It is a widely accepted, though debated at times, view that about 50% of marriages end in divorce. There are some couples who have made love their aim through thick and thin in marriage, while some still search for the meaning of love. It is a journey that baffles every human being at some point in their lives. Is it hormonal or chemical? Is it a “verb”? When you “do love,” are you doing it right? Should you expect it back, or is it completely selfless?
Anyone who has been married for a while knows that marriage is not for the weak at heart. You have daily challenges in personality to overcome, different skillsets to work with, communication styles to interpret, and on top of that there is a daily grind that over time causes two once star-crossed lovers to float galaxies apart. Are you and your partner in two different worlds that have presented a crossroads in your relationship? Consider the following as you brave the conversation of separating or ending the relationship.
#1 – Is it really that bad? People can tire of being with the same person day in and day out. I think it’s safe to say that the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” probably came from a realist, a direct communicator talking about the spouse! It’s easy to grow a dislike for the same old jokes, the same stories, the same complaints and the same habits of your partner. But ask yourself, is it worth ending the relationship? Is there a better way? To get back on track, remember the things you used to do together that brought you joy and togetherness. Scientists agree that the bond of love can be rekindled by sharing in an exhilarating experience like skydiving, paintball, or any new adventure. Okay, it doesn’t have to be that extreme or expensive! Writing a list of activities to do together would be a great way to prepare your heart for this conversation because it creates time for you to explore other possibilities while being able to offer up positive options too.
#2 – Does splitting have to be negative? Whenever a spouse or partner is unhappy with the other it is a typical response to justify leaving by complaining and putting down the other person. On the contrary, focusing on all the positive qualities of your relationship will help you clarify what you really want going forward. Should you only zero in on the negative qualities it is indicative that you are not healed and not ready to move forward. Make sure to spend some time considering the good stuff as well as the negative so that you can be honest with yourself first, then honest with your partner. This is the highest respect you can give when a decision to leave is pending.
#3 – Prepare your mind and heart to listen actively. There are several different ways to listen to someone respond to what you have said and the best way is to listen with your entire body. Listen with your ears, your mind, your body, and your intuition. Fifty-five percent of active listening is tuning into body language. This is more than just posture. It is the squint in their eyes, the tremble in their lip, the shift in eyebrows, the slight tilt of their head, which direction their eyes go when they are thinking. Becoming fully focused on your partner helps you really get in their feelings and thoughts. Reflecting their words exactly is key. (Interpreting what they said will make them feel like you didn’t understand them.)
Be encouraged. It isn’t easy for anyone to begin talking about breaking a commitment or vow. However, remember it is a conversation, not a decision. You would be surprised at how many couples candidly talk about their feelings and dreams all to witness what opens up. You could end up together finding a new world of possibilities and new direction you never knew before. The elephant in the room becomes the paper tiger, and the mountain becomes the molehill. Find and celebrate the good, release the old baggage, listen well, and be hopeful with new possibilities. When it rains, there’s always a rainbow somewhere.