I received the book, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away quite some time ago. I didn’t have a chance to go through it completely, but I skimmed it the other day. In preparation for my move, I’ve been working to re-home things we don’t have space for.
I was surprised at the number of people that expressed interest in this book. It was a reminder to me that many couples are not happy in their marriage. They don’t want to divorce, but they need solutions.
We all feel like walking away. It’s painful and it’s tough. But, divorce is not the easy way out that some paint it to be. Rather, it is devastating and takes a tremendous toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing. Instead of trashing a relationship that is making you miserable, fight to change the relationship.
Here are 5 ways I recommend you love your spouse when you want to call it quits.
1. Go to a Counselor
So many couples wait until the relationship is dead before they go to a counselor and there’s no way for it to be revived. Don’t wait. Go when you are struggling to communicate, having troubles with your sex life, or feeling overwhelmed.
I recommend you go to a counselor that neither of you knows. This way, you can get unbiased counseling from the third party. Don’t take your spouse to the counselor you’ve been seeing ahead of time.
2. Join Their Team
The only way to win at life is to fight alongside your spouse, not against them. You may not be able to get them to see things your way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a team player. When you feel like you are fighting against them, remind yourself that you guys are in this together.
Don’t wait for them to change their mindset. You join their team as best as you can. Verbally tell them that you are in it with them and you want to do life together.
3. Commit to Working Through the Problems in Your Marriage
You will likely have the same fight with your spouse again and again. If you come into it thinking, “I’m going to tell them this one time and if they don’t get it, I give up”. It can take YEARS (if ever) for the two of you to work through your problems.
Be willing to have that conversation with them as many times as it takes. I’m not saying you need to fight with them every single day until they see your way. What I’m saying is that you have to share your point of view, know when to back off, and give them time to understand you.
Stop Before You Get Into a Full-Blown Fight
The best way to talk about ongoing issues in your marriage is to start the conversation about it and stop before you get into a full-blown fight. Schedule time to talk about it and let your spouse know ahead of time that you want to address this issue. This will give you both a chance to get in the right frame of mind.
Talk to you each other for a few minutes and if you find that you start winding up for a fight, stop talking about it. Take time off from the conversation and come back to it later on.
4. Have Fun and Go on Dates
Invest in your friendship. Ultimately, you will be more forgiving of each other. Commit to going out on dates and enjoying each other for a fight free night. I always recommend that you take along conversation starters to avoid getting into fights. If you feel like the conversation is heading that way, refocus.
If you can’t possibly go out without getting into it, then do something that doesn’t require a lot of talking. When you go to dinner, choose a place that has live music or has a movie playing. Focus on doing things together that has a clear plan.
5. Keep Having Sex
God designed sex to unify you and your spouse. During hard times, continue having physical intimacy. This is one of the best ways to love your spouse. However, don’t misinterpret it as a sign that everything is good in your marriage. Rather, see it as something you and your spouse are doing as a way to heal the hurts in your relationship.
Use sex in conjunction with counseling, dating, team building, and communicating. It can’t be your only treatment for healing a broken marriage.