Married and feeling desperate, disappointed, discouraged and unhappy is not what most couples signed up for when they said "I do". Married and dealing with infidelity, loneliness, low self-esteem, lack of communication, disrespect and unhappiness is definitely not what was expected with your marriage commitment. Well, statistics show that over 50% of the marriages today end up in divorce. I can give you 2 reasons (in my humble opinion) why there is unhappiness in most of the marriages that end up in divorce. Selfishness and lack of love!
In a broad sense there are some common problems in a marriage that take the marriage from a blissful relationship to that unhappy marriage stage such as;
- Abuse (Physical and Emotional)
- Commitment by one or both spouses
All of the above issues can lead to an unhappy marriage. If you have been married for a little while (it does not take long) you probably stumbled upon one of these issues. You may not have become unhappy with your marriage but a brief flash of "oh no what did I get myself into" probably popped into your head. If you have not hit one of these marriage hurdles yet, trust me you will.
Let's deal with the selfishness that ignites a lot of the fires in a marriage and turns them from happy to an unhappy marriage.
Here is the definition of selfish just for the record; devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
A very selfish person is very difficult to either be happy in a marriage or make a spouse happy, unless they change and become less selfish during the marriage. Marriage is a commitment between 2 people being joined together as one. It's no longer my stuff and your stuff, or my time and your time or my money and your money. Everything is now "ours" once you get married. A very selfish person is unwilling to put their spouses' interests, benefits, and welfare first. This can lead to an unhappy marriage.
Can an unselfish person be responsible for making the marriage unhappy? The answer of course is yes. However, I believe you have a much greater chance of having a happy marriage instead of an unhappy marriage because an unselfish person is more likely to grow together with their unselfish spouse and become like one.
To make a marriage become better and go from being an unhappy marriage to a happy marriage we need to get the selfish spouse (s) to see how putting their interests ahead of the spouse or in some cases the entire family is causing frustration, hurt, disappointment and could lead to unintended results, such as a divorce.
Now let's tackle the love or lack of love that makes a marriage unhappy.
Here is the Webster definition of love; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
Here is a better definition that I like and if it exists in a marriage there is a greater chance for happiness instead of an unhappy marriage; Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. That's the real meaning of love according to the Bible. I do not think you can have an unhappy marriage with this kind of love.
Does it mean that if you love your spouse with this kind of love you will never have issues to overcome in your marriage? Of course not! However, do you think you have a better shot of having a happy or unhappy marriage?
So the key to being happy or working towards fixing an unhappy marriage is less selfishness and more love. Sounds pretty simple but is very difficult to do. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks right? WRONG!
Every person is capable of change. It's called making a commitment to doing so and following through. If you want to stop smoking you can. If you want to stop drinking too much alcohol you can. If you want to stop gaining weight you can. If you want to be happier in your marriage you can. The only difference is sometimes it takes both spouses to be willing to change for the sake of making an unhappy marriage better.
Here are 8 basic things or tips you can work on to move from the unhappy marriage stage to the happy stage of marriage. If you and your spouse can work toward the same goal, that would be best. If not, you make a commitment to make things better and your spouse will come around eventually.
- Fighting fair – Do not bring up things from the past that were supposed to be forgiven and forgotten. It's like pouring salt on an open wound. Do not say hurtful things about your spouse that you know will cause a lot of pain, and add to unhappiness in the marriage.
- Stop sweating the small stuff – Make it a point to stop getting aggravated, frustrated and disappointed over little things that really are not that important. Overlook the little things that you normally complain about that gets under your skin. You know what they are.
- Enjoy being around your spouse – Do not disappear when your spouse comes home or when they enter the room your in. Stop acting like you enjoy life more when they are out of the house, out of town or at least not in the same room as you. Let your spouse know that you enjoy it when you are together.
- Do not talk negative about your spouse to others – It's very easy to share what's wrong with your spouse that's driving you crazy. Stop doing that immediately. No spouse likes to be talked about in that way. It's not okay to make jokes about your spouse around family or friends that betrays a trust. If you do not have anything positive to say do not say anything.
- Talk to your spouse – It's not okay to go hours or days playing the silent I'm not talking to you game. There is nothing gained by shutting down and not talking to your spouse. It's difficult at times but the only time you should not be talking is if for some reason you are really upset and need a little time to cool off. Otherwise, keep the lines of communication open. I know not talking times gives you peace of mind. But do not settle for a temporary time of peace when you could work on fixing your unhappy marriage problem.
- Act like a married couple – Do not take separate cars to the same place unless it's really necessary. That's what you did before you got married. No separate vacations, or bedrooms. You need to be committed to being a couple and not married singles.
- Do not take advice from the wrong people – There will be many family, friends and enemies who will offer you free advice. Be careful who you talk to and more importantly who you listen to. It's very difficult for a spouse to be happy in a marriage knowing that you have blabbed your marriage problems to the world. You also do not want to follow advice from someone who has been married 3 times. It's better to limit the circle of people you discuss your marriage with and you also do not always need to share all the details. The wrong people can not tell you how to fix your unhappy marriage problem
- Support your spouse – Make sure you are there for your spouse even though you do not want to be. If there is a family function with your in-laws do not stay home. Be there for your spouse. The same thing goes for work or even playful functions like a sporting event. It's important for your spouse to know that you care enough to be with them even though they know you do not want to be around certain people. It shows that they mean more to you than your feelings about other people.