A telltale sign of trust deteriorating in a marriage is when you stop being a team. Chances are that at the beginning of your relationship, you and your partner relished the ability to make joint decisions and use the word “we” as much as possible. However, over time, making joint decisions may have become more of a burden than a perk. Power struggles and arguments over differences might now be the center of decision-making. And from here, trust goes out the window.
To begin restoring trust in each other and working together as a team once more, follow these rules to help refocus your priorities.
- There are no bosses.
There was a time in history when one member of the marriage dominated the other. However, we now live in a society where marriages are seen as equal partnerships. So, neither of you is the boss in the relationship. Yes, one of you may have a more opinionated personality or a better command of language, but that does not make that individual the boss. You each should have an equal say in what goes on with your lives as a couple.
- Mutual respect is essential.
Aretha knew what she was talking about when her one request was a little bit of respect. Respect is one of the pillars of a happy marriage. If you do not respect your partner, you most certainly cannot maintain a healthy relationship. Respect your partner’s way of thinking and unique perspective. Just because he or she may have different opinions does not mean they are invalid. Even if you two hardly agree on anything, there is that little area in which you do agree. Nurture that area and respect your differences.
- Create a judgment-free zone.
Nowhere in your vows did it say you had to agree on everything. Therefore, do not be so quick to judge your partner’s opinions as wrong. Take a moment to consider his or her perspective. If you really do not understand where they are coming from, ask them. Not only will you better understand the basis of his or her statement, you will learn something new about your partner.
- Avoid being the decision-maker.
Recreate that “we” state you once had and make decisions as a team. You are both individuals and have the right to explore whatever hobbies, career paths, and experiences you wish. But do not forget that your decisions may also affect your partner. Ask his or her opinion. Your spouse might raise a point regarding your idea that you never considered.
- Clarify your common goals.
To reconnect as a couple and restore trust in each other, collaborate on clarifying your goals. Do you want to be homeowners? Have you always planned to have another child? Reconnect on this front and bring them up often. Plan them as a team. By doing this, you can rediscover something you have in common and practice your teamwork.
- Marriage is not a competition.
Yes, healthy competition in your local 5k or while playing Scrabble can strengthen your marriage. However, if you find yourselves competing to be the better person in the relationship, you should reevaluate things. The great thing about marriage is the ability of your partner to make you better and for you to make your partner better. If you put your partner down or attempt to make yourself look better, you are not being a supportive and respectful partner.
- Always support and encourage.
The key aspect of a trusting and respectful marriage is support and encouragement. Believe in your partner and your partner will believe in you. Be each other’s strength in times of difficulty. If you employ support and encouragement as the basis of restoring your relationship, you and your partner will immediately see positive changes.
(Source: Can This Marriage Be Saved? by Ladies’ Home Journal)
For a free phone consult, call Dr. Fibus at 818.395.2831.