Marriage problems: The First Steps

When encountering struggles in your marriage or primary love relationship, you may be deeply wondering and asking your self, “What do I do”? A few first steps is to ask your self what is the struggle I am having in my marriage? Follow with asking your self how committed am I to risking exploring what I may need to do to bring a new solution to the problem.

A key to understanding the core common struggles with couples is about communication. Communication involves the ability to listen with the tools of active listening. I, Laurie Grengs,M.A. Licensed Psychologist can you teach all the aspects of active listening, which is the cornerstone of a healthy, long term marriage. When having marriage problems, I recommend to not make a decision about changing the commitment to the relationship before some deep exploration of what is at the heart of the problem or struggle, i.e. changing the listening pattern in the relationship.

To be able to express feelings with respect and openness is central to keeping trust alive in a love relationship. If trust is broken all the research on marital therapy and my clinical experience clearly confirms if both partners want to explore healing the “betrayal” or “break in the trust”, it is very doable to achieve renewal of trust and a deep long lasting bond.

In marriage struggles and problems the triangle of victim, persecutor, and rescuer are often being played out unknowingly, thus creating very dissatisfying communication and the lack of an emotional connection that is nurturing and positive. To move off that triangle to a communication style that comes from a place of empowerment for each person in the marriage is key to both partners feeling safe and secure to be vulnerable with each other.

I suggest when your marriage is struggling the dynamic of pursuing and distancing is often being played out. Such as when one partner is hurt or angry, he or she may pull away physically or emotionally. Then when the one partner pulls away, the other starts to pursue that person that is distancing in hopes to re-connect. Often then the person pursuing stops and the person distancing moves back into the relationship only to start to pursue the person who was pursuing yet who may now be distancing. This pattern can change to a flow of connection that includes some deep connection and some minor moving apart to a flow of closeness to slight distance to closeness to slight distance where each partner knows the other is available emotionally even when slightly separate from the other.

In another post, I will write about how unhealed wounds from previous times in a person’s life does get projected onto their partner only to find themselves in a deep power struggle with the one they deeply love now or did deeply love at one time. This can definitely be healed and transcended by both partners.