Combating the Marital Blahs

by Dr. Jay Lindsay

Is your marriage flat, stagnant… just plain dull?

All marriages go through times like this. However, if your marital blahs have lingered more than several weeks, pay attention.

Insight: Your marital blahs might be the symptom of something deeper… an erosion in your emotional connectedness.

By emotional connectedness, I mean your bond, the feelings of closeness that you both share.

If this erosion in your emotional connectedness is allowed to go unchecked, then the eventual result could be the loss of loving feelings and the breakdown of your relationship.

Insight: There are two common causes of the emotional disconnect that underlies most marital blahs.

Let me identify those causes for you now and provide you with some tips to help you overcome them. It’s time to combat your marital blahs!

Insight: First, the erosion in your emotional connectedness could be caused by neglect of your relationship.

Perhaps you two have become so busy that you’ve stopped attending to each other. As a result, you’ve lost your emotional connectedness and the marital blahs have set in.

Tip: To counter neglect, have a daily check-in time.

Carve out 20 minutes at the end of each day when you can check in with each other.

Inquire into what’s happened since you parted that morning: “Tell me about your day. What were the highs and lows? What were those like for you?”

This way of inquiring invites elaboration, unlike the typical question, “How was your day?” which can be answered in a word or two.

Don’t give advice. Rather, respond with supportive words and actions: “That sounds frustrating.” “Of course you’re mad. I’d be mad too.” “I’m here for you. We’re in this together.” Or simply stroke or hold your spouse. Attend to each other.

The more of these check-in times you have, the more you’ll reconnect.

Insight: Second, the erosion in your emotional connectedness could be caused by avoidance of a conflict issue.

There may be a difficult issue that the two of you have been steering clear of. You’re both afraid to bring it up. It’s come up before and it’s always led to a fight. So, you’ve been avoiding raising the issue.

You’ve been keeping the peace, but at a price: the loss of emotional connectedness.

You see, it’s hard to avoid an issue without at the same time avoiding each other. And when you avoid each other, you lose your closeness… and then the marital blahs can creep in.

Tip: To overcome avoidance, plan a “talk-time”.

Schedule a time to meet. For location, choose a neutral place like a coffee shop.

Get that issue out on the table where it can be dealt with. Listen. Hear each other out. Instead of reacting aggressively, respond empathically.

Ask each other: “What does this issue mean to you?” “What feelings does it bring up for you?” “What do you need from me?” “How can we create a solution that honors both of our feelings and needs?”

Let your inquiry aim be to understand rather than to persuade. As you open your hearts to each other, you’ll start to feel closer.

Then, you’ll be better able to work together to create a win-win solution. You can do it!

If your marriage has become listless, think about the insights above. Then, put the tips I’ve given you into action. Chances are you’ll reconnect emotionally and defeat your marital blahs.

For help combating the marital blahs, call me at 303-545-9828.

 

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Copyright © bouldermarriagecounseling.com | 2012

Master couples therapist and psychologist Dr. Jay Lindsay utilizes Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), one of the most researched and effective approaches to marital therapy. Based in Louisville, (near Boulder) Colorado, Dr. Lindsay is a marriage counselor who is sought after by couples from all across the country. He can be reached at 303-545-9828.