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happiness in marriage if you

3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman

happiness in marriage if you're a woman

 

I don’t have studies to back up what I’m about to say but, I’m going to say it anyway. I do a lot of reading and research about divorce and why people divorce. The number one complaint I hear from women about why they chose divorce is, inevitably, “I was no longer happy.” Their marriage wasn’t making them happy, their husband wasn’t making them happy, the way they viewed that moment in time in their lives didn’t make them feel happy.

The running theme is, for some reason, women expect their happiness to come from without, not within. When they settle into marriage and the daily humdrum of raising children, making a living and holding a marriage together women become disenchanted because it turns out, marriage isn’t a fairytale and no one will live “happily” ever after.

According to Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, “Happiness is at least 50% genetic. Positive psychologists tend to acknowledge a much weaker version of the happiness set-point view and often point out that even if genetics determines about half of our happiness, the rest is caused by factors that we can control to some extent; our circumstances (about 10%) and our intentional activities, such as the way we choose to think about things (about 40%).”

Let’s break that down, genetics is 50% responsible for how happy a person feels. Circumstance is 10% responsible and how one chooses to think about their circumstance is 40% responsible. It isn’t my intent to diminish anyone’s feelings BUT unless you are married to an abuser, alcoholic or slacker it is possible that these women aren’t happy because of genetics or the way they choose to think about their circumstance and, not as a result of a bad marriage.

As my grandmother used to say, women who divorce because they are no longer happy could be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Getting rid of the thing that could bring them the most happiness by divorcing, in pursuit of some skewed idea of what it means to be happy or, what happiness actually is.

How to Find Happiness in Marriage If You’re a Woman

Happiness is a state of mind, not of circumstance. If you want a happy marriage, you have to make it a happy marriage. Happiness doesn’t magically occur when he stops working 50 hours a week and spends more time with you and the children. It won’t magically occur when the children are grown or there is enough money to cover all the bills. It won’t be found in regular date nights or, snuggling on the couch every night watching romantic comedies.

Your life, inside your marriage, is now, today, dealing with what comes your way and how you choose to think about what it takes to get you through the day. Happiness comes from determining to feel good about whatever life dishes out on any given day. It’s about attitude.

If a woman is blessed with a loving husband who works hard to provide and children who work hard at driving her crazy she is going to find happiness in those blessings because she chooses to view them as such. To be happy one has to allow that 40% positive attitude to hold more authority than the 10% negative attitude about her situation.

Get over thinking someone owes you happiness. Or, that some outside force can “make” you happy. Husbands and children can impact how happy you feel but, ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. If the drudgery of working, being a wife and mothering is sapping your energy and ability to feel happy it is your job to introduce activities into your life that balance those obligations with activities you enjoy.

Most women become unhappy in marriage because they lose their identity to the marriage and they put their needs second to the needs of their husband and children. That is a rule book written by women and it is full of rules that need to be broken. One way to do that, to stir the pot and not fall victim to the antiquated idea that your needs aren’t important is to simply, get out and do things you like to do.

Your children, marriage, husband, and home will not fall apart if you spend a few hours at an art class or, go to the gym daily to work out and keep your body and mind in shape. Women who are happily married have a life outside the marriage, husband, and children.

I have a friend who takes a yearly, weeklong vacation away from her role as wife and Mom. She also maintains a popular blog about women’s issues and writes daily. That is her life and passion, something she does for herself that in no way is related to her role as someone’s wife and mother. Do something, on a daily basis that brings you a sense of joy, is an escape from the whining children and constantly working husband. If you do, you will have a deeper appreciation for your own sense of autonomy AND the daily drudgery that is marriage and raising a family.

Be your authentic self. Did you go into marriage with a set of rules about the kind of wife and mother you want to be? Are the rules realistic? Can you eat off the floors, are the beds made daily, your children dressed and spat shined? Do you have a routine you follow from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night?

That image you have in your mind about the perfect wife and mother may play a role in unhappiness you feel. Why not give yourself a break and be yourself, not who you think you should be for your children and husband but, yourself. If that means not making the beds daily, so be it. If it means sitting your children in front of cartoons in the morning while you journal or meditate, go for it.

