Why Your Relationship Needs More Patience
“I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way I lost myself and who I wanted to be. This is not where I thought I would be at this point in my life and certainly not what I pictured my marriage being like.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you had similar thoughts go through your mind? So often these are the responses I get when I talk with couples who walk through my door. It is so sad to see how two people who used to be so in love and had wild dreams for their life have found themselves at a point where everything looks so hopeless and discouraging.
Though it is sad and my heart feels for the pain they feel, I also feel this is an amazing time.
Amazing? Did she really just say amazing? Yes I did. Let me explain why.
So many times when people find themselves distant and emotionally disconnected from each other they tend not to get help. Many times people just keep pushing through until they just can not do it anymore and chose to divorce or live separate lives while remaining in the same home, typically for the sake of the kids. But when a couple walks through my door and they are there telling me about their pain and discouragement I feel a sense of awe because there is potential to help them work hard to find a marriage better than they could imagine.
Well, if people are willing to commit to therapy and seek the help they need to restore their marriage then they will begin to discover ways to communicate, understand and relate to one another that they might not have ever experienced before.
When we are in the early stages of our relationship, this seems so easy and natural so it isn't something we think about often. Then when it comes time for engagement and wedding vows, we are consumed by the excitement of the planning and preparing for the big day. After the wedding day, typically newlyweds enjoy the newness of the marriage and disregard any annoyances their spouse may cause.
However, as time goes on and life takes its course, often times we begin to realize that marriage takes work!
The relationship and connection doesn't come as easy as it might have once before. As time passes whether you may be aware or not, the two of you find yourself in a space that doesn't feel familiar nor good. Becoming emotionally disconnected presents itself with many problems: communication difficulties, problems resolving conflict, dulled passion, lack of intimacy and possibly even the break down of trust. All of these problems can be worked on and resolved but it takes effort, time and patience.
Hardly ever will you find a quick fix for your relationship.
Patience is key to success.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say “Sue” and “Tom” come in for counseling because they feel they have problems communicating and keep fighting over and over again about the same issues. They present their situation to me and Sue is completely frustrated and pretty much done fighting. She has tried multiple times to get Tom’s attention to her dissatisfaction in the marriage but he “just wont hear it.” Where Tom feels like there isn't much wrong, they just fight often and they need to learn how to communicate better. However, with further pursuit to dig more from them regarding their marriage relationship, we find somewhere along the way they have lost the connection they once had.
Helping them identify their negative cycle of repetitive arguments and miscommunication helps them to see where it goes wrong. Over time, as we work on feeling more safe and secure the expression of vulnerable emotions get brought to the conversation so now Sue and Tom can begin to hear how they are truly feeling underneath all of the anger and frustration. This is where we can explore expectations, needs and vulnerable feelings. Things that have been far removed from any conversations they had been having. This then allows them to begin to learn a new cycle that fosters emotional transparency, clear communication and a connection that begins to create a secure bond between them that might have never fully been there to begin with. It is a process.
Trusting the process and allowing yourself to dive deep into finding who you are and realizing the needs you have in conjunction with doing the very same thing with your spouse. This is where it gets amazing. It is an absolutely amazing process to watch unfold as two people learn to find each other again. To engage in the process of reconnecting all over again. So many times people may think it is too late or the frustration and anger is too great for them to “love” their spouse again. But I believe in the power of patience and great effort.
Love is a choice, it is not always a feeling. When we feel we have lost the “feeling” of being in love we need to switch gears and CHOOSE to be in love. Every day, make a small choice that puts one foot closer in the direction of positive movement towards your spouse. It is the little things and choices that lead to the great experience of a secure and love filled marriage that is more rewarding than you could have ever imagined. And you want to know why? Because walking through that door allowed you the amazing opportunity to restore the marriage and reconnect with your spouse in a way that might never had happened if you never walked in that office. That is why though it is sad it is also so incredibly amazing!
Working with couples is one of my favorite things to do. I truly enjoy the dynamics between two people and helping them find each other again, to reconnect and restore the marriage! I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or feedback, I would love to hear it.