Written by Malikah Muhammad
Marriage is a living thing. Every living thing has cycles. Even the tree has to lose its leaves in order for it restore itself with new life. How we handle those time of pain is crucial to the life of the relationship. In relationships, hurt is inevitable, but no pain lasts forever. More importantly, pain does not have to last long. Look at the problems you face as a symptom that comes with having a significant other. If the problem is a symptom, you can then assess the symptom, find it’s source, and prescribe for it the best remedy to alleviate the issue until it restored back to vitality. If you are currently experiencing difficulties, here are 7 ways to work toward rebuilding your relationship after a storm.
1. GET UNCOMFORTABLE AND HONEST
Marriage and relationships takes a lot of work. Many times we stall our own progress by avoiding the real issues. Get to the root of the problem. That means you two have to really get real. Very real. Super real! Be respectful, but speak straight words. We’ve all done it when it time to address the problem. We respond with “I don’t know, I just feel like…” or “Well, I kind of made me feel like…,” or resorting to avoid the conversation altogether by saying “It’s nothing”. Beating around the bush and not fully explaining what is going on will only build resentment. It will be uncomfortable, but it is the only way to get to the source of why the problems even exist. Remember, a symptom is only a sign that there is an issue. Get to the source of what is causing the pain. Talk it out.
2. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE PARTS YOU CONTRIBUTED TO THAT GOT YOU TWO WHERE YOU ARE
The same way you are looking to be understood, so is you partner. No one is perfect, including you. That means that there will be things that are a concern to you significant other as well. Take time to listen to him as well. You are not going to be the cause of every issue in your home, and neither will he, but you are held accountable for how you deal with every issue. Wether it means that you should have handled things more calm, or that you should have been more firm, always reflect on self and what you could have done better.
3. SEEK COUNSEL
Talk to people you trust who will tell you the truth. With certain illnesses, sometimes you go to another professional for second opinion. There are many licensed, trained professionals who specialize in relationships. Also, you can have dinner with another couple to talk in a relaxed way about the struggles in marriage, or even seek counsel with your Pastor or Minister. You don’t have to do it by yourselves. Having a great support system and knowing you are not alone can help with keeping you hopeful that you will make it through the storm.
4. PRAYER WORKS!
Let’s be honest, the advice might sound cliché, but it really does work. Firstly, God brought you two together, so he already knew the problems you’d face because he knows your imperfections. Secondly, talking to Him will keep you from useless, unproductive venting to other people. God listens! Lastly, everything we struggle with, whether as individuals or in relationships, is only designed to bring us to Him and strengthen our faith in Him. Lay your pride down, surrender to the process, and observe how things can turn around.
5. HEAL YOURSELF! BE A BETTER YOU FIRST!
The best decision you can make for your relationship is to decide to be the best YOU! A major part of surrendering to the process is not only focusing on the flaws that your significant other has. He may change, but what if he doesn’t? Who are you? Do you have an existence without them. You have to ask yourself, “He makes me whole, but am I a complete individual without him? What do I need for myself to be a complete half to this whole?” Let’s say you did all you could to get him to understand, then what? Where does that leave you? Most of us think about our relationships with the perspective of what the other should do in order for things to be better. That’s actually our ego; expecting someone to be for us what we should be for ourselves. Of course work on the relationship, but focus on yourself. What are your triggers? What are you character flaws? Get to learn yourself and be so in love with you. In marriage, many of us get completely engulfed into the relationship that we lose focus on ourselves. Your perspective and attitude will change when you begin to do the work on bettering my yourself physically, mentally , and spiritually. Then energy in the relationship will begin to shift because you will feel like yourself again. That’s the person your significant other fell in love with anyway right?
6. FOCUS ON THE GOOD
Show appreciation to him more. If he’s sincere, there’s a lot of pressure on him to get it right. Express it when he is doing great. With the same energy, if not more, you give when he is in error. Everyone needs encouragement. It empowers your significant other to know that he has pleased you.
7. CREATE NEW MEMORIES
Do new things together. Hang out with other couples, try a new restaurant, go on a trip, or play a game together. The good times can only out weigh the bad if we make it that way. Negativity pulls at us from every direction daily. Intentionally make pleasure moments.
Marriage is a living thing. Every living thing needs lots of attention and care. Every relationship will face difficulties but to avoid divorce it take work every day, every minute, every second.
Editor-in-chief note: Follow Malikah Muhammad on Instagram @married_millennial which serves to generate healthy conversations around marriage, family life, entrepreneurship, and self mastery.