Let go of the need to keep up with your own false image of who a good wife and mother is and allow your own personality to drive the kind of wife and mother you are. Your husband and your children will benefit by getting to know the real you. You will benefit by being able to relax and let go of some silly preconceived notion and living your own reality.

Adjusting your attitude, taking responsibility for your own happiness and living authentically may lead to things like, a husband who comes home early from work because he enjoys the company of a wife who is upbeat and happy.

A lot of research has been done on attraction and it all points to the fact that people are attracted to others who are friendly, happy and self-confident. If you have a full life, interests of your own and don’t need anyone or any institution to “make” you happy, guess what, you will be happy. You don’t need to leave your marriage to find happiness, you only need to make a few adjustments.

And, those adjustments will promote and change in the way your husband and children react to and engage with you. It’s a simple way of taking away the need to divorce because you are, “no longer happy.”

Disclaimer: This article does not apply to women living in abusive marriages where they are in danger of physical harm or death.

The post 3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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reason your marriage fizzled out

Why Thrill Is Gone: 10 Reason Your Marriage Fizzled Out

reason your marriage fizzled out

 

Marriages fizzle and die a slow death for the most innocuous reasons. Most marriages don’t succumb to an affair or midlife crisis. Most go the way of divorce because spouses fail to pay attention to the simple things that keep a marriage humming along and both spouse’s happy.

Below are 10 Reasons Your Marriage Fizzled Out:

1. Lack of Enjoyment in The Relationship

If the marriage and relationship become dull and predictable both spouses will lose interest. When both spouses work at keeping things exciting and fun the marriage has a better chance of lasting. When it turns into Football every Sunday and shopping with the girlfriends instead of spending time with each other engaging in new experiences the marriage will slowly die.

2. A Lack of Boundaries in The Relationship

Setting boundaries is an important part of any healthy relationship. If you aren’t willing to tell your spouse what you will and will not tolerate in the marriage, how will your spouse know what lines can and can’t be crossed?

Most feel that boundaries are about settling limits on the other person’s behaviors. In reality, boundaries are YOU setting YOUR limits and then not hanging around when YOUR boundaries are crossed. For example:

“I feel belittled when you tease me in front of friends. Next time this happens I will tell you, in front of our friends that I feel belittled and I will remove myself from the conversation.” Then, next time you are belittled or, whatever behavior it is your spouse does that upsets you, live up to the boundary you set.

3. Taking The Relationship For Granted

I heard a bride say, “Now that we are married, he can never leave me.” Think again! The moment your spouse becomes your sure thing, your marriage begins to die. It is human nature to pay less attention to things we are sure of. Not paying attention to whether or not the marriage is in good shape and your spouse is happy is a great way to end up with a bad marriage and unhappy spouse.

4. A Failure to Communicate…Properly

My ex and I used to take great pride in our ability to communicate. What we were doing was talking circles around each other and not solving problems in the marriage. When having crucial conversations about the relationship, keep in mind that men and woman have different styles of communication. Women are emotional communicators, men are logical communicators. Learn how to decipher what your spouse is saying and where they are coming from.

5. Financial Difficulties or, Not Being on The Same Page, Financially

If both spouses aren’t involved in and aware of the financial realities of the marriage this is an invitation for trouble. In most marriages, one or the other spouse takes charge of paying the bills and keeping tabs on the money. That is all good and well but, both spouses should be aware of where they, as a couple, stand financially. And, there should be an understanding of who spends what and what it is spent on. If not, one spouse can spend a marriage into divorce court.

6. Engaging in Power Struggles as a Couple

Marriage is give and take. At times one spouse will give more than the other, but for the health of the marriage, the pendulum should swing back and forth. Couples get into trouble when one wants to have power over the other and there is a constant battle with that spouse trying to exert dominance. In successful marriages, spouses are willing to share the power, not fight over it.

7. Lack of Sex

Physical intimacy is what bonds a couple together. Without it, spouses become roommates instead of husband and wife. It is true that sexuality or the desire for intimacy increases and decreases based on many things. Women age and hormones are decline, men work too much and come home too tired for sex.

It is beneficial for your marriage and relationship bond to make time for sex unless you are feeling abused or neglected by your spouse. In those situations, I encourage communication in the case of neglect and, leaving the marriage in the case of abuse.

