Are You in an Angry Marriage?

Living and loving in a truly mature way (in an adult marriage) means letting insights transform the ways in which you relate to one another.  To do this couples must learn to communicate their needs effectively. It requires a new language of love, a form of communication based on insight and emotional understanding.  Finding the words, the right words, that truly express formerly hidden feelings can have a powerfully transforming impact on your marriage.

Where there is contact there is friction, and in marriage goodwill is always being put to the test! An angry marriage in particular, erodes the spirit of goodwill spouses feel toward one another. The erosion of goodwill takes time in an angry marriage. When we love someone we don’t just wake up one morning and discover it disappeared overnight. It is usually slow and goes unnoticed for a long time. Because it’s such a slow process couples might not even see it happening.

Read my next post where I will explore 10 early signs that goodwill may be leaving your marriage and that anger is setting in. Examine your marriage, the real with yourself and see if you’re missing important signals. Most importantly do something about it.

Do you know a couple in an angry marriage, are you that couple? I would love to hear from you.

The information from this post comes from the book The Angry Marriage by Bonnie Maslin, Ph.D.

How I Stayed Married for 17 Years – Guest Post by Regina Yvette Hall

I continue to praise God for the wonderful people he places in my life, especially the women.  I have had instances of cattiness, drama and shadiness, but not often.  One of the first people I met when I moved to Texas was my friend Regina.  She lived a couple of houses down from me and we instantly clicked.  She offered to walk my daughter to the bus, keep her after school and to make me dinner! All in the first day I met her.  Regina is a woman after my own heart that says EXACTLY what she thinks about everything!  I love it.  Her Facebook post about her marriage struck a chord with me and I asked if I could republish it.  Thanks GIGI!

I keep getting the question of how did I stay married for 17 years; Here is my answer. And no it will not be stay in church or go to church, because the church people are getting divorced faster than anybody else…so that aint it. My answer is know who you are. When you know who you are, you are a happy person. You are not secretly jealous or envious of others. You do not hate on the accomplishments of others, because you are doing your own thing and have your own life. You do not look for others to make you happy, nor do you seek the approval of others. You will never need your degrees, money, marriage, clothing, religion, church, pastor etc. to define who you are. You let God, not MAN tell you who you are. Then you believe it 100% and walk in it. You seek the approval of the Almighty God alone. When you know who you are AND WHOSE YOU ARE, you do not tolerate foolishness or foolish people. You have to have a mate who thinks the same way; then you become compliments to each other, not competitors or frenemies. That is how you get married, not out of instruction, neediness, boredom, or lust. Nobody can complete you. You must be whole 100% first, or you will forever be unhappy.

Regina Yvette Hall

Do you agree?  What has helped you stay married? We would love to hear from you!

Focus on Improving Your Marriage

Has your marriage drifted apart, been a constant fight, headed towards divorce or separation?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you need to put your focus back on your marriage.

Before a couple can refocus themselves on the intimacy between them, they must make sure that no intimacy is being lost outside of the marriage. An escape is an intimacy leak. It is essentially any behavior we take when we don’t know how to talk about our uncomfortable feelings with our spouse. These behaviors are conscious or unconscious ways to avoid dealing with each other. We either withdraw inside ourselves or we go elsewhere looking to get our needs met. Whatever we choose, we drain the relationship of its intimacy until it becomes lifeless. We, in effect, have filed for an ‘invisible divorce’.

There are varying degrees of escape. Some are terminal such as divorce, which permanently ends the relationship. Others are catastrophic, backup plans which seriously damage a relationship to a degree which is often irreparable. Examples of these would include both emotional and physical affairs, excessive use of pornography or lots of contact with “friends” of the opposite sex.  The remaining backup plans are less severe but are so hurtful that they can do equal damage in the long run. These escapes can be intentional, a feeling expressed as a behavior with the clear motivation to avoid involvement with your spouse, or they can be functional, a behavior you enjoy but your involvement in the activity clearly takes energy and time away from the relationship.  Examples would include television, video games or activities your spouse doesn’t enjoy.

