Are you feeling connected in your marriage? Or are you feeling disconnected? Some days you may think things are going great and other times not at all.
I see couples come into my private practice all the time who are feeling disconnected. One of the spouses feels like they are constantly the one who is trying to make things better, while the other might be withdrawing from the relationship.
This can be a dangerous cycle. In today’s episode, we are going to break this cycle down and figure out how you fix it when it happens, and better yet, how you can prevent it in the first place.
Meet our fictional characters, Rosie and John
Today on the show I will introduce a fictional couple, Rosie and John. Rosie and John have been struggling in their marriage for quite some time. Rosie is the pursurer and is trying to make things better while John is finding himself wanting to withdraw. In front of their friends and family, everything seems to be fine, but no one really knows what is going on behind closed doors.
Rosie might tell me, “John is so competent at work. Everyone loves him and he is a great leader there. He has many accomplishments and I am so proud of him, but when he gets home he just runs away when we are talking. I am so frustrated with him!”
John tells me, “I feel like I’m not a match for Rosie and can’t even compete. She is so critical of everything I do and puts me down all the time. She talks so fast and is on to the 10th thing while I am still stuck on the 1st. Rosie feels like I don’t listen to her and then our fights just get bigger. Why even try?!”
This fight has blown up and no one even knows how to stop it! Both partners are drowning and just want to get out of this situation. So what do they do now?
The rules of a break
In this type of situation, as hard as it is, you have GOT to give your partner time to calm down. Practice breathing in through your nose and out of your mouth. Count: 1, 2, 3, 4. Calm yet?
When the fight escalates, one or both partners need to ask for a break. You need to take 20 minutes to self-soothe. Go for a run, read a book, go meditate, go take a bath. Do whatever you need to do to take a break and calm down.
If you are the one who asked for the break, you must be the one to come back. If not, this will not work.
How it all ends
John feels like a failure at home. He wonders if Rosie still really loves and respects him. Most people who feel this way start to avoid communication. They don’t want to start another fight, so they withdraw to avoid it altogether.
In this situation, I would encourage John to talk to Rosie and tell her how he is feeling —truly feeling. It will be hard for him to open up to her, but it is something that has to happen or this type of fighting will continue.
This isn’t easy, believe me. My husband, Jon, and I went through these same types of fights. I was the angry wife. If you are the angry wife, STOP IT! You are going to ruin your marriage. You have to start doing things differently so you can divorce-proof your marriage.
I hope you guys liked hearing this fictional story about Rosie and John. This was very similar to the issues Jon and I went through many years ago. Our change didn’t happen overnight. It took us quite a while to repair it, but now it is better than it’s ever been before. I promise you if you stick with it, this can change your marriage!
Is there something you want to hear on the podcast? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I might just record my next episode for YOU!
I will see you all here next week!
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