Remember: for better or for worse.
One of the biggest issues that couples face is that after the first few blissful months or years together, we begin to see our partner’s flaws, the things we don’t like, and the things that upset us and annoy us.
When we initially fall in love, we feel on top of the world and without realizing it we soon become oblivious to the reality of what it really means to be living with another person who has issues, fears, problems and insecurities of their own.
This quote by Peter Devries couldn’t say it better "The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but we must live with a character."
So, what exactly does that mean and what is the difference between character and personality?
Well, your personality is how people experience you, it’s the face you put on, it’s how people see you. Your character, on the other hand, is who you are when no one is watching. It’s the person you really are when you are alone or so relaxed with your partner that you start to let that side of you surface.
An easy way to look at this is to go back to the traditional wedding vows which states "For better or worse." When people get married, they see and experience "the better", but it’s often not until a few months or years down the road that we can begin to experience "the worse."
For a couple to survive the worse when they feel that their marriage is in trouble, the first thing to do is just acknowledge it and be aware of it. Once you are aware of the situation you are in and remember the vows you pledged on your wedding day you can make a plan to get through it together.
So, here are 5 tips to help you move through the difficult times as a couple and not just survive but thrive (hope you like them would love to hear your thoughts):
1. Look at yourself as a reflection.
Using the Law of Reflection as the basis for this first step, when you look at your partner and see something that you really don’t like, stop and ask yourself, "Are they a reflection of me? Do I do that too?"
If so, look at changing your ways and then take a step back and see if they too start to change.
2. Remember your vows.
One of the reasons that many people fail to stay together is that they simply forget the vows they made; for better or for worse. Life is good yet it's also really really hard at times.
When we can be at peace with that simple fact, we won’t feel like running away the minute we don’t like what we see.
So, when the going gets tough, remind yourself of your vows, spend time thinking about your wedding day, and remember that this "hard or difficult phase" is just a phase and it will pass.
Don’t be shy to get support either. Burying your head in the sand and hoping time will fix it is a mistake many divorced people deeply regret.
3. Don't react... respond.
When things are hard and you feel like giving up, try and focus on responding to a situation and not reacting. When we respond, especially if it’s a calm response, we are generally moving forwards in the right direction.
However, as soon as we start firing out angry reactions, what we get is more angry reactions in response — and as we know, angry reactions do not generally work in our favor. So, remember to make it a habit of responding rather than reacting.
4. Look at yourself and your partner.
Another key thing to remember is that too often when we look at our partner and suddenly see all the things we don’t like about them, we are in fact mirroring ourselves.
What you will find if you look close enough is that what you don’t like in them is often something you don’t like about yourself.
This can be hard to accept at first, if you dislike laziness, tightness, mess, lying, excessive drinking, eating or spending, have you done this before or been told it is unacceptable? Is it mirroring something?
If this sounds like you, then taking some time out to look inside yourself will give you some perspective on whether or not the issue is with them or with you, can work wonders.
5. Focus on the good.
Lastly, try focusing on something good, something you love about your partner. Visualize it in your mind. Feel how good it feels to feel that way.
Remember all the times you felt amazing when they said something nice to you and when they surprised you or showed you how much they really cared. When you have that feeling in your mind, magnify it, make it appear 10 times bigger, then do it again and then again.
When you do this exercise, you will start to feel so good that this feeling will radiate through you and come into contact not just with your partner but with everyone you spend time with.
By radiating love and feeling so great, you will start to notice that that feeling and love is coming right back at you, just like a boomerang.
Many people who did the Save My Marriage Program online told me that it not only restored their marriage, but it was a personal fixing for them too.
And, in fact, I think one of the unique aspects of the online program is that a person experiences personal growth within, I cover topics like breaking the cycle of negative thoughts, overcoming addictive patterns, anger management, affair recovery, healing past hurt and how to communicate more effectively etc .
Nicola Beer is a Marriage Transformation Specialist and Founder of Save My Marriage Program. If you’d like to experience a personal transformation or any of these topics speak to you, register for the online course, you can join any time.
This article was originally published at Save My Marriage Program. Reprinted with permission from the author.