8. Losing Your Sense of Self

It is easy, especially for women who do not work outside the home to lose themselves in the marriage and family. I would venture to say that this is probably the number one reason for gray divorces. Women raise their children, support their husband and his work and hit middle age with no idea who they are and what to do with their empty nest.

Each spouse needs to take time away from the other and the children to engage in activities they find fulfilling and help them maintain a sense of who they are outside the marriage and role of spouse and parent.

9. Becoming the Nagging Wife

Sorry ladies but, you are married to an adult, not a child. Yes, you may feel it is his job to mow the lawn but if he fails to do so nagging him won’t get him behind a mower. It will cause him to resent you and resentment in a marriage is a sure-fire killer.

If your husband doesn’t fix the leaking faucet, pay a plumber. If the deck needs to be stained and he ignores your request to do so, hire someone to get the job done. When he takes a look at the finances and sees that it will cost him less to get out and get those jobs done he will get busy. And, he won’t be able to accuse you of being a “nagging wife.”

10. Smothering Your Spouse

I have a friend who would cut her husband’s meat if he would allow her. Every shirt is starched to perfection, every lunch packed with nutritious meals and she is aware of every move he makes throughout his day.

Yes, you love your spouse but, that is no reason to treat them as if they can’t care for themselves or to feel you should be joined at the hips. Give your spouse space don’t keep them on a short leash and you will both be happier. In turn, you will have a better marriage.

The post Why Thrill Is Gone: 10 Reason Your Marriage Fizzled Out appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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marital compatability

Marital Compatibility: What Couples Get Wrong About Marriage

marital compatability

 

Emily Cowen, a musical artist I enjoy sings, “Even though we just met, these feelings are so beautiful, you and me were meant to be together.” And that is where “love” songs get love wrong. You’ve just met, the feelings are beautiful so, goodness gracious, you must be meant to be together.

Wrong!

Long-lasting marriages and relationships aren’t based on beautiful feelings. They strive because of compatibility and the unique differences both genders bring to the relationship and how well each can resolve a conflict.

A bit about marital compatibility

Let’s look at the role compatibility plays in lasting marriages.

Initial compatibility, the butterflies and raging hormonal attraction is not a good indicator of how successful a marriage will be. That immediate chemical attraction felt with someone new isn’t concerned with the other person’s value system, personality characteristics or those other beliefs and personality traits that bond a couple together for the long-term.

Attraction and butterflies are important if a marriage is going to stand the test of time, but what is more important is a couple’s common plan for what direction the marriage will take and what role each will play in the marriage.

What does marital compatibility look like?

Friendship: Are you friends with your spouse?  Is there a sincere likeness and level of comfort? Successful couples enjoy spending time with each other. It is this friendship that can be the foundation for solving problems as they arise in the marriage.

Role expectations in the marriage: This isn’t only about how household responsibilities will be handled. It’s also about how spouses treat each other. Very few conversations about role expectations come up when in the throws a brand new relationship. Roles will form naturally as time goes on or the couple will define what role they will play in the relationship. If you aren’t happy with the role you play, there isn’t much hope for the marriage.

My son’s new wife isn’t a domestic goddess. She teaches nursing at a local university and is working on her Ph.D. She is more interested in cerebral pursuits than what art is hung on the walls or, cleaning the kitchen. My son, on the other hand, loves his career but also loves to cook and keep the house tidy. I tease my new daughter-in-law and tell her she has a “fine wife.”

Before marrying they discussed who would do what and they now not only enjoy each other intimately, they are both quite comfortable with how the household is run and the role each plays in the decision making process. It’s an equation for success!

Emotional honesty: Successful spouses trust each other, they feel safe being vulnerable and when discussing their feelings. There is an emotional give and take. When one spouse is in need, the other is there for them and vice versa.

Sexual expectations: Setting these expectations is not only about how frequently a couple will be intimate. It is important, very important that they both be on the same page about sexual frequency but there are other aspects of a sexual relationship that need to be defined. Not everyone is on board with experiencing every sexual act known to man. Defining what you are and aren’t comfortable with sexually is imperative, right out of the gate. Couples who have similar sexual expectations experience more bonding with each other which sets them up for long-term success as a couple.

Shared goals: Mutually committing to and following a path you both agree on is something successful couples do. Do you want children, how will they be raised if you do? What is more important, spending money on furthering education or saving money for a down-payment on a house? Common shared goals and values are things that are the foundation for a strong marriage.

