It is easy to get consumed with our feelings. This is especially true in our marriages. If we feel good about things, we’re in a good marriage. If we don’t feel as good, our marriage is in trouble. Feelings naturally vary with life’s circumstances. Hear how establishing a vision for your marriage can you help to override your temporary feelings and keep you heading in a positive direction.
I had an interesting conversation with an old colleague yesterday that I hadn’t seen in years. We talked business for a while, then I shared with him about my new focus on marriage and coaching couples to have better relationships. He told me that he has been wed for over thirty years himself, and told me that he shared my passion for marriage. But then he paused and asked me an interesting question.
“Did you ever go through a season in your marriage where you questioned everything including your relationship?”
He went on to tell me that around 20 years of marriage he hit such a time. He found himself discontented with his wife, questioned his feelings toward her and began to distance himself emotionally. As he shifted his focus away from meeting her needs, she in turn pulled away from him. He told me her reaction was, “I’m getting no love or affection from him, why should I show any back?” As a result, the relationship began to erode.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. He told me that after a few years of feeling this way, he “woke up” one day and realized that he had everything that he ever needed in his wife. It wasn’t her shortcomings that was off-putting, but rather his own that he struggled with. Looking back, he blames the situation on a classic, male mid-life crisis. He had hit a point where his career had peaked, his kids were grown and he didn’t see the continued growth and excitement in his future that he’d experienced in his past. This led him (as it does many men) to question life from a variety of angles. With this new realization, he was able to fall back in love with his wife and finds himself today in a better place with her than he’s ever been.
I use this as a cautionary tale for myself and for my readers. It is natural and common that we go through highs and lows in life. When we hit a low point, it can be tough to look at ourselves to find the root cause. We become desperate to find an external source for our woes. There’s typically no one closer to us (in terms of emotion or proximity) than our spouse – they become a natural target for our frustrations. “They must be the reason that I feel this way. I’m sure that someone else would make me happier”. And for many that is the path they choose. The new partner, like a new shiny toy, distracts for a while, but since nothing really changed in terms of the root cause, discontent inevitably sets back in.
If or when you ever find yourself in this situation, I strongly encourage you to take a step back and look at your life from an objective point of view. Are your really frustrated with your spouse, or are you actually frustrated with yourself? If your marriage is eroding, be honest – have you stopped investing in it? Have you quit trying? The odds are that during your wedding ceremony you recited vows that included “…until death do us part”. That was a strong commitment, and it should be in effect no matter what season you find yourself going through.
Experts tell us that the best time to invest in a company is during a recession. Prices are low and the potential return can be huge. I think this same logic applies to marriage. When you find yourself feeling relationally low, invest time, effort and money into your marriage. Then you too can find yourself falling back in love all over again.
In this episode, Jerry interviews Stacey Greene, author of “Stronger than Broken – One couple’s decision to move through an affair”. Stacey provides incredible insight on marriage and the horrific toll that infidelity plays on it. But she also provides tangible steps that can be taken to work through it, even to the point of being stronger than before. You don’t want to miss this riveting episode!
Nobody thinks it can happen to them, until it does. People don’t enter into marriage thinking they’ll keep an eye out for something better, but every year thousands of marriages are wrecked when individuals decide to stray. Because they’ve given it no thought in advance, they find themselves too far down the path of temptation to turn back. In this episode you will hear tactical ways of proactively and defensively averting infidelity. If you find yourself nearing the path of temptation, these words may just be the ones that come back to you in time to save your marriage.
We spend years doing our best to raise our kids. Then they grow up and get married. Suddenly our role in their lives change dramatically. It’s tough to let go. From their perspective, it can be tough to fully “leave and cleave” as well. In this episode, Jerry gives specific advice both to the parents and the married couples in terms of how to deal effectively with these new relationships.
Jerry sits down with his daughter-in-law to talk about setting boundaries, managing expectations and thriving in a sometimes awkward relational environment.
Sex and money are the two biggest reasons cited for divorce. In this episode, see why it is so critical that both spouses are on the same page when it comes to managing money. Sure you may have a spender and a saver, but with some effort you can align your efforts and work toward some common goals.