save your marriage

The Four Questions You Need To Be Asking
To Help Save Your Marriage

Relationship Issues That Can Make or Break a Marriage

With all the statistics we hear about sky-high rates of divorce, many people want to know how they can beat the odds and stay happily married.

Most of us know couples who we thought were getting along just fine sometimes right up to their divorce announcement.

save your marriage
These are people that don’t have relationship-threatening issues such as addictions or infidelity. They simply, over time, become unhappy in their marriage. This leaves a lot of couples wondering what they could do in order to keep their marriages intact.

In order to understand how marriages that start off with the best intentions can end up in divorce, we need to take a look at several common partner complaints that may not seem like relationship-breakers from the outside, but left unresolved can eventually erode the foundation of even the strongest marriage.

Emotional Safety In a Relationship

The first relationship issue in this category is the complaint that a partner is not making the relationship feel safe enough. Men seem to experience this problem in a different way than women, but the end result in both cases can lead to a breakup at some point down the road.

Let’s take a look at the female perspective on feeling safe in a relationship:

Many women, without regular reminders that their partner is still interested in staying with them, begin to fear that their relationship might not be a sure thing. This is a very valid fear. Many marriages end because of a realization by one partner that they no longer feel love for their partner.

Now let’s take a look at the loss of safety in a marriage from more of a male perspective:

Men often feel unsafe in their marriages when their partner expresses anger at them instead of using words to tell them what they have done wrong and what they can do to fix it. Our homes are the only place where we can go to feel safe from the pressures of the outside world. When our spouse doesn’t recognize the importance of making a safe emotional environment for us, they run the risk of driving us out of the home and out of the marriage.

In order to make sure this doesn’t happen in your relationship, there is a simple question that you can use to ensure that both you and your partner are feeling safe in your marriage. This question has been developed to cut through your spouse’s defenses about this issue and focus them on what really matters. When you ask this question it tells your partner that you care about what is most important to them. This in turn allows you to ask for the same thing back.

The next time you sense that either you or your spouse may be feeling unsafe in your home environment, try asking them this:

“Have you been feeling that I haven’t been making this relationship a safe environment for you?”

Many spouses are unsure of how to bring this subject up directly. Because we don’t tend to talk about emotional safety in our marriages, we sometimes doubt whether we are within our rights to ask for it. By asking this question it confirms that you believe in providing a safe emotional environment. This also opens the door for a conversation that will allow you to ask for your safety needs in the relationship.

Let’s now move to a relationship issue that may not seem very important but is actually at the heart of most of our relationship conflict.

Mutual Support In Partnership

Most of us focus so strongly on the love aspect of our relationship that we can easily forget that we are in a partnership. This partnership carries with it the responsibility to make sure that our spouse has the same opportunity that we have to fulfill their needs and life goals.

One of the ways we ensure that our partner has the same opportunities as we do is through our commitment to remain in our spouse’s court or on their side. We need to make sure we are wanting a good outcome for our partner in life as opposed to wishing they would fail or not caring at all. This doesn’t mean we should say we agree with our partner when we don’t. But it does mean we need to be acting as an ally and not as an adversary.

It is very easy for us to take offense at something our spouse has said and find ourselves on the opposite side of the fence from them. Often, instead of bringing our resentment up, we find ourselves holding a grudge for days, weeks, or even months.

Although we tend to think of this as normal wear and tear that our marriage should be able to withstand, the truth is, this kind of grudge-holding without our realizing it can raise doubts that cause us to lose faith in our partner’s loyalty.

In order to ensure that you stay on each others’ side, here is a question you can ask your spouse whenever you are feeling like they might be holding a grudge:

“Are you feeling like I haven’t been on your side lately?”

Many times our gut reaction when we feel like our partner doesn’t care about us is to protect ourselves by not caring about them. When you ask a question like this, you open the line of communication back up, making them feel like it is safe to ask for your support. Asking this question when you notice your partner turning against you can easily stop a cold shoulder from turning into a cold war.

Let’s look at another very important issue that many partners don’t bother addressing. What they might not realize is that left unresolved, this issue can cause underground resentment that can eat away at your marriage:

The Importance Of Keeping Things Fair

If you are one of those people who doesn’t think it’s important to keep tabs on who gets more in a relationship because you think it’s too petty, you may not realize how important fairness is to keeping your relationship in balance.

Unfortunately, it is only human nature that when others do for us what we should be doing for ourselves, we develop feelings of either entitlement or dependency which can negatively impact a marriage. To make sure your relationship stays in balance, here is a question that you can ask whenever you feel your relationship might be weighted unevenly on either side:

“Have you been feeling like I have been pulling my weight in our relationship?”

This gives you the opportunity, after listening to any complaints your partner may have to then voice any inequities you may have noticed. Using this question ensures that your relationship stays balanced so that unseen resentments don’t have a chance to build steam.

An Issue of Control

Let’s now look at one more relationship issue that can wear a marriage down. It is the issue of controlling behavior. Most people find themselves powerless when it comes to finding the off-switch to stop themselves from trying to control their spouse even when they know it is hurting their relationship.

Unfortunately if this pattern takes hold and becomes a habit, you may violate the rights of your spouse one too many times, putting your marriage in danger. You will find that you can give an exasperated partner the relief they need by regularly asking the following question:

“Have you been feeling like I am trying to get you to do things that you don’t believe in?”

If you are the controllee instead of the controller, you can turn the sentence around to stop your partner from being controlling at any time. In fact, the more often you use this sentence when you are being controlled, the sooner your spouse will get out of this habit. The next time your partner is trying to control you, simply say:

“I feel like you are trying to get me to do things that I don’t believe in.”

Because we do not talk about our very real rights to have our own opinions and beliefs separate from our spouse, it’s hard to put our finger on exactly what our partner is doing wrong. By defining controlling behavior as trying to make another person do something they don’t believe in, you can remind yourself and your partner why this behavior should stop.

Putting the Questions Into Action

Although you can use these questions whenever you want to open up communication lines, they work best when you are sitting down to discuss relationship issues. It can be a refreshing change, the next time you sit down with your spouse to have one of “those talks” to announce you want to make sure the relationship is on track by running one of these questions by them:

“Have you been feeling that I haven’t been making this relationship a safe environment for you?”

“Are you feeling like I haven’t been on your side lately?”

“Have you been feeling like I have been pulling my weight in our relationship?”

“Have you been feeling like I am trying to get you to do things that you don’t believe in?”

Framing relationship complaints in this form of question allows you to reverse the usual defensive stance that we cannot help but take when our behavior is being judged in a negative way. You will find that these four questions easily open the door to communication about the deeper issues that really matter so you can take care of these issues before they grow large enough to cause problems.

Related Posts:

Are You Being Blamed For Your Wife’s Relationship Insecurity?

Is Your Spouse On Your Side?

A Stress-Free Approach To Resolving Marriage Conflict

Marriage Entitlement-When Your Spouse Gives Too Much or Takes Too Little

If you would like to learn the Nicola Method so you can put an end to the high conflict situations you may be experiencing, click on this link to the welcome page of this website where you will find the resources you need.

If you want to try out some of the basic techniques of this method for free to see if this method is right for your situation, you can learn them from an intro guide flip-book here or a PDF version of the intro guide here.

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