I’ve reached my mid-thirties and so many of my conversations seem to be about marriage struggles. I’m no expert but here are some insights gleaned from the 12 years of wonderful highs and miserable lows of our marriage….
- A decent one takes sacrifice, compromise, continued hard work and some serious resources. If yours is looking a bit sorry for itself, it might need some more attention or it might be time to call in professional help.
- Other people’s often look better. No-one knows the issues like the one who lives in it. If Bill and Betty have a really good looking one, they may have spent years of blood, sweat and tears investing in it. They might have just started and are yet to discover the dodgy bits. Or they might have massive problems with the foundations that they’re about to find out about.
- Different things bother different people. You might be quite happy to get the paint brush out once every 6 months, whereas Jim and Janet down the road like to give the walls a touch up 3 times a week. Just make sure you’re united in what you think. Whatever you do, if the painting’s not going well then see a painting therapist. No-one likes to have their walls left untended for too long and painting should be very enjoyable indeed. (Painting means sex if the analogy is lost on you).
- In renovation, things often get worse before they get better. Some beautiful old houses look amazing until you try to hang a new picture and the entire wall falls down. You might take up an old floor to discover woodworm has set in and an expert needs calling in. Don’t ignore a problem that needs fast attention. If you can’t sort it yourself then find someone to help.
- Set a REALISTIC budget. Make sure you save. Have a contingency. Be honest about it. Again, if you need a professional to come in then get help. It might just save the thing most precious to you.
- There will always be distractions. If you work too hard, focus too much on your kids, spend too much time at church or on your hobby then it will suffer. Regular attention, appreciation and enjoyment is vital for a happy one. Get distracted for too long and you’ll run into serious issues.
- If you can’t sort out the problems because you’re not in a good place – get some help. The other stuff should be able to wait if you are actively working towards getting yourself into a better place.
- Appreciate what you have. It might be a bit tired and in need of some attention but if the foundations are good then that’s what matters most. Don’t let what you think you should have steal the joy from what you do have.
- The hard work never, ever stops. Ever.
N.B. If we’re talking about houses, then by all means be a good friend/neighbour and go and help decorate someone else’s house. In marriage if you get your paint roller out in someone else’s house then you probably won’t be able to come home. Start giving your own marriage some attention instead.
For my UK readers, If you need a marriage overhaul then my husband and I highly recommend the The Marriage Course.
Seek advice from your GP if your struggling with, sex, mental health or domestic violence. Don’t suffer in silence.