What if feeling distant in your marriage isn’t something that has to last forever? What if you really could turn the corner?
Every Friday I like to post a quick 400-word marriage inspirational piece to give you one thought to chew on over the weekend. This week’s is a super important one. Please read it with an open mind, because often when you’re in the middle of a distant marriage, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do. What if there is?
Sheila’s Marriage Moment: When Your Marriage Feels Distant
Are you generally a nice person?
Seriously, do people generally like you? Are you kind to others, asking about how they’re doing and genuinely caring if they’re having a hard time? Do you go out of your way to make others feel at ease around you?
Now, try your best to answer this one objectively: Is your husband generally a nice person? Do others find him trustworthy and kind? Do others consider him responsible?
If you’re like most people, the answer to both questions will be “yes”, because most people enjoy being liked by others and genuinely enjoy having good relationships with others.
(Some people don’t. Some people honestly do see others are means to an end, and in that case, we’re likely dealing with a mental illness or true personality disorders. In that’s true for you, please read this post about emotionally destructive marriages.)
Now ask yourself this question: Am I a different person with the way that I act towards my husband? Is he a different person with the way he acts towards me?
For instance, I have a friend who is a gregarious person, who is always helpful and kind. She’s always smiling, and she has a ton of friends. Yet with her husband she rarely smiles and rarely has a conversation. She just explains what she needs him to do, and that’s where talking ends.
The way that she acts with her husband is completely at odds with her natural personality.
Similarly, her husband is usually very aware of others’ feelings and goes to lengths to make sure those in their church feel welcome. Yet he doesn’t seem to care for his wife.
I have seen this dynamic in so many relationships, and here’s what I’ve concluded:
When two people treat each other much more harshly and less lovingly than they treat everyone else, the problem is usually a relationship one, not a character one.'When spouses treat each other worse than everyone else, it often can be fixed. Here's why: 'Click To Tweet
That’s so key to understand, because the reason that the negative dynamic started was usually something like this:
He does something and she feels hurt. She assumes that he meant to hurt her. She tries to explain and he doesn’t get it, cementing the idea that he doesn’t care. She withdraws. He feels distant, so he withdraws. And soon they’re prickly with each other because they both feel unloved.
But what if he never meant to hurt her? What if it was simply a misunderstanding? What if it’s simply personality differences? After years of hurt and more walls being built up, it’s hard to get back to the beginning.
Most divorces happen because two people start treating each other worse than they do everybody else because they’ve been hurt. So ask yourself: Is the way we treat each other indicative of our character, or really more a sign of our relationship?
And if it’s your relationship–it’s totally fixable! Sit down and talk about it. Try to start doing more fun things together and build your friendship with your husband. Be kind. And you may find that that dynamic can change back!
Do you feel like your marriage has taken a weird turn, and you have lost that ability to see each other in a good light and be kind to one another? Maybe you just need to change the way you think!
And it doesn’t have to be that hard.
My book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage can take you through some basic questions that pinpoint where your marriage went off the rails–and can help you get back to feeling close again.
You’ll learn how to stop that drift that starts in most marriages–and how to change the constant irritation you feel into gratitude again–for real.