Since we recently celebrated our 8th anniversary, I am totally qualified to write this. I, of course, assumed that the 7 year itch wasn’t really real,
and if it was, I’m was sure it would just happen to “other people.”
Well, I suppose am an “other person” to someone else, because years 6-7
were definitely our hardest. Like, “cry every day for weeks straight”
hard. To say it was a stressful time in our lives is an understatement.
But somewhere in year 7, after hitting rock bottom, a switch flipped and
I had sudden clarity. I wrote an email to my husband (that I never
sent), shared it with my therapist and started climbing back out of the
hole we’d dug for ourselves.
is a major life lesson for me. One that I would have never learned, if
it weren’t for my husband. And it took almost 8 years of him constantly
trying to teach it to me before it finally sunk in.
of all the things that bug you about your husband/relationship. Now,
realize that you can’t force him to change any of those things. None.
Zero. And really, they aren’t his problem. If you have a problem with
it, its YOUR problem. So your only choice is to figure out how to live
people can’t change. They totally can. On their own. You can’t MAKE
anyone change. Kids included. The sooner you understand that, the
better. You can, however motivate people to change. With your
example, positive encouragement, offering insight, etc. But even then,
if you’re focused too hard on trying to “motivate” your spouse to
change, you’re still going to be focused on the thing that you want to
change, and you’ll still be driving yourself crazy. Let him know
(nicely) and then let it go.
will drown if you are focusing on yourself. Remember that your husband
has just as many things he could be upset about that you do. There’s two
sides to every story. You’re not trying harder than he is, you’re not suffering more than he is. You don’t have it worse than anyone else. So stop
thinking that way!
is related to #2, but if you’re working like a slave from dawn to dusk,
and your husband watches ESPN four hours a day when he gets home from
work while you’re feeling like the martyr, you’re going to be miserable. And since you can’t change him (see
#1), you are going to have to figure out another way to address this
problem. Either cut back on what you’re doing, or have an adult
conversation about divvying up your responsibilities.
us, we really became equally yoked when I went back to work 2 days a
week. I work 12 hour shifts, so on my work days, my husband gets a
heavy dose of solo parenting. Whenever I am feeling like the victim
(#2), and dwelling on how I’m so sick of whiny kids, I can remind myself
that I have X number of hours til I get to escape to work and my
husband will get the whiners. We both work, and we both parent. It has
been really good for us.
guess in most relationships, your spouse is doing enough. Sometimes you
just have to look a little harder to see it. This is where it helps to
be focused on things you’re grateful for (see #7).
fully believe in therapy. Especially when you’re falling down into that
pit. Its great to have someone listen to you, and help you talk through
things. A neutral party to vent to. The insights and encouragement are
that therapy should be temporary. After you’ve gotten everything off
your chest, make a plan and get to it. I think that extended therapy can
make you continue to dwell on the problems and analyze them and
theorize and on and on and on. At some point, you need to just make a
plan and move on.
one is simple, but important. And easier said than done. Because life
is busy! Its good to get away from the kids and try to talk about
non-kid-related things. Its good for me to get dressed up, just for my
husband. And lets be honest, it just good to get out of the house. For
us, we decided to do date night every other weekend. And mix it up a
bit, try new restaurants, do new things. Adventures promote bonding.
husband is a bit of a tease. He likes to answer my questions in
…unexpected ways. If he tries his antics while I’m stressed or
fragile, I am likely to get annoyed, offended or take it personal. But
if I can stop myself in that split second between stimulus and response,
and choose to laugh instead of crying/yelling, we are much better off.
Laughing immediately diffuses any situation. On a related note, keep
your mood up. Find things to laugh about throughout the day. My
favorite place to go when I need a laugh is the humor page Pinterest. Who doesn’t love a good some e card or grumpy cat meme?
one is hard to do when you’re annoyed with your spouse, but it is
powerful. When I was at rock-bottom, I knew I needed to do something
to help me focus on my husband’s good qualities, because he really is
great, but I just forget it sometimes. I decided to email my
husband a little something everyday. Sometimes it was telling him
something I loved about him, sometimes it was thanking him for something
he does for us, sometimes it was reminiscing on some of our good times.
This made a huge difference. I doubt that it did much for him (he’s
not the warm-fuzzy type that appreciates this type of stuff), but it did
a LOT for me. I would think about it during the day and try to come up
with something new. I consciously focused on the good, which naturally
pushed out the bad.
comparing your marriage to other people’s marriages. Stop comparing
your husband to your friend’s husband. Stop comparing your husband to
characters in books and movies. Just stop. You’re “whole picture” is
never going to measure up to their “highlight reel.” You are only giving
yourself ammo to justify your frustrations. You married your husband for
a reason, and you’ll never know the full story of the other guys. The
grass will always be greener on the other side, so stop looking at it.
Water your own grass.
a handful of things to work on. Things that you think will have the
biggest impact. Make some goals, set aside some time. Make a plan.
Decide right now to improve your marriage and increase your happiness.
can be hard, but we all know our families are worth it. You can be as
in love with your husband as you were on the day you married him. Just
takes a little more effort now. 🙂