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A Marriage in Crisis Is Not an Emergency Room Visit

Marriage Maintenance

Marriage MaintenanceSometimes people come in to see me as if they are visiting an emergency room. I wonder why so many people wait until there is a crisis. The plain fact about marriage is that it takes a lot more than love and good intentions to make it work.

There are certain skills that you need to practice that will absolutely make a huge difference. You can learn these skills at any time. You are not doomed because your parents had a horrible marriage, or because you have never seen anyone with a successful marriage. Like any skills, you need time to practice them before you master them. It probably took awhile for your marriage to get into a mess, and it is going to take some time for it to be repaired.

Decide today to try something new. Often clients exclaim “I’ve tried everything! Nothing has worked!” What they mean is that they have tried the same thing 100 times and it didn’t work.

Today, try understanding before giving your spouse advice. You may be sick to death of hearing him/her complain about the same thing, and you want him/her to “step up to the plate”, etc. In this way, you are communicating to your spouse that you do not hear and understand him/her. People must be heard, understood and valued before they can trust and share intimacy. When you don’t hear your partner, you reject him/her. One way to practice the skill of understanding is to listen without giving advice. Just show empathy for your spouse’s feelings. Does(s)he want you to be enthusiastic? Show some enthusiasm! Does (s)he want you to understand that (s)he is afraid, or worried? Just be a friend and understand. Don’t fix the problem. Practice the skill of listening and understanding today. Practice it all month. See if something doesn’t change in your marriage.