A marriage falls apart when communication gets garbled and partners don’t talk it out. For example, one partner says something, but what the spouse hears is something completely different than what’s intended – that’s garbled. Because of our childhood backgrounds or current emotional self-esteem, we can misinterpret what is said by a well-meaning spouse. Once that seed of misunderstanding is planted, it can grow at an alarming rate and fester to poison all communication. To untangle that web of misunderstandings can be difficult once it’s well established because by then, everything said in the future, points to that seed (even if it was a core misunderstanding). Unless there’s some open and seriously truthful discussion of what each person thinks, to clear away the debris of what they really meant, then the trouble increases. Ultimately, a complete breakdown in communication occurs from which, unless there’s marriage counseling, there’s no point of return.
How horrendously sad.
And if you’re not a mind-reader, you may never know what’s ultimately going on in your spouse’s head when they are distant and hurting unless they share with you. But to share with you, to be vulnerable and to say what’s on their minds, is hard when they are hurting or mad.
On the other side, if you are the one hurting and not sharing, then you are making it impossible for your partner and for you to communicate. Sure, it’s hard to say you’re hurting or mad or be vulnerable in any situation. But to remain silent and angry or distant isn’t helping the situation either. It’s simply adding fuel to the fire of disengagement between you and your spouse. It’s breaking down that tender thread that holds you together as a couple.
It happens over time, this stress on the tender threads of love that bind you as a couple. Years of past hurts can build up if not cleared out of your psyche and old wounds fester when we repeatedly allow the same baloney to occur. Forgiveness is key. Appreciation is key. Gratitude is key and open lines of communication are key. In addition, kind, physical contact – a spontaneous hug or kiss which doesn’t necessarily lead to the bedroom (or does if both are in the mood!) – can soothe a stressful spouse and speak volumes more than hashing out the latest litany of complaints. Not that I’m saying that the affectionate fanny pat that you may give her while she’s doing the dishes and you’re walking to the fridge to grab a beer makes everything ok. Nope, no way. But if you were to wrap your arms around her and do the dishes with her or hand her the beer and you take over the dishes because you can see she’s stressed out, now that’s a different story. On the other hand, if your hubby’s stressed out, try to be extra kind and gentle. Let him relax with the remote in hand while you do the dishes alone without pouting.
It’s a give and take dear friends. It’s when we keep score, that it all goes sour. Sometimes we give more and take less, sometimes we take more and give less and sometimes, we sit on the seesaw in perfect balance. But we have to be there together in order to make it work. Opting out is the option that leads to divorce and separation.
Remember to treat your partner with respect as you would your friend. Friendship is a give and take as is marriage.
Don’t opt out! Talk it out!