In the previous two articles we discussed the fact that divorce blindsides do happen. Just like in Survivor, sometimes the people you think have your back, actually don’t. Although in the case of divorce it has nothing to do with being a winner, and everything to do with marital unhappiness. In fact, statistics reveal that they’re only really blindsides if you weren’t paying attention to the signs.
So what are the signs? Because statistics reveal that more divorces are filed by women these days than men, we have aimed this series at husbands. For that reason, having established that it is often men who tend to be the ones caught unawares when their marriages blow up in their faces, we have compiled a list of things that husbands can do to reduce their chances of a blindside. Here goes…
Marriages do have warning signs!
Unlike road construction and slippery floors in restaurants, marriages don’t come with clearly marked warning signs that pop up conveniently just before you and your spouse engage in a fight or push each other’s emotional buttons. However, a struggling marriage does offer signs of a different kind, just like an unhappy spouse does. The catch is, you have to pay attention. So if you want your marriage to survive, or even better – thrive, then keep your finger on the pulse!
It’s important to listen!
Many men may be surprised by their wives leaving, but that often means that they weren’t listening to begin with. Women tend to be the emotional caretakers in a relationship, actively seeking ways to repair and restore any trouble spots when they come up. So, with that in mind, when your wife points out a trouble spot, for example: something she would like you to say more often because it makes her happier to hear it, or something she would rather you didn’t say at all because it hurts her feelings, it is a request for change. Listen to her. It’s not nagging, it’s an attempt to heal a broken area in your relationship.
Actions speak louder than words!
Don’t misunderstand. We’re not suggesting that a husband should rush to do his wife’s bidding the moment she issues a command. A husband is a man not a lapdog, and it’s critical to remember that distinction. However, when someone you love asks you to do (or not do) something for them, and they ask over and over because you never seem to get around to taking care of it, that sends a message that says “the things that are important to you are not important to me.” Send that message enough times, over a span of many years, and eventually your spouse will truly take it to heart.
A person who feels that their spouse doesn’t care enough about them to make changes in their behavior, and couldn’t be bothered to prioritize any of the issues that are important to them, is an unhappy spouse. An unhappy spouse, especially an unhappy spouse who has been unhappy for a long time and sees no signs that anything will change, very often becomes a departing spouse. So if you want to keep your marriage together, then you need to make your spouse’s happiness a priority. Not once in awhile, or just on her birthday, but regularly!
Ask yourself hard questions!
If you find that your wife asks you repeatedly to take care of things that are important to her, but not to you, or change behaviors that seem to bother her but not you, you have to ask yourself some important questions. Namely, what is more important in the long run? Your marriage or the ten minutes it would take to finish a job you’ve left incomplete for months? Your partner’s happiness, or your pride? If you answer honestly, you will have your finger on the pulse of your marital future. By not doing something that you don’t feel is important in the moment may feel like a small victory at the time, but what do you gain by winning a series of little skirmishes, when you are likely to lose the war as a result?
Join us next time, as we will be continuing this discussion by sharing a few tips and tricks from mental health professional. Or, in Survivor terminology, a blindside. Until then, if you have already reached a point where you realize that there is no future for your marriage, we are here to help you pick up the pieces and move on to a brighter future. Call us today at 517-886-1000.