What To Do If You Think Your Marriage is Toxic
We all know that marriage is easy at first. If you’ve been married for a few years, you also know that wedded bliss doesn’t last forever. It’s simply not the same as the years tick by!
A happy marriage takes work and it’s not always fun…but how do you tell the difference between a marriage that simply needs some attention, and one that’s become toxic over the years?
Of course that’s hard to say, since every couple is unique. But if you take a look at the steps below, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll discover the truth about your relationship and whether it’s really in trouble or if it merely needs some TLC.
First: What’s Ailing Your Marriage?
First, how bad is it, really? Are you fighting all the time? Do you suspect cheating? Are you bored? Or are you simply wondering why your marriage “feels different” lately?
Is is a cyber affair? Cyber affairs are generally defined as sharing intimate things with someone online. It can be secrets or it can be full blown cybersex or anything in between: it’s considered the makings of a cyber affair. Needless to say, if you’re involved in a cyber affair, your spouse is going to be pretty upset.
Not sure if your partner’s online activity is a cyber affair or not? Here’s a handy checklist, from the folks over at Psychology Today, where they’ve also assembled research on this sort of online behavior:
- the interaction takes place late at night
- the interaction involves a lot of “self disclosure”
- don’t let the non-physical nature of the cyber affair fool you: it’s still considered an affair
How Serious are Your Marriage Problems?
WebMD has this to say: a bad marriage can actually cause a toxicity level in your life that can become unhealthy if not fixed. They’ve even linked heart disease to negative relationships!
However, even couples with years of bad relations can mend things. Below you’ll see what to do and what not to do.
First, let’s take a look at why affairs happen… one of the most devastating results of a problematic marriage, and perhaps the biggest fear when you’re in a bad marriage.
What if There’s an Affair?
Most people don’t know this, but even happy couples sometimes have affairs. Why? Because the modern marriage lacks enough adventure and “newness” to keep the marriage fresh and healthy.
Not to worry too much, though, since surveys of cheaters indicate they don’t want to leave their marriages. That suggests there’s work to be done!
In fact, the idea here is that people cheat because they feel stifled in their marriage…not stifled to sleep with other people, but stifled to be who they want to be. Again: a little TLC in the marriage will go a long way towards a solution here.
Override Your Instincts & Skip Couples’ Therapy
Your friends and your instincts will urge you to get yourselves to a marriage counselor. It’s the accepted route to solving most of our modern problems. However, couples’ therapy or marriage counseling, whatever you call it, has unique aspects which make it a less effective treatment for many couples:
- marriage counseling is the most stressful type of work for many therapists
- marriage counseling is one of the biggest money makers for people in the industry
- very few professionals have been trained in how to counsel couples
- the end result is that many therapists hang out a shingle for marriage counseling without the desire or the training to benefit the couples who come to them for help
Here’s how the folks over at Infidelity Help Group said about couples’ therapy:
” Your mess is their pay check.” –
They suggest grilling your therapist, if you do decide to go that route, on success rates. Ask them how they deal with the idea of a manipulative cheater and how that person will continue manipulating right on through every therapy session as well. It’s even suggested that the manipulative cheater will use the therapist to convince the victim that he or she had a part in the cheating incident!
Please Don’t Do This Either!
Surveys of older happy couples unanimously reflect the idea that you can’t change someone. If you marry someone and hope to change their behavior, then you’ve got a lot of miserable years on your hands! Yes, people change over the years, but not because their spouse asked them to.
Try This Instead
There are two routes to fixing a marriage…neither of which involve seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. WebMD suggests the following tactics to mend a broken relationship:
- talk about your issues with your spouse
- make your feelings known
- become a good listener
- don’t blame
- show appreciation
- give it time
Then there’s The 7-Day Marriage Challenge. This is a simple four-step plan to improve your relationship and it goes like this:
- Daily Sex
- Daily Prayer
- Daily electronics-free conversation
- Daily positive-only conversation
So, what about your marriage? Do you feel there’s a little toxicity in your relationship? What do you think about these self-help tactics for patching things up?
This is Only a Taste…
Want to learn more? Click here to get a complete system for saving your marriage. It’s called the Save the Marriage System and it shows you in detail how to put everything you’ve read here into action.