Steps to Address Problems in Your Marriage

Does your stomach drop when your partner says, “We need to talk”? Ugh, the worst, right?

It isn’t easy to sit in “the talk”, whether you’re the partner expressing dissatisfaction or the partner receiving the feedback. A feeling of dread can sit on both sides of the experience.

If you’re the partner carrying the gripe(s), it’s natural for you to want to rehash everything that’s wrong with your partner or your relationship. That makes sense since you’re seeking a solution to all of the problems. 

Naming problematic behavior, whether through couples counseling or a series of private “talks” at home, is necessary to find resolve. However, if you find yourself only focusing on what’s wrong, instead of also on “what’s right”, you’re excluding important parts of your relationship story.  

If the issues in your relationship feel chronic, it makes sense that the problems are all you might see. I liken this to a haze in your view that keeps you from clearly seeing that good things are happening too

Frustration is natural.

It’s also natural to have frustration and resentment build up over time. Unfortunately, resentment can block your ability to see anything good that your partner might do right now. It can also make positive relationship memories from your past, feel as if they’ve never happened.

Repeatedly staying focused on what your partner has done wrong, or where they fall short, only strengthens that negative relationship story. If that’s the only thing you notice or point out, it can instill a sense of inadequacy in your partner. 

When that’s the only message that they hear from you, it becomes destructive, often translating to “I’ll never get it right. They’ll never be satisfied with what I do ”. 

How can you address problematic behaviors without deepening the divide? Let’s look at constructive ways to address problematic behaviors while also “seeing the good” in your partner so that you can get more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.

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