Are you in a marriage that is falling apart? Well, you’re not alone. Every year it seems that the rate of divorce just keeps going up.
Hollywood stars make divorce seem so normal that we marvel at celebrities with long-standing marriages like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson who have been married since 1988.
I can personally attest to the fact that marriage is not always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, I will say beyond a shadow of a doubt that marriage is hard.
There are things you can do to save your marriage when it is falling apart.
So, how do you save a marriage that is falling apart? It starts with communication. It is the bridge between you and your partner.
Easier said than done! Your partner cannot read your mind. Stop guessing! Start communicating.
What Is Communication?
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Com·mu·ni·ca·tion noun \kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən\: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc.to someone else.
The definition of communication is pretty clear and straightforward. However, communication is the biggest problem in relationships. But why?
This is because communication is not just about the words you say. It is also about the manner in which you communicate.
Language alone is not enough for communicating. In fact, one study showed that up to 97% of communication is non-verbal!
Communication involves your facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. This is why face to face communication is so important.
Communicating by chat, text or email can be risky. When you are communicating with your partner via chat, email, or text, you do not see each other.
Here’s another common problem. We think that everybody sees things the way we do. But, this is not the case. We can be in the same exact situation and everyone can a completely different explanation of what happened!
Proper communication requires that couples validate their partner’s perspective to let them know that they make sense to at least one other person. Do not mistake validation for agreement. You can understand your partner’s point of view even if you don’t agree with it. Validation says, “I can see where you’re coming from, this makes sense to me” even if you disagree.
It may sound complex and overwhelming but here at Marriage Boot Camp, we have fine-tuned our strategies over the years and we can teach you how to communicate effectively using the simple tools that we have developed.
Men and women speak two languages: an emotional language and a logical language.
The logical language is for sharing information. For example: What are you doing? The logical answer is I am working or I am in the middle of something. It’s giving information about what is being asked.
Emotional language is indirect and can be complicated. The emotional language is asking for affirmation, not information and is often a call for connection.
When your partner asks: Does this dress make me look fat? In reality, what she may be saying is, look at me and affirm that you find me attractive.
In a relationship, it is important that you recognize when your partner is using an emotional language versus a logical language.
Be aware that emotional language is not only for women. Men also use an emotional language, although differently. Usually, men whine about how hard they work or complain about the bills.
Pay attention to your partner’s different language expressions and be ready to give affirmation when needed.
Oftentimes, an argument starts with a misunderstanding of which language your partner is speaking.
For example, if your partner asks, “Does my butt look big in this dress?” the first thing you need to determine is, is this an emotional question or is this a logical question.
If you answer, “Well, you do have a butt and obviously it shows” that could start World War three if this were a bid for affirmation.
If what she actually meant was “Do you still find me attractive even with all the changes in my body?” and you gave her a blunt answer, you would hurt her.
The same misunderstanding can happen with the logical language. If your partner asks you a straightforward question like, “Where is my suit?” and you answer with, “I know you like to look good all the time.”
This may confuse your husband and he may even think that you weren’t listening to him. The simple solution is this – pay attention and slow down.
Be sure that you attend to the context of the conversation and as a rule of thumb, always start with affirmation instead of information.
As individuals, we perceive things differently. This is very personal and your belief or perception may not be the same with your partner.
Below are a few of the topics that cause conflict in marriage:
▫️ Disciplining the children
▫️ Time management
▫️ Family time
▫️ Being on time
▫️ Use of gadgets
In marriage, arguments happen but slowing down and working to understand your partner is crucial.
There are differences in beliefs and perceptions that might not be obvious. We may think we understand but if we are wrong, misunderstandings can lead to even bigger conflicts.
It is essential that you communicate with your partner how you feel and perceive something. Remember, our perceptions or beliefs are not always the same.
Your partner cannot always guess what is on your mind and vice versa.
We, at Marriage Boot Camp, have come up with the A-B-C formula which will help you and your partner resolve your communication conflict.
This formula will help you both understand how each of you interprets a situation. Knowing how you each perceive a situation is the beginning of understanding and will give your discussion a solid starting point.
We all have different needs and wants that are personal and unique. Being able to communicate these to our partners is crucial to getting our needs met. You must be able to describe what it looks like to have your need fulfilled so that your mate can be set up for success.
Remember, your needs and wants are not universal. They are special and unique to you. Therefore, you need to communicate your needs and wants to your partner in a way that your partner will understand.
Here is another mistake that many people make. We are sometimes hesitant to talk openly about our needs because we fear that asking for our needs to be met is selfish. Selfishness is at times bad, but healthy self-interest and self-care are always good!
Self-care and self-love are the cornerstones of a healthy life and you will be a better partner if you take your personal needs seriously.
