Do you know what weather your marriage is in? Take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.
Faced with gloomy skies, a person’s energy level drop and there can be worry about what those dark clouds can bring. Things can feel bleak when your marriage is in this weather.
On the surface, everything is “business as usual”; some may even say how good your marriage seems! But you know that something’s not right in your relationship.
Cracks in the marriage have widened into chasms. It could be that disagreements have peaked and can now break your marriage. Healthy communication may have come to a standstill, and you are in the quicksand of resentment or disappointment.
Neglect is the key contributor for marriages moving into Overcast weather. Perhaps you both went on autopilot – life was busy and you were occupied with different things. There have been little quality and quantity time with each other, much less time to work through disagreements or unhappiness.
Couples in this weather face one major decision: do we avoid the issues and let our marriage wither away? Or do we choose to have the crucial difficult conversations, dig deeper to remember our “first love”, and commit to move out of this stalemate together?
Think of it as the ultimatum. There’s just no waiting around, hoping the weather will turn for the better by itself.
The hope in an Overcast marriage
A wife who feels unloved and unappreciated will feel rejected. A husband who doesn’t have his wife’s trust and respect will withdraw and disengage.
What are some things that have undermined mutual love and respect in your marriage?
If negligence drove your marriage to the edge, then making intentional decisions to nurture your marriage is necessary to turn it around.
Are you too busy? Decisively cut out inessential social activities, commitments, or time-draining hobbies to make time for each other.
If you feel that your relationship lacks fun and excitement, find common activities that both of you can enjoy. Or you can take turns to do what each other likes. This shows your spouse that you want to enter into their world and it can also help you better understand and appreciate what they are like.
Pick up a marriage resource or attend a marriage enrichment programme to communicate better.
Start small, but start somewhere.
This is also where plugging into a healthy and strong community that supports your marriage is important and necessary. Is there a trusted couple you both are comfortable sharing your marital struggles with? Arrange to meet up, and invite them to journey with you and your spouse out of this weather.
Overcast skies are here. But keep calm and start doing things differently, because all is not lost; there is hope for a turnaround.
Making the best of an Overcast marriage
For the husband
- What can you do in this weather?
- Conserve your energy (and word bank) for your wife, especially if you are a man of few words. Make effort to have conversation with her every day.
- Look out for the little things and let her know that you noticed them. Maybe she had a haircut or added a new ornament to the house; acknowledge them and compliment her.
- Learn new communication strategies to connect with her healthily.
- Things to watch out for:
- Guard your heart. When you feel distant from your wife, it is easy to be drawn to other friendships where you feel understood and accepted or activities that take your mind off things or energise you.
- Do not look for quick fixes to your problems. In the same way that your marriage did not hit this rut overnight, it will take time and intentional effort for you both to walk out of it.
- “Cave time” may be necessary for you to recharge, but don’t retreat to it whenever things get tense. That can come off as stonewalling to your wife. Your presence speaks volumes of your commitment to her in the marriage—through thick and thin.
For the wife
- What can you do in this weather?
- Be quick to apologise if you are at fault, and be ready to forgive (and forget) when he apologises for his faults.
- Notice the small acts of service he does for you, your family, or in the home. Express gratitude, and tell him that it matters to you.
- Initiate intimacy with your husband and let him know that he is still attractive and desirable.
- Things to watch out for:
- Avoid slipping into the blame game and always making it “his problem”. Your husband will naturally become defensive and may choose to disengage.
- Do not compare your marriage with “better” marriages you see around you or on social media, or let your mind wander with the “what ifs”.
- Eliminate negative talk – which could come as criticism, sarcasm, or ridicule. Speak kindly, even when you are upset, so that he will be encouraged to communicate with you.
Couple conversations in this weather
- When were the best years of our marriage, and why?
What bothers you most about the current state of our marriage?
What is one thing that you would like me to do to make you feel appreciated and loved?
A thriving marriage in every weather
This is a difficult weather for you and your spouse to be in. Hold on to each other because there can be a turnaround in your marriage.
Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.
When the marriage hits a rough patch, or when you and your spouse no longer enjoy each other, consider how you can live out your vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.
“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder
There can be beauty and growth in each weather your marriage is in. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.
No matter what weather your marriage is in, you can make your relationship with your spouse the best that it can be.
© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Share this article with someone you care for today, and you might encourage them in their journey. Share instantly on WhatsApp Mobile or on Telegram.