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Marital setback? You are not alone

Flowers on a table

As much as we may try to avoid allowing personal issues to affect our work, issues in our personal lives will almost definitely have an impact on our professional capabilities. With marriages and relationships being such an important aspect of our lives – it’s equally as important to work through the setbacks you may encounter in a positive way.

Remember, it happens to everyone

Every relationship has its setbacks. I have had mine and I am sure you have had yours. I really don’t understand how couples who profess to “never have a cross word” do it!

According to Co-Op Legal services, divorce enquires during lockdown have increased by 40%, builders are being inundated with requests to convert garages into home offices as couples are driving each other bonkers and even those who say they never argue are tutting a lot louder these days.

You may wonder why an executive coach is diving into the precarious area of marriage guidance, but as we know work performance is highly impacted by our happiness and I know that when your life partner and you are happy, your workload will be too!

Over the years I have been amazed at the simple things that me or my clients have forgotten to do when a relationship is going through setback. We can be so focused on getting the last word in or selectively attending to everything that proves us right, that before we know it, we are heading down a dark spiral that is hard to come back from.

Those three little words

Our 18-year-old son was just two when our marriage was going through setback. I remember thinking I would have to be able to say to him if we didn’t work out that his Dad and I really tried and so we delved into the marriage guidance counsellor list in the Yellow Pages. I remember thinking “OMG, we really must be bad if we need that!” Our parents were both happily married and no one around us talked about marriage problems so we assumed we were the only ones having any. In my years of coaching, I have learned that we weren’t alone and during this pandemic now more than ever, we all need to be sure to do our best where relationships are concerned.

Many clients who are struggling in their relationships tell me they assume their partner knows they love them, without having to ‘spell it out’. In my experience, saying these three words make a world of difference. Yes, actions are more important than words but assuming your partner knows you are still in love with them when they haven’t heard you tell them since 1998 is a big ask.

Remember what brought you together

During COVID, even if your family is like The Waltons, many couples have not had CFT (Child Free Time) in donkey’s years. We often forget why we fell in love in the first place and it is so important to remember. Couples who revolve around their children suffer more with empty nest syndrome when university beckons. You owe it to the couple you were when you first met to make the effort and take time out for yourselves. I remember thinking that our marriage is like a flower bed, when newly planted it is bright and perky but it needs continually weeding (open conversations) watering and feeding (making an effort) in order to keep it alive and well. Book regular date nights – even in lockdown we banned our children from the garden one night! Go for walks together, book a weekend away once in a while, anything to keep you bright and perky!!

Do better to feel better

When we are annoyed by someone, or think we are in the wrong relationship, often what we see and do reflects that. We notice everything that proves us right and don’t stop to notice otherwise. Actually, what we do affects how we think and feel according to cognitive behaviour specialists. The act of going to buy a bunch of flowers for example for someone who is annoying you will automatically make you feel more romantic towards them. Giving them the flowers and seeing their reaction will encourage warmth and well-being. Do better in order to feel better!

As you know, I am not a marriage guidance counsellor, but I do know that when we are happy, we perform well and our families and careers thrive. There is a reason some couples refer to their partner as their “other half” and so it is natural that if that part is suffering, the rest of you will be too. If you feel like either half of you needs some attention, then please hit “Bounce Back” below and book a chat with me.