Thank you for the nearly 40,000 visits to the Strong Women, Strong Love blog this year! I hope that you found resources here to nurture and enhance your marriage.
As 2017 winds down, I wanted to look back on some of the most popular marriage advice articles published this year.
How Attachment Styles Affect Your Marriage This article looks at attachment styles as a framework for understanding your marriage. Your attachment style was shaped by the family you grew up in, and it continues to influence how you approach relationships. For example, if your early caregivers were loving, responsible and reliable, you’re probably comfortable with emotional intimacy and trusting others. But if your caregivers were unavailable or unresponsive, you may have trouble seeking closeness with others. Knowing your attachment style and your husband’s can be an important first step toward improving your marriage.
Learn more: If you found the article on attachment styles useful, you may also want to read Chasing Doesn’t Work (No Fooling!). Chasing is a common pattern when someone with an ambivalent/anxious attachment style marries a partner with an avoidant attachment style.
Some Key Truths About Honesty in Your Marriage What does it mean to be honest and authentic with your spouse? You and your husband might have very different answers to this seemingly simple question! Some people have a let-it-all-hang-out philosophy, but their spouses might feel attacked by their bluntness. Again, your feelings about what should — and shouldn’t — be shared in a relationship were probably shaped by your own family. Talk with your husband about how each of you defines honesty so that you can understand and navigate your differences.
How Your Husband Really Feels About Your Miscarriage A miscarriage is one of the greatest heartbreaks a couple can share together. Sometimes misunderstandings between partners can compound the pain. You may feel hurt and confused if your husband seems unemotional or indifferent after a miscarriage. But he may be acting this way out of a desire to protect you and not add to your burden. It helps to be very clear with him about the kind of support you need.
Learn more: If struggles with infertility have you worried about your marriage, my article Will He Leave If You Can’t Conceive? should be reassuring. In an overwhelming majority of marriages, one spouse’s inability to conceive a child is not a deal-breaker for the other partner.
Your Husband Wants to Separate — Now What? The above three articles were the most popular ones published in 2017. But by far, the most-read post on the blog is this article on separation that I wrote in 2015. This post has generated ongoing discussion since it first appeared, with commenters opening up about their own experiences with separation and offering each other support and compassion. If you’re going through a separation now, know that while you can’t do anything to make your husband return to the marriage, you’ll have a better chance of saving your marriage if you can avoid acting from a place of fear.
Learn more: If the advice in my article on separation resonated with you, you may also wish to explore The Last Resort Technique for saving your marriage. Creator Michele Weiner-Davis (a marriage therapist) makes no guarantees that the technique will work, but says “it works often enough for you to be eager to give it a shot.” And, she adds, “even if your marriage doesn’t improve … your mental health will.”
Thank you again for reading the Strong Women, Strong Love blog in 2017. I wish you and your husband much love and joy in 2018. If there are relationship topics you’d like to see me cover on the blog next year, just drop me a note or a comment on Facebook.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably going through, or fearing that you’re about to go through, one of the scariest things that can happen in a marriage: Your husband wants to separate.
It’s hard to pinpoint exact numbers on how many couples go through a separation, but research suggests one in four U.S. couples will legally separate in the first six years after getting married.
It’s perfectly normal to feel lost and panicky when the other person says, “I need some time away.”
But you’ll have a better chance of saving your marriage if you can avoid acting from a place of fear. If your husband wants to separate, your first reaction might be to tearfully beg and plead for him to stay. Sadly, when we try so hard to pull another person back to us, it often only makes them want to leave more. This all ties back to something we talked about in a previous blog post: that when we chase after something in a relationship, we often end up driving away the very thing we want.
If your husband is saying he wants to leave, it’s helpful to deal with him from a more confident place. Now, I’m not talking about screaming “FINE! Get out!” and expecting your husband to change his mind. Instead, you want your message to be more like this: “If you want to leave, I can’t stop you. I’m still committed to this marriage and would like for you to stay so we can figure out what happened and fix it. But you’re an adult, and I know I can’t tie you here.” If he insists on moving out, ask if your husband would be willing to seek professional help. You want to make sure separation has a clear purpose and doesn’t just cause you to drift further apart because you’re living completely separate lives.
If your husband does actually leave the house, don’t pressure him to come back. Allow him to experience the reality of what divorce from you would mean. If you have children, let him fully care for them when they are staying with him. Be supportive of his visits with the kids, but don’t become a doormat to get him back. Give him space to understand your importance in his life. It’s possible he’s not interested in reconciliation and will eventually want a divorce. It’s also possible that if he truly experiences a separation, he’ll eventually start missing you and the life you have built together.
When there is talk of separation, it is really important that you take a good look in the mirror. It’s possible you’ve done some things that have really hurt your marriage. You may be guilty of constantly criticizing your husband, neglecting him, or having an affair. Take responsibility for any part you’ve played in creating your marriage problems, and stop adding to the hurt. If your marriage has any chance of survival, you both have to be honest about what’s not working, and fix it. Use this opportunity to grow and become the kind of person you would want to be married to. Being calm, confident, and considerate will get you much further than groveling if you hope to save your marriage..
I wish that I could give you some guarantee that if you follow these tips, your husband will stay in the marriage, but there simply isn’t one. About 5 percent of couples reconcile after a separation. Ten to 15 percent remain separated long-term without divorcing. If your husband does return, he’s more likely to genuinely want to work on the relationship.
You’re going through a lot right now, and my heart goes out to you. Even thought it’s really hard to accept that your marriage is at risk of failing, let your husband’s talk about separation serve as a wake up call. Do your best to listen deeply to his concerns, and sincerely offer to work to improve your relationship. Like I said, sometimes a person has already decided they want to divorce, and there is little you can do. However, if your husband is on the fence about ending the relationship, how you respond could be a deciding factor in whether your marriage survives.
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