Hello Readers! Well, today’s topic is a tough one, but it’s something that we all go through, even if we don’t want to admit it. Let’s face it: relationships are tough! Two different personalities constantly clashing with different opinions and ideas. It can often lead to fights, to war-like mentality, and even to divorce or splitting up permanently. And when there are children involved, it is never a cut-and-dry situation. It gets messy. As a child of divorce, I know the stress it can cause for the kids. And I was lucky enough to have a great mom and a fantastic step dad that stepped up to the role.
But still, divorce is rough on everyone involved. And it can be unnecessary. While I am a firm believer in resolving issues and working together, if the relationship is an abusive one and you fear for your life I will be the first to say “Get out!” Run. That type of relationship is toxic, not only for you but also for your children. But, for the majority of us, our relationships with our spouse or significant other is often just strained, which is often caused by outside sources and can be remedied.
First of all, I want to say that I, too, struggle with my relationship with my husband Ryan. We are two very opinionated people, and we often butt heads on our ideas. We also communicate differently, so it often leads to fights and struggles with understanding one another sometimes. So, I often try to take a step back when things get heated or I start to get frustrated with him and assess the situation. Often, he doesn’t understand that his body language says the complete opposite to me than his words. And I often have trouble understanding his language as I am more prone to reading into body language than actual words. This is something I picked up on through the book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.
Often, our language barrier gets in the way, and it hasn’t been pretty at times. We have gone weeks in a fight without resolving it. If you feel like this may be an issue for you, I highly recommend reading this book together and understanding what language the other speaks. There are activities within the book to help you understand how to communicate with one another, and it can really help mend the problems that plague your communication.
But what if that doesn’t help? I will be honest and tell you that it can be difficult to focus on the different love languages when you’re too worked up or frustrated with other issues. I often feel like I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I’m tired or frustrated, or I’ve asked Ryan to do something a million times without ever seeing the results. A few weeks ago I had this issue. The day before Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (and the day before Ryan started his new job), I woke up with a To Do list a mile long. I had laundry to do because our son Sean was running low on his clothes. I had a house to clean because we had spent almost the entire week racing out the door, dropping our gear as we walked out. I wanted to work on my blog posts and organizing my projects as I was falling dangerously behind. Sean was whining and driving me crazy. I had meal prep to do for my 21 Day Fix, which I was starting the next day. And we had to be out the door at noon to have a dinner party with my sister to celebrate our nephew’s birthday, whose blue suede cake I had made from scratch and had painstakingly decorated in his favorite football team’s colors. Needless to say, I was stressed to the max about getting everything done, and I needed Ryan to help. But because I didn’t explain what help I needed, Ryan decided to help by entertaining our son in his room.
To me it was a sign that I was on my own with regard to getting my To Do list done. To him he was helping in the best way by keeping Sean occupied and out of the way. Still, I took it the wrong way for a couple of hours as I worked through my list of tasks. But as I worked, I realized that he was doing what he thought was best. After all, I hadn’t given him my list nor did I ask him to do anything other than “help me”. And so, this opinionated and independent girl did what was best: I apologized and thanked him for helping me with Sean. And it helped us get over the hurdle. I learned a valuable lesson, and it isn’t the first time I’ve learned this one. I need to give clear directions or it doesn’t get done to my liking.
Regardless, it’s often best to take a step back and look at what’s going on before blowing up. It often is a breakdown in communication that causes the issues. And, while we hate to admit it, it’s often our fault that this has happened. We get so caught up in our To Do lists that we keep in our heads, we multi-task through so much that it comes naturally, and we quickly forget that no one can read our minds nor can they do what we do every day. So, before getting too upset, take a moment to reflect over the situation and ask yourself “Did I specifically ask for things to be done the way I want them done?” Chances are you didn’t, and the excuse that you’ve asked for them to be done in the past doesn’t count. Unless you specifically asked for them to be done that way every day then it doesn’t count. Trust me, I know. Even though I have a list of daily chores it doesn’t mean that Ryan has the same priorities. So, unless you said “Every day, I want [chore] to be done by you” you can’t get mad when it doesn’t get done.
So what if you want to sort it out but you don’t have time? I strongly recommend you make time. Ask a friend or a family member to watch your kids and sort through the issues. It may not happen overnight. It may take a few of these sessions. It may take a few weeks. But remember to forgive and move on. If it’s something as simple as a breakdown in communication, then it’s not worth fighting over every day. Learn to communicate or seek counseling until you feel confident in your relationship.
And lastly, if you’re fighting over money then take heed. The number one cause of divorce in America is money. This is huge! Most couples have financial problems. If you are in debt or you are getting ready to file bankruptcy and you have been fighting with your spouse to the brink of divorce or separating, then I strongly recommend signing up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University immediately. Don’t get a divorce. Take the class. It costs $100, but it is vital to helping you get on the right track. And it can help save your marriage or relationship if money is the root of your evil. I don’t like to promote anything I don’t believe in. But Dave Ramsey is one person I will always promote and stand behind. This class saved our marriage before it even began, and Dave Ramsey got me started on my Debt Snowball years before we married. I read his Total Money Makeover in 2012 and it scared me into action. And I had over $10,000 in credit card debt paid off before we got married. On a small paycheck, too. We also paid cash for our entire wedding. We took the Financial Peace University the second and third months of our marriage, and it really helped us learn how to work together on our budget. So when the going got tough and his job took a nosedive due to a buy out, we knew how to handle the strains to our budget and it didn’t lead to a severe financial crisis. Sure it was stressful, but it was so much easier than having mountains of debt to struggle with on top of seeing our income diminish quickly. So, I will always say it: look into the Dave Ramsey plan and do it! I can save your marriage.
Hopefully my words will help you and your spouse or significant other resolve your issues and stay focused on what’s positive. After all, communication is the key to your happiness.
Until next time,