Question: When we got engaged, I thought my spouse could do no wrong. Now that we’re married, I’ve become aware that the person of my dreams actually has some very annoying habits. How do I deal with this situation? Is it possible to change your mate?
Remember when you and your spouse were planning your wedding? You walked around in the promise of happily ever after, ignoring the advice of people around you – people who had been married far longer than you – telling you to plan not just for the wedding, but for your marriage. And then a few days, months or years later, you realize you should’ve listened because the dream wore off and reality set in.
You need to stop tolerating your spouse.
Jenna’s* husband scrapes his plate at the end of a meal to get every last edible drop onto his fork, then into his mouth. At first, she thought it was a one-off thing – he must’ve really liked that stir-fry. But three years and 3,285 bone-china-chilling meals later, his habit is really getting on her nerves. So much so, that she looks forward to meals without him! Worse yet, to avoid conflict she tries to tolerate the pet peeve.
Question: My spouse has serious issues with drug abuse. As a matter of fact, I think it would be fair to say that he’s an addict. This has had a devastating impact on our marriage and family, and I feel as if I’ve just about reached the end of my rope. Where do I turn for help?
“The first five years were the worst!” Pam* said, laughing about her and her husband Jim’s* somewhat rocky pathway to healthy conflict.
“We tried the whole ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’ technique, but one night we were up until 3 a.m. trying to resolve something that we’d both forgotten about,” Pam recalled. “At that point we were both emotionally drained and exhausted and nothing was getting any better.”
Jim nodded stoically remembering that night.