Doing what’s right and healthy in a relationship can be hard. As a therapist, I have come across many people who get stuck and end up not doing their part to make the relationship move in the right direction. Some of my clients feel exhausted and lose hope. Others just feel overwhelmed like they are standing at the bottom of a mountain and wonder how they will ever climb it.
Yes. Working on your marriage can be an uphill battle, but I have watched marriages transform into something women didn’t know was possible once they started taking positive steps. It took time, dedication, and perseverance, and each one saw that they had to conquer the excuses that blocked them from a happy and healthy marriage. If your marriage needs some work, see if you’re buying into 4 excuses women give to avoid working on their marriage.
1. “It’s too hard”
This statement is true and can trap you if you focus on it too much. Is it okay to give up or not try just because something is hard? If your child felt like math homework was too hard, would you let them give up and not do it? When we push through something difficult, we have the chance to grow and learn lessons we didn’t even realize we needed to work on. Giving in to this excuse sends the message that your relationship isn’t worth the effort and you’re giving up on it. This ends on a path of pain and destruction. Instead, believe that you can make it through and begin taking steps toward that belief. Consider these 4 Ways to Come Back from a Marriage Disaster to get started.
When we push through something difficult, we have the chance to grow and learn lessons we didn’t even realize we needed to work on.
2. “I don’t know how”
Understanding what you need to do to have a healthy relationship can be overwhelming. But as we said above, just commit to at least taking the first step. Here are two great resources from iMOM.com that will get you headed in the right direction. See which ideas seem like they’ll work for you, and try at least one of them.
3. “I won’t if he won’t”
This excuse is very dangerous. This stubborn mindset will keep you stuck and create a feeling of not being on the same team in your marriage. Someone has to make the first move in order for change to happen. This excuse gets ugly when both you and your husband use it. I have watched many clients take this approach and it leads to walls of resentment and bitterness. It’s hard to feel close to someone when you feel this way. If you know what needs to happen to create a healthier relationship, you need to take the first step towards it. Refusing to do so only makes things worse.
Often times I have had clients start making changes, and their spouse starts to respond differently over time too. Once one person changes their part of the negative cycle in a marriage, the cycle changes. The cycle can’t continue in the same way when one person participates in it differently. Once you start taking “the high road”, work hard to not get brought back down when your husband doesn’t change right away. You can only control your part, not his.
4. “He won’t even notice”
It can be hopeless when you feel like your efforts aren’t noticed or won’t make a difference. Why even try? can be a common thought. Making healthy changes in your marriage shouldn’t be for your husband to notice, you should do it because you want to do all you can to make your part of the relationship healthy. When relationships are in a rocky season, it can take hard work over time for change to happen. Make sure you aren’t expecting an immediate change once you do start walking down a healthier path. It isn’t like a light switch. Perseverance and endurance will be needed.
Having a healthy relationship is hard work, but it’s possible when you are willing to take one step at a time to get there. No more excuses…it’s time to step it up! To begin with, what are the excuses you make that keep you from working on your marriage?
Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.