One definition of relationship success is having different problems today than you had last year. How do you fix marriage problems you’ve had for years?
Here’s what Darlene says:
“We’re being investigated for the second time by the state child protection services. One of my kids’ therapist filed a report, because he mentioned how Daddy gets mad, spanks, yells, etc… so now we are being investigated. Six years ago, my husband was found to be abusive and I was found to be neglectful, because I did not do enough about it. I tried, I really did. But it wasn’t enough. I am scared I am going to lose my kids. I also don’t want my kids to lose their father. I don’t know what to do. My husband was forced to go to anger management class, but now six years later we have the same marriage problems. I suggested marriage counseling, but he will only go to a Christian counselor. Our health insurance states that we have to go to someone within their network of providers. I finally found a Christian counselor, but now my husband has excuses for not going. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am so scared, and I could lose everything. I have no one to talk to, no one that seems to understand.” – from How to Know if Divorce is the Best Decision.
If you’ve had the same marriage problems for years, you and your spouse may be co-dependent. Read Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. Codependency is the pattern of trying to control or change someone who repeatedly makes trouble for themselves and others, and who often manipulates and controls others.
Fixing Marriage Problems You’ve Had for Years
The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can live with your marriage the way it is right now. If you can’t, then you have to either start fixing your marriage, or start leaving it.
Ask him if he’s willing to try to rebuild your relationship
Darlene’s husband will not go to counseling, and will not learn how to deal with his anger in healthy ways. He keeps getting reported to Child Protective Services, and he’s not interested in fixing their marriage. Is he willing to try anything at all to fix their marriage? Not if he’s caught up in his own world of anger, selfishness, and narcissism. If he was going to change, he would’ve changed six years ago when he went to anger management classes. Is your spouse willing to try one or two new things to fix the marriage problems you’ve had for years? Are you willing to try new things? You can’t fix your marriage until you start trying to solve your problems.
Try not to catastrophize – you WON’T lose everything
When we bought our new house, my mother-in-law was worried we’d “lose everything.” It’s a very scary thought – and thoughts like that can keep you paralyzed, afraid, and in the same rut for the rest of your life! If you cling to the fear of losing everything, of the worst case scenario, the pain and heartache of things not working out the way you want…then you’ll stay trapped in the helplessness and darkness that you created for yourself.
If you want to fix marriage problems you’ve had for years, you need to try what you haven’t tried in the past.
Instead of thinking you’ll lose your marriage, husband, kids, house, dog, job, etc – start focusing on what you will GAIN when you work towards fixing your marriage problems. Maybe you will lose your husband, but you’ll gain independence and a fresh start. Maybe you will leave your relationship, but you’ll gain freedom from having to fix the marriage problems you’ve been struggling with for years!
Get ready to do the work
Fixing marriage problems you’ve had for years may involve in-depth marriage counseling, alternative marriage coaching, or a more hands-off approach. It depends on where you want your life and marriage to go, and how willing you are to work on fixing your marriage.
Even if you accept the signs that your marriage is over, you still have your work cut out for you. You need to figure out how to support yourself, where you will live, how to help your kids cope with the separation and divorce, etc.
Whether you want to fix your marriage or leave your spouse, you have to be prepared for a lot of emotional and practical work in the short term…but freeing yourself from an unhappy, unhealthy relationship will be worth it in the long run!
If you don’t know if your marriage problems will ever be fixed, read 5 Best Ways to Get Good Relationship Advice.
What do you think – can you fix marriage problems you’ve had for years? Your comments are welcome, but I can’t give advice.