While some of these examples are valid forms of recreation, if one of the reasons you are doing this activity is to avoid spending time with your spouse, it is considered an escape and robs your relationship of intimacy.

Here is a list of common escapes that can rob your marriage of intimacy:

1. Work

2. Food/Eating

3. Exercise

4. Internet/Email

5. Pornography

6. Television, Music, Video Games

7. Cleaning

8. Hobbies

9. Headphones to avoid talking or other interaction

10. Kids

11. Sleeping

12. Talking on the phone

13. Going to bed at different times

14. Reading

15. Ministry

There are surely other escapes that do not appear on this list. Whatever they are, it is important to recognize them and understand that these are forms of “acting out” your frustrations about your marriage. Just as our children may “act out” when they are hungry or not getting enough attention, adults react similarly when their needs are not being met. When we feel unloved, ignored, or unappreciated we go everywhere but to our spouse to get those needs met. We find others and/or other activities that will meet those needs or we withdraw within ourselves, feeling hopeless about ever possibly getting what we want.

Talk about your feelings with your spouse and a professional counselor or your pastor.  Without out resolution the wounds will fester and the marriage will die.

Are you doing any of these things in your marriage? Did I miss something on the list, let me know.

No Spouse is Perfect

Successful marriages are those in which spouses grow together despite their shortcomings, care for each other including flaws and differences, and nurture their respective strengths to hold on to the good and minimize the bad in their relationships.

What were the good qualities that drew you to each other? What flaws in your relationship or in each other that you overlooked? Can you recover the best parts of your relationship and each other that made you want to spend the rest of your lives together?

megan.lee.lpc.2013

Megan, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, is the wife of Malik, and mother of Ayanna, Jonathan and Isiah. She actively encourages her children’s higher education and community involvement. Megan is a Christian and active in the marriage ministry at her church Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Arlington, TX. Her personal interests include independent film, music and marriage enrichment. Megan is the co-founder of the Minority Behavioral Health Provider Networking Group along with colleague Cynthia Thompson.

I’m the “Head of the House?”

Is it important to have a leader in a relationship? Some would agree and say yes, while others would say no. For instance, in a heterosexual relationship or marriage, many would agree that the man is considered the leader. He is expected to ensure that everything concerning his family is taken care of. He ensures that there is enough income to support his household. Not only does he produce the income, he also manages it. He is the planner, the spender, and the decision maker. His wife does not work without his decision. Remember he is the leader, the CEO, the “head of the house,” and whatever he says, goes. Nothing happens in his home unless he knows and approves of it. It is mandated that his wife and or children notify him and get permission before they make any plans or decisions. Why? Because he is the leader and his verdicts are final!

Do you still think it is it important to have a leader in a relationship? Of course it is. However, it is not properly exemplified in the preceding example. Marriage is a beautiful thing. It is honorable to God. We should want to share our life with someone and grow together. The leadership role in marriage is a sharing role. We should lead according to our abilities. There are areas that the husband may be weak in and the wife is stronger in or vice versa. We should lead according to our strengths. The two are joined together to complete one another and not to compete against one another. Let your assets, gifts, and talents be complimentary to that of your spouse. Operate as one. Then together, the both of you can say; I’m the “Head of the House.”

Timothy Cox

Timothy is a graduate level practicum student in the Masters of Science in Professional Counseling program at Grand Canyon University under the supervision of Megan R. Lee, LPC-S. Timothy earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC.

Professional Counseling or Pastoral Counseling

Do you need to see your Pastor or a Professional?

Choosing the right counselor can sometimes be a tough decision. You may find yourself “stuck between a rock and a hard place” when it comes to choosing what kind of counselor you think would be best for your situation. Many times when we have problems that we cannot solve, we want to include a third party for advice. For example; married couples may choose to talk to another couple, their pastor, or maybe even attend couple’s counseling sessions with a professional counselor. Teenagers may elect to talk to a close friend, teacher, guidance counselor, or maybe even their youth pastor.