I was recently asked by a St. Louis radio talk show host what I believed was the number one problem facing married couples today. Is it affairs? Is it finances? It is children or extended family? Is it pornography? Is it work schedules or home stress? What is it? While all of these are serious issues, they are all symptoms of a greater problem. I have worked with hundreds of couples through the years and I am convinced that the number one problem couples face is that they lose their loving connection. Most of the couples and individuals that I work with tell me that at one time they had a deep loving connection with their spouse. They could talk for hours and loved spending time with one another. They had a sense that there was no problem that they could not solve as long as they were together. Most of these couples married and at first things were great. But shortly after marriage, they stopped doing many of the things that had created the initial connection. Then, as these couples focused less on each other and less on the relationship they began to drift apart. This drifting causes a loss of connection. This is usually followed by discouragement, disengagement and disillusionment. All of a sudden the problems in the relationship seem insurmountable. Instead of connecting, there is a great deal of fighting. For many, the easy solution is to divorce and start over with a new spouse. This explains why the divorce rate for second marriages is significantly higher than first marriages. I love having the opportunity to work with the couples that say they are going to fight to save the marriage. Sometimes initially, it is only one person in the relationship who wants to save the marriage. By refocusing on connection and having a plan to move forward reconnection is established and marriages are restored. Take time out this week to check in with your spouse about your current level of connection in the marriage. Here are three questions that you might use this week in a conversation with your spouse to access your connection level.
If you are not satisfied with the answers to these questions, make a commitment to do something to improve the connection. You will be amazed at how quickly things can turn around. Please share this post with anyone who might benefit. If I can ever be of service to you and your marriage or if you would like to learn more about my non traditional approach to marriage counseling, please visit my website at stlouismarriagecoaching.com or call me at 314-606-4272 to schedule an appointment. Until next time, keep falling more in love.
I recently looked up the phrase “Guys’ Night Out” in the popular online Urban Dictionary. According to the Urban Dictionary, “Guys night out is a harmless activity that male friends participate in for the purpose of reinforcing friendship or simply getting together to do something positive. Such activities include but are not limited to beer drinking, discussing business and finances, watching or playing sports, playing videogames or card games, occasionally talking about women or watching a movie that doesn’t suck.” I followed this search with the Urban Dictionary definition of Girls’ Night Out. Clearly the editors of the Urban Dictionary are men. I found the definition disturbing, so I am not going to share the definition here, but in today’s post I want to talk about the role of guys’ and girls’ night out in healthy marriages. Is it appropriate for your husband to go out every Tuesday night with the guys? Is is alright for your wife to play bunko every Friday night with the neighborhood girls? How often is too much? What are the danger signs? Having a sense of individuality can be healthy for the marriage relationship. The research is conclusive that having same sex friends improves health, makes us more attractive to our spouse and improves the overall quality of our lives. Having same sex friends to hang out with occasionally can be extremely healthy and beneficial to the marriage. There are two main challenges with the concept of guys’ night out and girls’ night out. The first challenge is that many couples have never had conversations about what behavioral guidelines are acceptable for the marriage. The problem with this is that when boundaries are crossed it creates conflict and a relational disconnect. When this happens the night out with friends becomes a constant source of conflict and chaos in the marriage. Take some time this week to talk about healthy boundaries in regards to this issue in your marriage. Make sure you have conversations about frequency, types of activities that are acceptable, and mechanisms to have conversations when it is not working for either one of you. The second challenge with girls’ night out or guys’ night out is the reality that we only have a limited amount of time. Our marriage needs to be our highest priority. If you want to know what your true priorities are look at your check book and look at your calendar. Some people are more intentional about their night out with their friends then they are the weekly date night with their spouse. If you are having regular guys’ night out or girls’ night out but are not having regular date nights your marriage is in trouble. Make a decision to fix this immediately. Make spending time with your spouse your highest priority. I have some of the best guy friends in the world. I truly am blessed with wonderful relationships and friends. But my very best friend is my wife, Cathy. There is no one that I love spending time with more than her. We have always gone on at least one date a week. I get with my friends and Cathy gets with her friends monthly or every other month. This works for us. Figure out what works best for you and your marriage, just make sure your spouse gets the number one place in your priorities.
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