to the one person who is our best friend, worst friend, lover, teacher, partner and co-parent. The difficult years in marriage are part of the journey, and we must learn how to navigate them. It is not about the happily-ever-after, but rather the safety and trust of an authentic marriage.
We can help! please call Newlands Counselling on
1300 001 220
Copyright Sandra Bowden