I recall times during my marriage where I would look at my single friends in envy thinking she has it so good. If I could do it all over again I would stay single. Sound familiar?
You are not the first woman to think if only I could trade in my husband or have a do over. I’ve heard friends say, knowing what I know now I would choose differently. But is that really true?
Somehow my perspective changed when my marriage fell apart and the person whom I once thought about replacing was gone without my consent. Now I’m not saying I regret walking away but I am saying that I regret and can admit that I failed my marriage.
I have lots of married friends who constantly complain about not being happy. So what’s the problem?
Here’s what I learned from my divorce and often see my clients make the same mistake.
1. Find your own happiness.
We get so wrapped up in our families and everything that what once made us interesting goes out the window. Frankly we become boring. Pursuing your passion and doing what you love will help you feel more balanced and fulfilled.
Perhaps if you were doing the things you enjoy you wouldn’t feel so resentful about how boring your life is. It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. Happiness comes within.
2. Ask for what you want from your spouse
I see couples all the time that are afraid to ask for what they want from their spouse. They are literally walking on eggshells and their excuse is I don’t want to be a nag or I’m choosing my battles. Unfortunately those unmet needs often lead to resentment and that my friend destroys relationships.
If you plan on being with this person forever then learn how to ask for what you want. The argument you are avoiding today may end up destroying your marriage tomorrow. Your spouse is not a mind reader.
3. Have healthy boundaries
Pay attention to what is going on in your spouse’s life. I often see couples take each other for granted. We assume that because we don’t find our spouse interesting no one else will but sadly that is not always the case. I have couples end up in my office trying to overcome an affair.
In many cases the one who cheated complains they felt ignored and unwanted by their spouse. Trust is healthy but you need to be actively involved in your partner’s life. Protect what’s yours – don’t assume that it can’t happen to you because it can. Have your own identity but don’t detach yourself.
4. Invest in your marriage
We spend time planning trips, retirement, college etc. but yet we fail to invest in our marriage. The greatest gift you can give yourself and your children is a healthy fulfilling relationship with your spouse. Successful relationships take effort and attention.
Plan date nights and try to look your best for your spouse, keep things interesting. Attend marriage conferences or solicit a good marriage therapist to help you communicate better and/or work through any issues you may be facing. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
5. Have a PhD in your spouse’s history
Your spouse’s history includes sexual history, childhood trauma and what triggers them positively and negatively. There is a great book called the 5 Love Languages that I recommend to all my clients. What speaks love to you may not speak love to your partner and vice versa.
Understanding your spouse’s history will help you to be better equipped for your life-long journey. Think about how much you know about your best friend now compare that to your spouse – get the picture? Ask tough questions and simply KNOW.
Marriage is hard. Divorce is harder. I spent most of my marriage focused on the wrong things. I invested in my career and thought if the house was clean and dinner was cooked that would be enough, that’s not the case.
Don’t take your spouse for granted. If you are going through a difficult time in your marriage do something about it. Help is available.
If you are noticing some struggles within your marriage and want additional support and guidance before it is too late, call Life Counseling Solutions at 407-622-1770. Our expert relationship coaches are here to help you and your spouse.
Author: Veronica Concepcion