Many couples make this mistake and end up being bitter as they secretly wait for their partners to fulfill their needs without telling them what those needs are.
If you are complaining that you are not getting your needs met or you are criticizing your mate for not doing enough, then you need to step back and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to set your mate up for success.
Your needs will only be met if you clearly communicate exactly what your needs and wants look like. You must be able to paint an exact and detailed picture for your mate to follow.
Here’s an example: his need is for respect. Ask him what respect looks like to him? His answer was, “I would feel respected if you tell me how much you appreciate my hard work.” Now that is something you can do!
Remember, unfulfilled needs and wants will stack up over time and cause pain and hurt which leads to conflict.
This is the start of nagging, shutting down, jabbing, sarcasm, and other destructive behaviors that cause separation between partners.
When partners feel distant from their mates and unable to get what their hearts long for, sometimes partners will look for ways to fill the emptiness and often find unhealthy ways that can lead to the destruction of the relationship.
To break this cycle, communicate your needs and wants to each other in a clear, understandable, and actionable manner and seek to find ways to fulfill each other’s needs.
Here are examples of the top needs and what it looks like when it is met:
▪️ Affection – “Hug me when I come home from work.”
▪️ Appreciation – “Tell me that you see how much I do for our family.”
▪️ Commitment – “Make me your number 1 priority with your time.”
▪️ Communication – “Share the things that are on your heart.”
▪️ Equality – “Consider my opinions by mirroring, then allowing me to influence your decisions.”
▪️ Fun – “Plan a date night.”
▪️ Honesty – “Allow me access to your phone at any time.”
▪️ Intimacy – “Make sex a priority and plan opportunities to connect with me.”
▪️ Leadership – “Make well thought out decisions and share them with me.”
▪️ Respect – “Speak well of me in public.”
▪️ Security – “Provide for the family in a way that meets our needs.”
▪️ Support – “Be on my side when your family talks badly of me.”
▪️ Touch – “Hold my hand and put your arm around me.”
▪️ Trust – “Make your social media accounts available to me.”
▪️ Unconditional love – “Tell me that you will never leave me no matter how hard life gets.”
▪️ Understanding – “MVP, MIRROR back what I say, VALIDATE that it makes sense to you, and share the HOPE that you have for us.”
Your needs and wants are unique and special. You must be confident and find ways to communicate your heart’s desires in a way that does not feel like a put down to your mate.
Be sure to be specific when communicating your needs. Use examples that your partner can understand.
Remember, communication is a two-way street. When your partner is talking, you must actively listen and vice versa.
When having a discussion like this, it is imperative that you use healthy Boot Camp tools to keep the conversation flowing, warm and inviting.
Make sure that you do not judge your mate’s needs. Be sure to mirror, validate and share your hope.
What are the signs that your marriage is falling apart?
It is not hard to realize when your marriage is falling apart. The tell-tale signs are everywhere.
1. Every time you have a disagreement, it becomes a power struggle. Neither is willing to let go and compromise.
2. You become strangers to each other. The willingness to make your partner happy is gone and you feel distant, just roommates who live together.
3. Romance is lacking and intimacy is pretty much non-existent.
If you want to answer the question, “is my relationship falling apart?”, think of the signs above.
These are the signs that your marriage is falling apart and seeking the professional help of a marriage counselor will benefit your marriage fitness.
What causes a broken marriage?
There are a lot of reasons why a marriage falls apart. Below are some of the most common reasons that lead to a broken marriage:
▪️ Infidelity which leads to lack of trust
▪️ Lack of time for each other
▪️ Poor communication
▪️ Pride and ego
▪️ Domestic abuse
▪️ Lack of mutual understanding and support
▪️ Lack of responsibility and commitment
▪️ Compatibility issues
What to do when your relationship is falling apart?
When conflict erupts, it is easy to feel like you want to give up on your marriage.
Before you decide to end your marriage, get help! Marriage Boot Camp is one of the most effective ways to save a marriage that is falling apart.
Also, find a marriage counselor who can see things objectively and help point out what you and your partner should work on to make your marriage work.
Below are the signs that indicate that you need marriage counseling when your marriage is falling apart:
Discussions turn into heated arguments.
The thought of your partner sours your mood and vice versa.
You feel like strangers to each other.
You are not interested in making an effort to make each other happy
Romance seems to be a thing of the past.
You don’t care anymore.
You feel disconnected from each other.
Remember, you have the power to have a marriage that stays strong or falls apart.
If you feel that you have done everything to try and save your marriage that is falling apart, consider the Marriage Boot Camp, marriage counseling or relationship therapy.
If your marriage is crumbling, do not hesitate to seek professional help. We, at Marriage Boot Camp, can help save your marriage from falling apart. Call us at 866.477.0951 and let’s breathe a new life to your marriage!