Some of you may be thinking "why should I be the one to work on my marriage, when my spouse doesn't even try?" The answer is, simply, that
No matter how much you might think you can control others, you can only control your own responses and reactions. A lot of dissatisfaction, stress, frustration, and even anger comes when you are constantly trying to change something you cannot control. Let's imagine that your spouse is 95% of the problem, that still makes you 5%. You can choose to figure out what your part of the problem is and work on those issues. Ask your spouse to write a list of things you do that drive them crazy, or things you could do to improve the relationship. Although this list may piss you off, try to not let it! Tell yourself ahead of time that no matter what they write, you will not show anger in front of them, or have resentment towards them for feeling this way. Maybe you shouldn't even read it in front of them. You shouldn't get mad at your spouse for revealing how they really feel.
Now you can take a good look at yourself and honestly seek to find out if these really are problems. We all know that little things build up and can lead to full blown fights. If it irritates your spouse that you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle instead of the bottom, this is something that you can easily remedy! Get your own dang toothpaste! Or get one of those toothpaste squeezing devices. Anyway, you get the point.
Then you can give yourself time to work on the big things. The first thing is acceptance. "Wow! I really DO nag at him ALL the time!" Now that you are aware, you can start to work on it. If you focus on working to improve your own faults in the marriage, you will be slightly distracted from your spouses faults and, hopefully, your spouse will reciprocate! Either your relationship will improve because they'll be more happy, or maybe they'll ask for you to write a list for them to work on as well! But,
you'll know that you did all you could by working on the thing that you can control - yourself! You CAN choose to accept something as it is in your relationship. They say that happiness is a state of mind. A few months ago, I asked Chad if he would change that cat litter. He said "yes" then proceeded to not change the cat litter. It was about ten minutes later that I ended up changing the litter myself. But I wasn't upset, angry, or frustrated about it because
I thought about being mad, but then I revisited the situation. Why did I ask Chad to change the litter in the first place? It was because I was sitting on the couch feeding Lucas, when I happened to notice Chloe coming from the area where the litter box is. I remembered that I hadn't changed the litter the day before. Then Chad was walking past and I asked him to do it because he was there, I was doing something, and it was on my mind right that second. Sure, he could have just scooped the litter, and I'm sure he would have if I had asked him a second time, but I know that he hates to scoop the litter. It's my "job" because I don't mind and they really are my cats. He scooped the litter for me through both of my pregnancies and he still scoops it before he takes the trash out.
Because he loves me. Why do we have two cats in the first place? Because he loves me. I could not be mad at him at all for this. I was done feeding Lucas so I changed the litter myself. No big deal. He saw me and said "Awe babe, I'm sorry I forgot, I could have done it." End of situation. But I realized that I had made a pivotal decision in coming to peace with the situation instead of nagging or lashing out at him. Next time you're tempted to be upset about something your spouse did or didn't do, stop and examine the situation surrounding the event. You can chose your response to the situation! You might just realize that it really is not an issue to be flustered about. It might remind you of reasons your spouse loves you and you love him. You can also pray for an opening of eyes and a softening of heart, for both of you.
Work on stress management techniques, like breathing from your diaphragm. Make sure you're both getting enough sleep. You can diffuse essential oils in your home like Stress Away, Peace&Calming, Motivation, Acceptance, Joy, Hope, Forgiveness, etc. Look into doing a liver and small intestine cleanse and/or detox. Many professionals say that you harbor negative emotions in those locations. Try to say and think positive things about your spouse to him and others. Keep a journal of every time he does something nice or helpful so that you can look back on it when you're feeling frustrated. Another thing to look at is the "why". Why do these things frustrate me? Am I being reasonable? Also, you have to do something everyday for around two months before it becomes a habit. Don't give up too quickly! Or, as they say,
Even if you aren't having any "problems" in your marriage, prevention is key. Working on these things and asking your spouse these questions now could help you avoid problems in the future. So, next time you start to get irritated, remember to be aware of how you're feeling, ask yourself why you're feeling that way, and see if you can choose to respond a different way! Until then,