In every marriage there are times when the partners are tested and required to stop and re-define their relationship. This article deals with the nature of threat in a marriage and with one of the most difficult ones, infidelity. It offers specific guidance on how to deal with challenges and use hard times to make the marriage stronger than it was before.
In every marriage there are times when the partners are tested and required to stop and re-define their relationship, to look and see what is going on, decide what it is they need from one another and what it is that they can or will provide. This is a process that one may have to go through many times during the course of a long relationship. In this article we will look at some of the basic dangers to a marriage, why they occur and ways of handling them.
Handling Change Itself
Before we deal with specific trouble spots, it is crucial to understand that the central factor which causes difficulty for many is change itself. Many do not realize that as time goes by people change, circumstances alter, (children are born, jobs change, family members may become ill or pass away, it may become necessary to move to another part of the country).
New stresses appear and with them old, unfulfilled wishes may come to the surface. Parts of an individual that have not been expressed in the past may emerge and require expression now.
This can be frightening when it happens. One can feel as though the balance of the relationship is being altered and threatened, that which you depended upon may be shifting.
The first thing to realize when this starts to happen, is that change is natural and inevitable. It does not mean that love is gone. This is not a time for blaming the other or feeling rejected because your partner is going through change. This is a time for creating an environment in which communication will thrive.
Tell you partner that you understand that change is natural and that as it is affecting both of you, you want to be a part of it. When you stay in communication fears and fantasies about what is going on do not develop. If you offer understanding and acceptance in the communication process and you cannot go wrong.
Instead the marriage is strengthened and the bond between you deepened. True security in a relationship comes with the ability to accept change, to communicate about it and find a new equilibrium that suits both of them.
Threats To A Marriage: Infidelity
Infidelity and the threat of it, is the largest single issue that threatens marriages. If the partner has actually been unfaithful, and even if there is a suggestion of real interest in another, the marriage automatically goes into a crisis mode. A basis of all marriages is the ability to trust. It is not only the sexual betrayal but the fact of having been lied to that is so devastating. This break of trust not only takes time, patience and wisdom to repair, but it is absolutely necessary to understand, acknowledge and discuss what caused it to take place.
It is also necessary to build the relationship upon future honesty and open communication once again. Often infidelity arises because certain needs in a marriage have not been met. Other times is arises as an act of resentment against the partner, or as a desire for freedom and adventure. Sometimes there are issues in the individual or in the relationship which have not been dealt with and which have simply festered.
Rather than deal with them directly, the person then escapes the entire situation by getting involved with someone else. Whether or not you stay in the relationship after the infidelity happens, it is necessary to uncover the true causes of it, on both sides. The question often comes whether or not it is possible to repair the broken trust and go forward in the marriage after infidelity. The truth is that if both individuals are willing to confront the issues that caused the infidelity,, to open communication, to be honest and respectful of one another and to be patient, then the marriage can emerge even stronger than before.
However, this takes time, patience and commitment and the realization that feelings of betrayal and suspiciousness may continue to go on for awhile. When they appear, it is necessary to address them and to give and receive the reassurance needed once again. It is also necessary to create firm boundaries in the relationship that are adhered to and respected by both individuals.
Blaming the self or blaming the other is never helpful and leads nowhere. Acceptance, communication and understanding, however, always go a long way. Needless to say, both must be willing to work on this together. If the partner is not willing to deal with it, then the other partner should seek help for themselves in making constructive choices for her own life. All marriages go through challenges. Whether these challenges destroy your relationship or make it stronger, is up to both of you. It takes two to make this commitment, however. One person cannot do it alone.