The dating process and the engagement period are there for a reason: to get to know someone.
It seems we have forgotten this and gone right from introductions, followed by a rush to sleep together, then living together. Finally (if ever) people get married.
It’s so sad that so many couples are looking for ways on how to survive in an unhappy marriage. If they would take a little time in the beginning, many of these problems can be avoided. They wouldn’t have to ask themselves years down the road, “Should I stay in an unhappy marriage?”
Did I miss Evelyn Wood’s Relationship Guide? No wonder our divorce and poverty rates are so high. ENOUGH ALREADY!
There is no time to build trust when moving at warp speed. You should be learning about one another during this important time of dating and getting to know each other; building this initial friendship bond that will last a lifetime.
Here are my tips on avoiding Unhappy Marriages and Relationships
- When you immediately have sex with someone, the dynamic changes. You have left a part of yourself with that person. You cannot build a friendship as you previously could have because you have added a physical element. When things start to go bad in the relationship from this point on, it’s because the important parts – the foundational parts that make a relationship last were not put into place first. Trust is so easily broken at this point. You either have to go back and try to put them in place, or the relationship fails.
- Early in the dating cycle you should be learning if you even LIKE one another. You should be meeting each other’s families, and find out if you share similar interests, similar character traits and morals. Meeting one’s family can tell a lot about someone. Perhaps your mate is very different from their family, but many times the apple does not fall far from the tree. You get to see how they treat each other; how they treat their parents. These are all important things you will want to know.
- Things you want to see in any mate (dating or a spouse): kindness, gratitude, generosity. Many things can be overlooked in a relationship when there is love. But can you imagine living with a mate who is consistently ungrateful for the things you do for them, whether it is the hard days you put in at the office, the special meal you’ve spent all day cooking, or always making sure their needs are met?
- What about living with a mate who is always willing to take whatever you have to give, but never willing to give anything in return? This could be highlighting a big character flaw or selfishness on their part. If your honey is always up for a good time as long as you are the one providing it, it might be time to have an honest conversation about where your relationship is going. Taking advantage of someone’s kindness is not only immature, it is selfish. Relationships can’t grow unless both partners carry out their own responsibility.
- Once you have been dating for a while, you should be sharing details about your background, your finances, your future goals. This is not only true of younger people, but especially true of people marrying for the second (or third) time who have children. Before you ever walk down the aisle with someone, you should know what their financial situation is. This should be a non-negotiable and any accountant worth his salary will tell you so.
- Your marriage vows said (or will say) to love, honor, and cherish, for richer or poorer. How can you honor someone (and, quite frankly, honor God) if you A) did not trust your mate enough to be honest with them about your financial picture before marriage, which will now become a joint problem, or B) did not trust your relationship enough to have an open discussion about your bills? In either scenario, the relationship was not mature enough to move forward with marriage.
- Nothing can tear a couple apart faster than money problems. It is the number one thing couples fight about in marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met couples engaged, living together, and even couples who are married who have no idea what their spouse’s financial picture was, how much they owed going into marriage. In several cases, they realized too late how much debt they were now responsible for after saying I Do. Share your bank accounts and your credit reports. If someone refuses, you should run in the other direction as fast as you can. If you are already married, don’t run, but this needs to happen immediately or there is no honesty and respect being shown in this marriage. Someone is hiding something.
- Selfishness is another big problem in marriages today. Not just in first marriages either. Your spouse is an individual with their own life. Sometimes this is forgotten by a partner in marriage. This can be especially true early on in first marriages when one half of the couple is excited to have someone to do everything with and the other half is not so excited to be dragged places they’d rather not be going. They start to resent it.
- For couples who have been married before, a fine line needs to be walked. Many times children from previous marriages are involved. When, where, and how often they spend time with each family, who gets what gifts (or no gifts at all), can send hurtful messages that can break families and marriages apart. For these couples, they need to remember they each had families before and make sure one spouse’s selfishness is not taking the other away from their children, either intentionally or unintentionally. With children (and our grandchildren), our actions always speak louder than words, and the biggest thing we can give them is T.I.M.E.
- It’s never too late to work on an unhappy marriage or relationship. The best way to start – go to your spouse and admit where you have failed. Be humble. Then be willing to do what it takes to change. Be open and honest about everything in marriage. Marriage cannot survive without honesty and trust.
- Another great way to have a healthy marriage – invite God in. He created you. He created marriage. Live a God-centered life and watch how He transforms you both from the inside out. Prayer should be one of the #1 things in your relationship tool box.
Want to learn more on avoiding unhappy marriages and relationships? Communication Breakdown, Two Reasons Marriages Fail, and Living in an Unhappy Marriage are all great posts to read to help you go from an unhealthy marriage to healthy marriage. It just takes a little hard work and humility.
Did you transform your unhappy marriage or relationship?
I’m linking up here with these great blogs.
Keep the Faith,