Five Tips For When Your Marriage Struggles Or Drifts


Here’s a quick video I did on Periscope recently. 

If you don’t have time to watch/listen to the video, here’s what I wrote before recording, not a full transcript.

I hope you are well. 

I know some of you aren’t. 
You’ve lost your way. 
You’re marriage is struggling. 
You feel like giving up and that scares you. 
Or you don’t feel anything. 
You just don’t care and you’re not sure if you love your spouse anymore. 
You’re just going through the motions. 

It hurts to lose your best friend. 
Some of you, the isolation of this struggle is making you lose your faith in God and the church. 
It hurts to see your wife so focused on the kids and Pinterest. 
You don’t like seeing her so stressed and unhappy. 
You feel like you’ve failed her. 

It hurts to see your husband so focused on sports, on work. 
You feel rejected by his anger or silence. 
It’s painful to know you’ve drifted apart but not know what to do about it 
It’s discouraging that every time to try to work on it, it just seems to blow up in your face and get worse. 
And it’s demoralizing when you remember when you enjoyed sex but now you just feel used, resentful and unsatisfied with that. 

In the middle of it, there’s moments of hope. 
You still hope you it’ll get better someday. 
Maybe when the kids are older, when you’re less busy. 
But you aren’t sure if you’ll make it. 
Will will be left of the both of you to salvage when the pain is tearing away at your souls, at your love for each other? 

Here’s a few things to find and fight your way back. 

1) Own your part. If you’re on a path of drifting away, stop, assess what is pulling you away or what are you choosing and turn back.  Turn back toward your spouse, toward home.  The home you had in each other. For some of you, this might mean repenting and turning back towards God and dealing with being spiritually off track.  Take back control of what you can.  Stop blameshifting or being victimized by your partner. 

2) Apologize.  Ask forgiveness for your contribution to the problem.  Even if they don’t react well at first.  If there’s a lot of hurt and anger stored up, go slow.  This is hard. 

3) Ask them for what they need or want for things to be better. For them to trust you again.  For them to feel closer, to feel valued and important in your life again.  For them to heal and feel safe with you again.  This can be risky, your spouse may not be open to sharing this because they may not want to be disappointed and hurt.  They may be so hurt or angry that they actually may not want you to succeed.  Try anyway.   

4) Follow up on if it is working.  Set behavioral goals, what you will do and say differently.  Actions and following through on agreements and commitments help to restore trust, not wishful thinking and words.  So checking back in after a week and asking, How did that go?  What went well?  What didn’t?  Did you do what you said you were going to do?  What got in the way?  What do we need to adjust?  What will we work on next? 

5) Ask for help. If this doesn’t work or is too hard.   That can be from a friend, a pastor, a counselor. 

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Licensed professional counselor and health coach in Portland, OR Pre-marital and couples counseling. Individual counseling for anxiety, depression, insomnia, sleep disorders, sexual addiction, porn addiction, career, transitions, grief, burnout, personal growth.

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