Most successful marriages come about because both partners came into the relationship with similar belief systems and values that match. This makes it easier for two people to reach agreements on issues such as sexual intimacy, gender roles and to be easily emotionally open with each other.

This isn’t to say that a solid marriage is made up of only couples with good qualities. Two people who avoid conflict, have hot-blooded temperaments and prefer to go with the flow can also make marriage work, as long as they are both on the same page.

The post Marital Compatibility: What Couples Get Wrong About Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 Challenges to a Marriage of Empty Nest Syndrome

3 Challenges to a Marriage of Empty Nest Syndrome

If you have children, it’s inevitable and is something that couples will have to face sooner or later.

The post 3 Challenges to a Marriage of Empty Nest Syndrome appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage

5 Steps To Take When Leaving a Bad Marriage

5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage

 

Leaving a bad marriage is not easy so if you’ve decided you want a better life and are putting an end to a toxic marriage, bravo! Recognizing that you’re in a bad situation is hard enough but then respecting and loving yourself enough to say you’re truly done is daunting but doable if you are truly ready to leave.

Here are 5 steps to take when leaving a bad marriage: 

1. Therapy

Can you afford therapy? If you’re leaving a bad marriage, you will need support and to work through the issues that have built up during the marriage. Another great reason to try therapy? When leaving a bad marriage, you may be tempted many times to go back to your ex and a therapist can support you on your journey towards a healthy you and either rebuilding a healthier marriage or, a healthier life ahead outside of the marriage. Many therapists will work on a sliding scale and if you cannot afford it, try speaking to someone you trust like a pastor or rabbi, etc.

2. Finances

Are you working or, are you a stay-at-home parent? If you aren’t, will you need to support yourself?  Most likely the answer is yes so start applying to jobs, even if you find something that’s simply right for the meantime. Any bit of money earned is a step towards your independence, which is crucial when leaving a bad marriage.

If you’re already working and you are the breadwinner of the family, stop and consider how divorce will impact your earnings. Speak to a local attorney and find out your state’s laws on child support and spousal support.

Let’s also not forget any debt you and your soon-to-be-ex may have. Are you prepared for how that could be divided during a divorce? Important things to consider.

More financial factors:

  • Do you have a bank account in your name only? If not, open one. What about a credit card? Open one as well.
  • If you’re a stay-at-home parent, can you brush up your resume because you will need to work after divorce? And can you find family or loved ones to help with childcare when you return to work?

3. See a Lawyer

If you are determined to divorce and your spouse isn’t willing to use a mediator, which is a more affordable option than a litigated divorce. Most lawyers will do free consults and will give you a decent idea of what you are heading into financially and if you have children, with regards to custody. It never hurts to be prepared and no: don’t tell your partner you’re consulting with a lawyer!

4. Line Up the Troops

If you have kids, start lining up support now. It is hard being a single parent so having family and/or friends, who will help you and your kids through the transition, especially if it’s an ugly toxic marriage, will be immeasurable. Some family may have a hard time agreeing with your situation even if the marriage is that bad, so tell family members you can count on to be helpful on this journey.

5. Mantras/ Stress Outlets

Ending a marriage whether it was a good or bad marriage is emotionally taxing. Start finding ways to decompress whether it’s through meditation, yoga, reading, weekly meet-ups with a friend for a beer, coffee, a football game, or a manicure, or going for a run.

Even more pressing, start to work on your way of thinking and how you view yourself and your ability to handle divorce stress. Daily positive mantras such as: “I deserve a better life” or “This will get better” or “I am whole on my own” are good ways to mentally train yourself to want better for yourself and help you through the dark periods of separation and divorce.

The bottom line? You deserve to be happy and if your bad marriage is not fixable, don’t feel bad about walking away.

The post 5 Steps To Take When Leaving a Bad Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Marriage to Divorce Ratio at Highest Point Since 2008

Marriage to Divorce Ratio at Highest Point Since 2008

The marriage to divorce ratio in the U.S. is on the rise, according to new data collected by the ACS. Learn about the stats behind the new data here.

The post Marriage to Divorce Ratio at Highest Point Since 2008 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Is Your Marriage Making You Unhappy?

