Hope in Unhappiness

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 @ 2:27 PM

When you hit a bump in the road, you may feel a bit jostled, but most of the time you can probably recover quite easily and quickly. However most couples will reach a point in their marriage when it doesn’t feel like their relationship has hit a minor bump; it feels like a major pothole. If you’ve ever felt stuck in your marriage, or if you’re feeling that way right now, you are not alone. While there are lots of reasons why couples feel dissatisfied, no marriage is always happy. The encouraging part is that potholes can be filled.

You have more than just two choices: stay in a miserable marriage or get divorced. The idea of a third option can be so freeing! We love to talk about being intentional at Marriage Reclaimed, and a situation in which one or both spouses are feeling stuck in the relationship is no exception. Marriage is no passive or zero-sum endeavor. Your actions, or inactions, will affect the outcome of your relationship – and the beauty in this is that change is possible!

At this point, you may be thinking – yes, but she doesn’t know what we’ve been through. And you’re right – I don’t. What I do know is that if we do nothing, we are choosing option 1 (stay in miserable marriage) perhaps without even knowing it, or realizing that we have a choice in the matter. What follows are some foundational ideas for taking a step forward, being intentional, and making a choice to – if I can borrow from Ghandi here – be the change you wish to see in your marriage.

1. Do some self-reflection
Explore the root of your unhappiness. Are there mental health issues at play? Are you still dealing with baggage from your past, or your partner’s? Are you experiencing stress from your current circumstances or worry about the future? Do you have a lack of spiritual or emotional connection with your spouse? Further, consider your expectations and desires – and whether they are realistic. After all, often it is not what life offers, but what we believe that life should offer us that circumvents our happiness.

2. Exercise humility
It’s easy to say to ourselves, “I’ll change when he/she changes.” But if we continue to rely on someone else to start the change process, it’s more than likely that change simply will not happen. We must take some personal responsibility for our part in the state of our marriages. Regardless of what our spouses may have done, we cannot continue to blame them for being the problem and at the same time expect them to be the solution to our misery. Further, we must notice the positives and love unconditionally. We all said vows which, in one way or another, stated “for better or for worse.” So if you’re experiencing the latter, love through it. In doing so, you will begin to create a culture in which your spouse wants to change.

3. Start the conversation
This is possibly one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have with your spouse, but it is important during this time of doubt to be genuine and to share honestly. There is too much at stake here to hide behind fear or embarrassment or apathy. Finally, know that you are not alone and that you’ll need support to get “unstuck.” Whether this comes in the form of a wise mentor or a clinical therapist, my encouragement to you is to take this action sooner rather than later.

For more information and/or support, check out these resources or visit our website for services that we offer to couples at our practice:

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/marriage-challenges/the-unhappy-marriage

www.wynnsfamilypsychology.com 

https://marriagereclaimedwfp.wixsite.com/marriagereclaimed