New Years! It’s almost that time of year again when we reflect back on the past year and resolve to make changes for the coming new year. Many of us will commit (again) to losing weight. There is something about a new year that makes us feel hopeful we can change bad habits and begin new patterns of behavior. The diet and fitness industry love the month of January. Their enrollments skyrocket as people aspire to make positive changes in their lives. New Year’s resolutions are almost cliche….but only almost. It is difficult to fight the allure of improving ourselves. Who doesn’t want to wear their skinny clothes? Who wouldn’t love to be debt free once and for all? These are all good goals worthy of our time and attention. But this year, I want to ask you to dive a little deeper. I want you to evaluate what should be the most important relationship in your life…your marriage. Is your marriage healthy? Is it strong enough to endure the ups and downs it will face this year? Have you and your spouse put time into affair-proofing your marriage so it isn’t vulnerable to an outsider’s attention?
Relationships take continual effort to sustain. Two people who commit to a lifetime of love and fidelity at one point in time, must be very proactive to protect the relationship they have invested so much in. It’s a lot like your physical fitness. Getting fit and healthy isn’t a one time event. It has to be maintained daily and reinforced with healthy habits. Otherwise, you lose whatever progress you made. You must make conscious decisions to do what is best for your marriage, just like you have to decide what food is best to put in your bodies.
At TMP, we have become experts in helping couples when one wants a divorce and the other does not. It is often difficult work that can take months before the partner who wants out gets re-invested in the marriage. Each time I work with a couple like this, I can’t help but think how much easier this would be if they only came to see me earlier…before things got so bad that one spouse declared they wanted a divorce. In every single case, the partner who wants to save the marriage tells me they wish they had taken the signs the marriage was in trouble more seriously. They are now desperate for my help and tell me they don’t want to lose the most important person in their life. But their spouse is so angry at this point, because they have tried for months or years to get their partner’s attention they fight against even the idea of saving the marriage. For them….it’s over and they say “too little too late”. We have a lot of success with couples like this, but our success rate, unfortunately isn’t 100%. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to save a marriage when they’ve waited so long to reach out to us for help that one of them completely disconnects. It breaks my heart when that happens. So part of my mission is to get couples in counseling much much sooner. Before there is too much damage to repair.
So how do you know if your marriage really is in trouble or if it’s something you can ignore? I’ve put together a brief quiz that will let you know if it is time to move your marriage to the top of your New Year’s Resolution list this January.
TRUE OR FALSE
1. You or your spouse is often irritable with no explanation.
2. You are fighting more frequently and making fewer repairs afterwards.
3. You are going weeks or months without sex.
4. You notice there is more distance. Your spouse seems less approachable and less available to you.
5. Your home is no longer a refuge.
6. There seems to be a building resentment between the two of you but neither of you are able to effectively address the issue.
7. There is less non-sexual physical touch such as holding hands, cuddling, back rubs, etc.
8. There are topics or issues you cannot discuss without an argument.
9. Your spouse has told you he/she is unhappy in the relationship.
10. Your spouse has a relationship with a friend or co-worker that makes you feel uneasy and he/she disregards your concern.
If you answered true to two of these questions, it’s time to come in and explore what’s going on in the relationship. You might only need a handful of sessions to help you get things back on track quickly.
If you answered true to three or more questions, your relationship is seriously stressed and it is time to pay attention! Don’t wait for things to improve or get better on their own. Chances are they won’t get better without some kind of intervention. Why chance it?
Did you know…the average attorney costs $300-$400 to end a marriage. The average counselor costs $100-$175 to save a marriage. The average divorce in this country costs $18,000. The average couple spends $1,800 at TMP to strengthen their marriage. Where do you want to invest your money?
At TMP we are the relationship experts! We specialize in helping couples. It is what we do best. If you think it may be time to call in the calvary, give us a call at 972-441-4432. We want to help.