Is your marriage caught in a vicious circle?

If your relationship with your partner is bad, it’s likely you’re doing whatever it takes to avoid him and to spend as little time with him as possible. This is because you know that if you spend too much time with him, then an argument is likely to happen and yet again you will end up feeling bad and even more unhappy than you already were.

Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. Her marriage had been on and off the rocks for some time, and like me, she had been verbally and emotionally abused by her husband for years.

She still loved him, although she was sick to death of being treated badly and of being yelled at. So after work she would delay going home by hanging out with a girlfriend for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately though, what this did was make things worse. Her husband would get upset with her for spending so much time away from home (and him). But my friend didn’t want to go home because of the way he treated her.

So can you see that there’s a vicious circle happening here? She doesn’t want to go home because of the way he’s treating her, and he treats her badly because he’s so angry at her for not coming home.

Now, this couple still have a VERY long way to go, but there are some things she can do to improve her situation.

But first she has to understand that she CANNOT change him or his behaviour. Only he can do that. She can only change herself and her behaviour, and this in turn will inspire him to change his.

So what this means is that she can’t “make” him treat her better, so she’s happy to go home sooner. But here’s what she can do…

The first thing she needs to do is make fixing her marriage her first priority. Unfortunately, by hanging out with friends instead of her husband, she’s “hiding” from the problems in her marriage. This is because the only reasoon she’s hanging out with friends so often is because she doesn’t want to be home with her husband.

If she doesn’t want to go home, then things are seriously wrong and they need to be worked out. Avoiding home is not how that’s done.

So the next step would be to start making the effort to spend more time at home with her husband.

This may create some immediate positive changes in him, but it may only be temporary – until he has another of his “outbursts”.

So this is where she needs to speak to him in a non-blaming way about it. She has already told him that she stays away because she doesn’t want to be with him, especially when he’s in a bad mood, so she might want to say something like: “I am spending more time at home to give this marriage a proper go, but I feel sad/upset/miserable when I am spoken to in that way”… or something along those lines (I’ll be providing some links to some great resources to help with the wording you could use, in the very near future).

So she’s not throwing accusations at him, but she IS telling him how his treatment of her makes her feel. She’s making this about herself – not him.

Now he may or may not react well to these words, but once you’ve said your piece, leave the room and do not bring it up again unless it happens again and he’s yelling at you.

This couple have been struggling for so many years, but from what she tells me and what I have observed, I KNOW he loves her, but he has a really crappy way of showing it.

She responds in a passive-agressive way, which of course makes the entire situation so much worse.

My friend really needs to put fixing her marriage as her first priority or it’s never going to happen – she will continue to live this way until she does something different.

But just like she can’t make her husband do something, I can’t make her. All I can do is let her know how I see things from my perspective, and hope that she listens… :)

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