Rough patches are inevitable in any relationship. Learning to navigate them will save your marriage, strengthen your bond, and prepare you to overcome the next storm. The secret is to stick it out until you’ve done all you can. If your marriage is under stress, here are seven easy-to-implement tips.
Agree to Disagree
Subconsciously, couples worldwide expect to agree at least most of the time. This expectation sets people up for disillusionment when serious disagreements occur in quick succession. However, you can approach rough patches objectively and empathetically if you keep in mind that you and your partner are unique individuals who can hold contradictory opinions.
Remember the Good Times
A rough patch can be blinding, making it challenging to value a marriage objectively. It’s common for couples to assume their marriage is terrible or doomed because of the prevailing unhappy state. Instead, practice the art of gratitude for your partner and marriage outside of the issues. See how that feeds hope into the situation and helps to change your attitude.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
Blaming one another is a sure way to sink deeper into the rut, prolonging the rough patch, and you don’t want that. Instead, each party should reflect on and evaluate their part in the lead-up to the conflict. Only then can it be possible to have a calm, reconciliatory discourse.
Be the Bigger Person
Understandably, when you’re angry or hurt, you would rather isolate yourself than reach out to your spouse. To repair your disrupted bond, reconnect and close the emotional distance created by hurt feelings. One of you will have to budge, so it might as well be you. Being the bigger person doesn’t make your hurt or disappointment illegitimate; it serves to get things resolved faster. Drawn-out conflicts are susceptible to wrong assumptions and worse outcomes.
Don’t Give up Easily
Even though divorce statistics may be damning, avoid giving up on your marriage before putting considerable effort into reconciliation. Think of it this way: if one out of 10 people who get Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection, according to CDC, does it mean all ten people should give up on getting better because they have no idea if they will survive? Of course not! Be optimistic. It’s better to navigate a rough patch with a positive mindset.
Incorporate Healthy Habits into Your Marriage
Why does up to 70% of the world’s population live in concrete structures? Concrete makes buildings sturdy. Marriages work the same way; incorporating healthy habits into your marriage is like using concrete in a building. Habits such as going to therapy, spending quality time together, fine-tuning your conflict resolution skills, and learning to listen actively ensure rough patches don’t shake the core of the marriage.
Get to the Bottom of Issues
Suppose the rough patch is because of a recurring issue in your marriage that wasn’t resolved conclusively the last time. Trust and relational safety are eroded with each conflict cycle. You may realize the current conflict feels worse than the previous one. When trust is eroded, people become resentful, defensive, and vengeful. The post-conflict period can be equated to probation. According to All Law, if you violate the probation, the judge will give you a sentence of over six months. Whether you’re dealing with legal issues or marriage issues, it’s important to do your best to respect eachother.
Your marriage is worth fighting for, and while it would be nice if every day was a walk in the park, sometimes you may have to go through a rough patch. When this happens, your resilience and determination to ride the rough patches will determine if it lasts or goes under, and if it gets too difficult to ride the storm, hunker down and let it pass.