Express Less & get More
Expect to stand by each other and continue to ask questions about each other’s opinions, ideas, and choices. For example: “I know you don’t want to live in an apartment. Would you please tell me more about that?” Asking questions gives you valuable information so that you not only learn what ticks off your spouse, but you can also gain much understanding and compassion from knowing why something ticks off your spouse!
Continue to create an understanding of your partner’s past so you both can work to create a better present. My past includes my husband dying at age 32. My husband’s past includes three divorces and his son dying at birth. We both respect the fact that we have been through some STUFF! There has been some rough and painful STUFF in each of your pasts, so be gentle, careful, and very tender towards each other.
Brainstorm tons of ideas when you both feel like you can’t find resolution in a situation. When many couples fight, they have a hard time seeing any other solution but their own. Instead of waiting for your spouse to realize your way is right, slow your roll and just take the time to sit down together and jot down every good, bad, and weird idea that comes to your mind. After a bit, you both may find your own unique solution where everyone feels loved and respected.
Focus on the reasons you fell in love with your spouse and then share those reasons with them! It might surprise you how badly they need to hear those words from you. The family has many, many tough dynamics, and if you choose to allow it, those dynamics can crush your marriage. There may be exes, step-kids who hate you, in-laws who don’t accept you, a spouse who can’t prioritize you, differences in parenting, expectations that are not attainable, I could go on and on. And so could you, but why? Is it going to make you feel better to ponder the problems?
Or, instead, could it be possible to practice some positivity? What would that do? What would it look like to continue dating your spouse – pursuing them? What would it look like to create a home where each of you feels safe, heard, cared for, honored, and loved? You have so much power here.