We know that sometimes those vows don’t feel like they stuck very well, you might feel like they were an overpromise, unachievable, or even impossible.
Not to worry! We have six of our best tips to equip you both to make it through this season even stronger than before.
“A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.” – Pearl Buck
1. Make Getting Along the Goal
If you both agree that disagreeing isn’t serving your relationship well, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your relationship goals during this rocky patch in your love story. You two have grown and changed since you first said those special vows.
If all you seem to do these days is argue, make a new vow to each other to always try to end a disagreement with an open mind and heart. This is also a great foundation for evaluating if there are any unnecessary arguments happening that are causing you both unneeded distress and division.
2. Spend Intentional Time Pursuing Each Other Again
Pursuing your partner in marriage looks a lot like it did back when you were dating.
When was the last time you told your spouse how much they meant to you? Or even looked into their eyes deeply to share with them the truest, “I love you”?
Pursuit can look like a lot of different things – it can look like a day trip to your favorite place, dinner at your favorite restaurant, or maybe a date night in.
Maybe you should budget time to pour into your partner? By subscribing to a date night box, you can have a date night every month from the comfort of your own home.
Or you can take your date nights outside! Did you both love adventuring as a dating couple? Now is the time to get nostalgic if you can!
Take a moment to pause here, remember your younger selves, and remember why you both said: “I do”!
3. Give them the Benefit of the Doubt
How many times have you jumped to conclusions and snipped at your spouse for something that you misinterpreted? Too many times to count at this point, right?
Pride and impatience breed discontentment. Instead of entering into a conversation with your spouse with anger, choose patience instead.
Conversations do not need to escalate to full-blown arguments if you both have chosen to make getting along your goal! Take a breath – catching your partner off guard with sharp remarks or trying to always get the last word in will not be fruitful for your relationship.
Your spouse will be much more receptive to talking through things with you if you choose to talk through your concerns when it’s a good time for both of you. If you respect their time, energy, and emotions by being responsible for your own emotions, you will both be better off.
4. Use I and WHY Statements
Did your spouse say something that hurt your feelings? Did they do something that offended you or was not received well by you?
There are healthy tactics to bring these things up without declaring war on the other. Here is one of our favorites – using an “I” statement instead of “you”. Let us explain.
Using an “I” and “WHY” statement allows you to hold responsibility for your emotions and explain your point of view from a responsible perspective.
Example: “I was hurt by the way you said that because I have expressed to you in the past how that made me feel unloved.”
A tactic like this is much better received compared to the same conversation that is started like this: “Why do you always say that, did you not hear me the last time I said not to do that? Do you even listen to me?”.
See the difference between the two? If you explain how you are feeling, you are much more likely to get your point across.
5. Check Your Expectations
Are your expectations too high? Most of us at one point or another in a relationship realize we may have set the bar too high. We are all only human, right?
Take a look at the things that are upsetting you in your relationship currently. Now, are those things realistic things to be upset about? Or are these things upsetting you out of anyone’s control?
Are they outrageous expectations for anyone to meet? If you said yes to any of these things, maybe it is time to lower the bar a little and extend some grace to your partner.
Extra points if you apologize to your partner for expecting too much from them, and tell them that you love them!
6. Meet your Spouse’s Most Important Emotional Needs
We all have different love languages. One of the most difficult concepts is giving and receiving love how others need love to be given and received. What are your partner’s love languages?
Read more here on The 5 Love Languages®. The more you push yourself to love your partner the way they need to be loved, the better your relationship will be.
It is hard work, but don’t let that stop you from rebuilding that firm foundation in your relationship.
You’ve heard it before, marriage isn’t easy. Just because it may not always be easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it!
If you both remember how his love story started, you can work together to make it through this tough time. Be encouraged because flexing your communication muscles will only make your relationship stronger.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.