better marriage

10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive) in a Difficult Marriage

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It’s important that we understand that the concepts of “difficult marriage” and “good marriage” can be compatible. The truth is the best relationships involve challenge because challenge is typically a prerequisite for experiencing the best. If your marriage does not involve challenge (and even conflict) then you are, in all likelihood, barely scraping the surface of what is possible in terms of a life-charged relationship. So if you are experiencing a difficult marriage hang in there.

Life is always a work in progress and so are the best marriages. As you work out your commitment to create a better marriage, here are 10 ways to survive and thrive in a difficult marriage.

1. Remember the most important element in the meaning of love is commitment.

Great relationships are predicated on long-term faithfulness. Time is not just a great healer; time also provides the space we need to work things out.

2. Apply the biological definition of “life” to your marriage.

Life is that which distinguishes something vital and functional from something that is dead.
Life is a force associated with animation, or vigor.
Life is a state characterized by metabolism, growth, the ability to react, reproduction and constant adaptation via internal change.

3. Change your perception.

Real life is challenging and life without challenge is, by definition, “life-less.” All of us enjoy a little calm. But try viewing difficulties in your marriage as opportunities to grow.

4. Consider the fact that there are always two alternatives to every situation.

We can either elevate the experience or make it worse. Your response sets the trajectory and sets into motion what is possible.

5. Connect with a support group.

Your wife and you both need to be surrounded by deliberate encouragement and loving accountability. To find that, you need to surround your marriage with couples who are in strong relationships.

6. Commit to positive change in yourself.

Do you want your spouse to change? The only person you can change in a marriage is yourself. Positive personal growth can be the catalyst for positive change in the relationship.

7. Hold yourself accountable.

Always look for where you can accept responsibility first. When we are willing to be the change we imagine we have already opened the gate for positive change in our spouse.

8. Never blame.

Resist the urge to blame your wife for difficulties, even when you know you’re doing your best. The assignment of blame is always a step backward.

9. Always affirm.

Don’t lie because insincerity always falls flat. However, when we find positives and then follow them with heart-felt affirmation, we demonstrate both compassion and belief. Belief is a strong asset to a marriage.

10. Love with increasing eloquence.

Always aim to raise your own game. When we love our wives with creativity and energy, what we’re doing is the best kind of leadership available. It’s called leading from the front with the heart of a servant.

Sound Off

What have you done to improve your marriage lately?

  • Jess Stuart

    I’ve tried. I’m tired of doing 90% of the work maintaining our relationship. Jesus Christ my wife will not even say “thanks” anymore when I make a special effort to do something nice for her. I’ve never been unfaithful, and have worked very hard to support her financially, emotionally, and help out around the house. I believe she sees our marriage as some kind of game. She gets extremely upset whenever something does not go her way, and isn’t really willing to compromise on anything. There are days where I honestly believe she would rather see our marriage fall apart than to put in the extra effort to save it.

    • MC1302

      Jess,
      I could write the same thing about my marriage. The part that gets me the most is that my wife is the only person in the world I don’t get along with. Like you, I’ve tried and I feel like I’m the only one who is in any pain because of our dysfunctional marriage. I do everything I’m supposed to do as husband, father and man and get nowhere. I been faithful, I provide and save, I love my children dearly (and let them know it), I coach, volunteer, maintain our home, serve our country part-time and don’t ask for much of anything, if anything at all, from my wife. I don’t bother physically or emotionally with her anymore because I’ve been rebuffed to many times. Even our friends are shocked at her callous behavior sometimes. Her family, who we see constantly, are good people, but they are enablers and don’t call her out on her BS. The only thing that drives me to get out of bed everyday is the opportunity to get away from her and get my mind on other things. Even then I’m miserable all the time and don’t know what to do. A divorce would ruin me in all aspects of life.

      – MC1302

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