Vol 2, No. 7 May 2012

...A monthly newsletter designed to help make your marriage great. Each issue contains articles, tips and more.

You’re Not the Man (Woman) I Married

by Lynn M. Griesemer

     Fifteen years into their marriage, Ellen and Josh’s world is about to come undone.  Ellen happily gave up her budding career as a Public Relations Manager to raise two children.  She thought everything was fine until her husband “changed” on her.  While Ellen has been heavily involved in her daughters school activities, Josh found great meaning in his Men’s Bible Study Group.

     Josh has demanded that Ellen be more “submissive.”  Ellen is befuddled:  “He’s not the man I married.”  The couple has recently sought counseling, but has not come to terms with the changes taking place in their relationship.  Counseling hasn’t helped and Ellen believes that divorce is the best option, given a husband who insists on a role that Ellen never signed up for.

   Unbeknownst to Ellen and Josh, the couple had been slowly, and subtly drifting apart.  The married team that was once solid and unbreakable transitioned healthily into a family team when the children were young.  Over time, the husband and wife chose to pursue outside interests which became a main focal point.  At the same time, they did not nurture or invest in their relationship.  This is very common, as the demands of work, life and family increase.  The drifting apart seems to go unnoticed.

     This is a fictional example, but elements of this story are not uncommon.

     Outside interests are not detrimental unless they replace or interfere with couple or family time.  Couples and families need to invest in fun, positive activities in order to thrive and they need to remember to travel together, along their unique relationship path, with the same values.  Research indicates that small vacations and short periods of time spent together are better for the long term than one or two big vacations per year.   Intimacy, mutual respect, cooperation and fostering good feelings occur in families where people interact with each other with some regularity.  “You get what you give” is a common theme in Gerald Patterson and Marion Forgatch’s book Parents and Adolescents Living Together: Part I: The Basics (2005).

     “Change is inevitable.”  We hear this phrase often.  We need to go with the flow of change and adapt as needed.  We also need to enter relationships with a clear and complete understanding of who we are and who our partner is.  We need to acknowledge that in some ways, our partner (as well as self) is not who we married, but hopefully, someone “better” than who we married – someone who has improved as the result of our union.

Lynn M. Griesemer is a Marriage Coach and has been happily married for over 25 years. She helps struggling marriages improve and good marriages become great. www.marriagecoachlynn.com.

Listen to internet radio with Marriagecoachlynn on Blog Talk Radio Marriage Coach Lynn

Promote Your Page Too
Follow MarriageCoachLn on Twitter

Give your spouse space to toss around his or her ideas for personal improvement even if you think you “KNOW" what might be best for him or her.  Improvements almost always come from an internal light bulb going off and then action taken toward betterment.  Too often, spouses want to tell, show or demand that their partner improve.  When we “own” it or discover it ourselves, we are more likely to succeed.

Picture Couples Corner

Mary and Kim Siever were married on  May 5, 1995, are the parents of five children, and reside in Lethbridge, Alberta.  Mary had a lot to say about lifelong, fulfilling marriage.  Here is a brief summary.    “Right from the beginning, both of us were committed to making our marriage work. Our marriage is eternal, according to our spiritual and religious beliefs, but as well, our personal conviction.”

“Marriage isn't something that anyone should step into lightly, or with the idea that it could fail. That hasn't been an option for either of us. We not only love each other deeply and with dedication, but we see our marriage as something to be worked on together”.

     Mary believes that the root of conflict in any relationship is selfishness.  “This is especially the case in marriage. When either companion is thinking only of his or her own satisfaction, contentment or happiness, and not that of the other, the marriage is at risk. This doesn't mean completely giving up personal desires or needs, but it means taking into consideration the relationship as a whole and not only how it affects oneself.”

     “We work together always, and see the big picture. Trust and dedication to each other is key. Kim completely respects and honours me, and I do the same for him. I have been so blessed to have a husband who sees me as his equal and as his companion. We don't have to agree on every issue to still respect the other's point of view. This was also key when we decided to get married. Some little issues aren't a big deal, such as how to fold laundry or favourite restaurants to eat at. It's important long term (and short term) plans that can make a difference in one's marriage. “

    “Mary and Kim understand that it is important to back away and give your partner space when he or she needs to work through some issues.  Oftentimes, one partner might like to 'micromanage' or 'control' or seek perfection, or think he or she can help the other spouse along, but we  need to let things unfold on their own terms, in their own time.”

      “It is important to have a shared faith and a shared vision. Knowing what each companion wants before embarking on marriage can really help to cement the future.”

Quotes: When we are trying to accept our spouse (and ourselves for that matter!), we need to work on patience. Here are some quotes on patience:

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
- Arnold H. Glasgow

Patience is passion tamed.   - Lyman Abbott

Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.       - Eknath Easwaran


Nurture your marriage and invest in resources, conferences, weekend retreats, therapy or coaching as a way to deepen your understanding of yourself and your relationship. Some people spend 15 minutes a day with prayer, meditation or spiritual reading.  How about 15 minutes per day on marital reading?! Professional development is one’s career is important and so too is your marriage.   Please add “Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days” to your personal library.  You won’t be disappointed!


Here’s what others are saying about the book:

“You have provided a lot of practical advice and exercises that should help the reader. If I had to sum it up in one word, 'communicate' would be my choice. Much of the advice and many of the exercises help the two partners to rekindle communication with one another.” – P.W., Annandale, VA

Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days it is very informative, friendly and positive. What I like is that it gives positive reinforcement. What you are doing is great. I am thankful for people (like yourself), expressing and living their lives about what they are passionate about.” – F.A., Chantilly, VA.

© 2012 Lynn M. Griesemer

To ensure you receive our montly newsletter, make sure you add noreply@marriagecoachlynn.com to your address book. If you prefer not to receive future email from MarriageCoachLynn.com, please unsubscribe here.