How I Saved My Marriage

Henry and I have been struggling with marriage ever since we had our first born. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, financial constraints or pressure at work but every day was a pain. I had a  lot of doubts in him and myself. I didn’t know if he was going to be the man I wanted him to be. I blamed everything that went wrong in my life on him. It was constant fights, constant bickering and very little communication that didn’t really got us anywhere.

One time, my husband and I got into a heated argument and started yelling at each other. My then 2 year old son, Kevin, was awoken by the noise. His eyes welled up with tears, looked at both of us and put his index finger to his lips. That’s all it took for us to realize that this fighting had to stop. This wasn’t the environment we dreamt of for our child. The tears started rolling down my eyes. I didn’t know exactly what I should do to make things right but there was something inside of me that’s said, “You can’t give up. You gotta fight for this. There’s gotta be something that you’re not seeing. “

I went for a walk still feeling angry and confused. I was confused because I didn’t know why things are so difficult with Henry. Deep down inside I know I married a good guy. .I’m not a bad person either so what isn’t working out? Right then, I made a conscious decision to stop trying to change Henry — and to start changing myself including my perspective on marriage and choices.

These are the things I did that gave my marriage a whole new peace:

Stop focusing on the wrong things about your husband

I read from an article by a relationship expert that when your most angry at your partner, you should try to remember the times when he is at his  best. It sounds like an overused term but it works. Instead of panning my anger by remember all the things he did and failed to do the last few days, I try to think about Henry when he is with my family. He really makes an effort to make sure my family is happy and comfortable. Then, my anger dissipates at least most of the time when it doesn’t, see advice #2.

Wait to cool down before going at it

When Henry suggest or say something offensive, I try my best not to immediately pounce on him. I don’t react at all. If after hours or sleeping I’m still bothered, I calmly bring it up and choose the right words when doing so. Most of the time, I am no longer upset as I’ve been the night before. I realize my interpretations were probably the ones twist and this his offensive comments are not as they seem. Like one time I was trying to replace an old broken bag and he told me to choose ‘the cheapest’. I was hurt, felt like I didn’t deserve a good item. In my mind, he was being cheap. In his mind he was just trying to suggest an option — he thought a ‘bag’ meant any kind with handle and room for stuff. I’ve realized that confrontations don’t really resolve things especially with these kinds of conversations because most of the time, he doesn’t have any idea what he did wrong.

Don’t keep scores

Stop keeping records of who did what throughout the day. Me and my husband used to argue about who’s turn it is to change the diaper. When I am tired of cooking and serving meal, I expect Henry to wash off the dishes and when he doesn’t I resent it. These silent resentments are dangerous and should be avoided because it can pile up and burst. When I started to just do whatever needs to be done, I found the my husband was more willing to give a hand as I wasn’t constantly nagging him with what to do or how to do things right.

Stick to the topic

If you do get involved in an argument, try very hard not to stray from the subject. If you’re arguing about disciplining your child, don’t bring up incidents from years ago or he will be compelled to pull out that one time you forgot his birthday and it goes on and on. No one wins. The ending to this is just heartache and tears.

Changing mindsets helped me a lot in saving my marriage. I found that when you and your husband work as a team to solve a problem, accepting responsibilities and areas you can be better at, you feel happier, valued, more empowered and most importantly, loved.

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