Is Your Marriage Making You Unhappy?

 

Friends and family notice a difference in your behavior and moods. You notice a difference in your moods. You’re not feeling as content. Perhaps you’re even depressed, agitated and moody.

Whatever the foul emotions are about, the cause may be your marriage. We all have down periods or tumultuous times in our marriages, but when these down periods seem to stick and we’re not feeling happy but can’t figure out how to solve the problem, most likely the problem is the marriage.

9 Questions to Help You Decide if Your Marriage is Making You Unhappy

Do You Spend Most Of Your Time Apart?

Do you and your spouse do anything together? If you and your partner never do anything together, it’s a good sign your marriage isn’t making you happy if you don’t want to spend time with your partner or you find yourself wanting to go out with and be around others instead of your spouse.

Would You Rather Be Elsewhere When You Are Together?

If you do things together as a couple, you’re reluctant or don’t enjoy yourself.  Either one of you is half-heartedly into game night or rock climbing and you or your partner can sense that one of you is not having a good time so someone’s “good time out” becomes no one’s good time out.

Are You Less Than Happy With The Sex?

If you’re not physical or intimate, your marriage is not making you happy. Sex and intimacy are the two things that set your marriage apart from other relationships in your life. If this part of your marriage is non-existent or minimal, your unhappiness likely stems from the lack of an intimate bond in your marriage.

Or, when you two are physical or intimate, it’s strained and you find yourself unable to tell your spouse that you’re feeling disconnected and that perhaps you would like to “change up” in your sexual routine. Not feeling safe expressing your sexuality in marriage leads to unhappiness in marriage.

Do You Avoid Important Discussions?

Are you avoiding conversations and confrontations with your partner because you’re afraid of a fight? You’re not happy or secure in your marriage. Avoiding conflict means conflicts are never resolved. That doesn’t lead to happiness in a marriage.

Have You Turned To Someone Instead Of Your Spouse?

Are you sharing your innermost feelings with someone else and not your spouse? If you’re starting to turn to someone else for comfort not only are you in danger of having an emotional affair, but you are also not happy in your marriage. You should be sharing these things or most things with your spouse.

Worse, are you spending significant time with someone else and there’s a flirtatious and not just friendly aspect to the relationship? This is an emotional affair, period, and not the way to solve your marital problems and promote healthy marriage.

Are You Detached And Prefer Time Alone?

Have you found yourself requesting more space from your partner? You may not be happy with your marital state if time alone with yourself is more attractive than time with your spouse. We all need time to ourselves but when the thought of spending time with your spouse makes you want to escape your marriage has problems.

Do You Make Comparisons With Others?

Are you constantly comparing your marriage to others? Do you find yourself seeing the green grass in other marriages, and then bringing those views back to yours and wondering why your marriage falls short?

What looks good from the outside may not be pretty on the inside. All marriages have problems. When you start comparing your marriage to that of others your focus isn’t where it should be…on your marriage.

Do You Chronically Complain About Your Spouse?

Are your friends and loved ones getting used to you complaining about your spouse? Do you find yourself stuck in a negative rut when it comes to your spouse, feeling like they can do no right? You’re either unhappy in your marriage or, you’re focusing too much on your spouse’s negative traits and not enough on the positive.

Do You Sleep In Separate Rooms?

Separate rooms equal separate lives. Yes, some couples sleep separately due to comfort or health reasons, but if you two shared a bed and now suddenly you’re on the couch more often than not, you two are not in a happy and stable marriage. Things can get better of course if both of you are willing and able to put forth effort, but separate rooms are the doorway to separate lives forever.

If you answered yes to all of these questions, here are some suggested next steps to finding satisfaction in your marriage:

  • Individual counseling to determine if you’re struggling with your own personal issues outside of your marriage.
  • Marriage counseling if your partner is open to it.
  • Confide in a trusted family member or spiritual advisor you are comfortable with. One who can steer you in a positive direction. Maybe talking will help make next steps clearer.

Marriage isn’t easy, divorce is definitely not easy! Marriages have highs and lows and if the love is there you can make it through the rough patches together

The post Is Your Marriage Making You Unhappy? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support?

Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support?

What would you do? You’re legally married or, think you are but find out a previous marriage is still legal.

The post Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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