With the recent headlines of the unfortunate struggles with the marriage of Jon and Kate, from the show “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” it makes me reflect on the importance of taking a “Time out”. How many times do we, as women, get so focused on our children and their growth that we lose site of our own needs and the importance of putting ourselves and our relationships first. How many of you have struggled with every day life, and at the end of the day “crashed” into bed hoping for at least 5 hours of sleep to try to start it all over again or at the end of the day feeling guilty taking a bath in the hopes to feel human again?
No wonder more than 50% of relationships end in divorce. Relationships are hard work, little alone adding children to the mix. These days some couples find themselves trying separation to see how everyone, including the children, would tolerate a divorce. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could clearly communicate in order to better understand each others needs before we look to separating? Don’t we all deserve at least a chance to remember what brought us together in the first place?
Relationships, of any kind, take maintenance. Frequently in separations, because we are focusing on growing ourselves stronger and trying out the “separation” that we forget if we truly want the relationship to work we must cultivate the relationship. We must look towards each other and not away from for the situation to get better. Many individuals make the mistake of looking outside the marriage for support, but don’t believe the old adage “the grass is always greener” and trade in your relationship for a new one.
The good news? (And there is good news!) There are three major things we can do to help keep our marriage or relationship strong. 1. Spend time together. This does not have to be long amounts of time as long as it is quality time. No sitting quietly in front of the TV on separate ends of the couch, but looking at each other talking about all sorts of topics. It is important to feel connected, and without eye contact and physical touch emotional separation begins. 2. Take time for taking care of your self. Get a massage, put on an outfit that you feel attractive in, put on make up, and most importantly feel special. If you feel special, your significant other is sure to notice the difference. 3. Fight fair! It is important for us to make sure to communicate our feelings, but make sure that we are not doing this to hurt the other. Use the “When you….. I feel…….” approach. How many of you have said “Why can’t you help out with the kids?” or “You never consider my feelings!” Instead try, “When you don’t help with the kids bath I feel you don’t appreciate what I do for this family, “ or “When you tell me to stop nagging I feel you don’t care about my feelings.” See the difference? The second situation allows them to recognize the specific behavior they are doing and then how that makes you feel. This technique takes some getting use to, but with time will be more natural to you both and will help to distinguish the difference between belittling each others feelings and getting to the root issue, how the behaviors are making you feel.
At the end of the day there are still couples that decide separation and divorce is the right decision, but we all want to make sure that when making such a huge decision we have tried out all the possibilities. After all, this is a decision that will impact ourselves and others for years to come; don’t we want to make sure we are giving the relationship our all? I know I do.
Again words of wisdom from Jacqueline Dawes (www.brookhavenretreat.com)
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