What should you do if you feel you’ve done all you can do, but he/she still isn’t working on the marriage? What should you do when you are getting healthy, but he/she doesn’t admit need for improvement? When two married people are walking in different directions, or worse, one is setting land minds for the other, distress can be at an all time high.
Sometimes I see clients who feel hopeless about their marriages. They’ve tried marriage counseling with poor results,, and feel like they are the only ones trying in the marriage. They feel like no matter what they do or say or try, it is sabotaged by the other partner. They feel powerless and trapped.
If you’ve put a lot of energy into fixing your marriage, it may be time to shift that energy to things that you can control instead of trying to control the things that you can’t. You may be trying to “get him to agree,” “get her to change,” or “get him to understand,” with little to no success. Instead, focus on getting yourself spiritually and emotionally healthy.
Here’s how to survive that heartbreak.
- Get your Creativity Back– Marital distress can get you so off course, that it’s blocked your creative energy. Maybe you have stopped gardening, or crafting, or writing, or painting. Maybe you put away the music or the dancing or the camera. It’s important to resurrect your creative energy during the down times of your marriage. Creativity, re-creation, and play are often put aside when people experience high stress. But if your marriage is at a standstill, or worse, destructive, start creating for yourself. This can be a life line until you get where you need to be.
- Treat your Depression. Yep. It’s a thing. Marital distress can cause hopeless and worthless feelings, increased stress, sleepless nights, and spiked anxiety. Marital distress can wake up an old depression from long ago, or put you into a new kind of funk you’ve never felt before. If you find that your energy, appetite, sleep, or concentration is affected negatively, and that guilt, worry and tearfulness are plaguing your waking moments, then seek help for depression. You don’t have to live with untreated depression.
- Address Nasty Habits– Sometimes folks fall into unhealthy coping mechanisms like over-drinking, over-doping, using pain-killers, or porn-gawking in order to numb the pain of a cold or hostile marriage. When you see bad habits creeping up on you, take a pro-active approach and get into counseling or an accountability program. Start by telling a friend that you want some help stopping. Then, make next steps into available resources like AA or CR.
- Take Care of your Body: Show your body a little love and take it to the doctor for your annual physical, get that mammogram you’ve been putting off and make a dental appointment for a regular cleaning. Get into an exercise regimen like walking or running or yoga. Make your physical health a priority, even if you feel like everything else is falling apart.
- Remember God (because He remembers you!) Getting your spouse to listen or change may be a hopeless exercise, so stop making your marriage your first priority, and start letting God take the first spot on your list. You will need God’s help to make it through the difficult conversations, the decisions and the confrontations. Finding solace in God’s love for you will enable you to stand strong on the path of freedom.
Taking necessary steps to get free from destructive patterns can be a paralyzing thought. Separation and divorce seem scary alternatives to just surviving the pain you’re accustomed to. If you’re living with your spouse’s abusive behavior, you may feel frightened to confront it. Take one small step at a time. Think about getting yourself healthy, and let God show you next steps to safety, healing and health. Until you have the strength to confront abusive or destructive behavior, then practice these five tips. These will be the things that encourage you, strengthen you and lift you up until you reach freedom.