“How in the world can I fix my marriage or make it better?” That’s not the first thought a man usually has when he considers Spring. We think of warm sunshine, being outdoors with family and friends, and if you like sports, we think of March Madness. However, Spring is the perfect time to consider your marriage and where improvements are needed.
Spring is a season of renewal, bringing new hope and freshness. Even the best of unions require maintenance and adjustments, and it’s prudent advice to say that now is the time to give your marriage a good spring cleaning. Here are 5 common areas of marital troubles, and suggestions on how to clean them up.
1. Lingering Resentments
Lingering resentments are dangerous within a marriage. Each partner avoids the subject for fear of confrontation, and it remains buried. The source could be heavy, such as financial health, or it could be petty, like jealousies and insecurities. But it needs to be addressed.
Suggested Solution: Both of you need to talk through the taboo subjects. Be calm, respectful of each other, and fully listen to what the other has to say. Apologize if called for, offer forgiveness to begin the healing, and if need be, seek counseling through church or professional services.
2. Different Visions
It’s so important in marriage to be on the same page when it comes to the vision for your family. It’s so important in marriage to be on the same page when it comes to the vision for your family. Nearly everything is under that umbrella, including faith, your children’s futures, empty nest years, and even retirement. Couples that don’t communicate well often find out they have different visions of the future. That leads to big problems when the marriage hits that milestone. When a couple says, “We just drifted apart,” what they’re really saying is they didn’t talk about the future and plan it carefully as a team.
Suggested Solution: Select a time and place with your wife to sit down and talk about how each of you views the future. You both should come to the discussion with short and long term vision goals. It’s effective to have a series of these talks focusing on just one topic at a time. It’s less overwhelming and allows for more depth of conversation. Emerge from each topic with an agreed upon plan of action.
Media in all its various forms is wonderful in certain ways, but it’s also distracting and keeps us from growing our relationships.
Suggested Solution: Create a place in or around your home that is media free where real discussions happen. My wife and I accomplished that by adding a gas fire pit outdoors. We love that space, and our teen daughters join us out there at times, too.
4. Unhealthy Friendships
Close friends outside the marriage are important, but sometimes we have casual friends that bring unwanted trouble. The people we surround ourselves with is a strong indicator of what direction we are headed. Use this time of refreshing and renewal to look closely at who you spend your time with outside of the family.
Suggested Solution: Friends that encourage destructive behavior choices, like drugs, alcohol abuse, or even marriage infidelity, need to be put aside. Misery loves company and will enter any door it finds open. Close yours.
5. Defining Happiness
The same media we spend too much time watching creates confusion about what true happiness should look like. Life isn’t a movie and reality isn’t Facebook or Instagram. Those are snippets in time, and usually carefully orchestrated to stir your emotions. In between all those short bursts of awesome is our real lives, and there’s a lot of gaps to fill. Within those gaps is where lasting happiness is either found or missing. What sustains the marriage happily outside of temporary pleasures like romance and adventure? What is the glue? For us, it’s our faith.
Suggested Solution: Make the effort to have an honest conversation with your wife about personal happiness. What does it feel like to each of you? Decide to work together to realistically find your unique place where peace and contentment can be found.
Sound off: What is one small thing you have you done lately, or could do, to improve your marriage?
Huddle up with your wife tonight and make a plan to do a marriage spring cleaning.