ups and downs in marriage

Married life can be filled with ups and downs.  Whether you’re a newlywed or have been married for years, there will definitely be times in your relationship when you feel frustrated, sad, angry, annoyed, or irritable.  Sometimes a simple chore like taking out the trash can push you over the edge, and other times a more serious issue, like a forgotten anniversary, can cause you to question everything.

On the flip side, there will also be times in your marriage when you feel completely in love, bonded, connected, secure, and happy.  Moments of thoughtfulness, playfulness, exploration, discovery, and quiet time together can make you feel like you’re on top of the world.  There is nothing better than feeling loved, like everything in your relationship is just clicking.

Serious problems arise in a marriage, however, when a couple gets stuck in a down-swing, unable to shift into a better place.  Often unaware that it’s natural for all relationships to ebb and flow, some couples become paralyzed when their relationship isn’t working or fighting occurs.  Clinging to maintain their foot hold or strength, they argue and fight, resist “giving in,” won’t back down, and push their partner away, which eventually causes distance.

Successful couples, on the other hand, understand that in order to maintain happiness and balance in their marriage, they must learn how to shift their gears. These couples know that an argument about the dishes in the sink isn’t just about the dishes in the sink.  They recognize when it’s time to address deeper, unresolved issues, notice unhealthy patterns, and put effort into making things better.  When difficulties arise, these couples communicate, take the risk to express their feelings, listen to one another, and work TOGETHER to create a solution.

Remember it isn’t that successful couples don’t argue, it’s just that they’ve learned how to deal with conflict.  They have enough trust in their relationship to shift a damaging pattern and try something different.  These couples view their marriage as an important part of their life, believe they can resolve differences, value and honor each other’s feelings, and come together to work things out.  Successful couples know how to make it work, and get back to an up-swing.

So, next time you find yourself upset, hurt, or angry with your partner first identify the gear you’re stuck in and look for ways to shift it.  Do something different.  Trust that it is okay to be vulnerable, share your feelings, and ask for your needs to be met.  The more comfortable you become in getting back to an up by breaking old, unhealthy patterns, the more successful your relationship will be and the happier you’ll feel.