Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10 Reasons My Marriage Failed

Yesterday, I wrote about my divorce. But today, I really had an urge to write about why my marriage failed before all of those terrible events from last year even started. 
    If you're married or in a long-term relationship, thinking things have grown stale, I hope you'll read this and make a change.

10 Reasons My Marriage Failed
 These are MY faults--I'm not talking about my ex. 
This list exists so that if I get married again, 
I can read it and hopefully prevent a similar situation from happening again.

1. I Stopped Trying 
    This is short and simple. Remember when you used to be romantic, buying cute things to wear on dates--or afterwards? Leaving notes in your hubby's car? Doing sweet things around the house just for him? Actually curling your hair?! Well, after I went through labor 5 times, this stopped. We were lucky to have a meal alone. I felt frumpy AND I just didn't make time.  I kept thinking, "So I'm gonna breastfeed, pull my straggly hair up and then try to be sexy?" Yeah right!  Well, I should have made the effort--and so should you.
 photo 3752d60b-0f20-4f25-9801-49ea3498ad77_zpsd68c9f32.jpg
Yep...you guessed it--an actually a pic of me in curlers. 
    This might sound silly to some people, especially if you've been married for over a decade, like I was. You might think, "But we'll always be together, why should I make that extra time?"  That leads me to the next point.... 

2. Becoming Overly Confident
    I loved my ex so much--and I knew he loved me--so I figured we'd always be together. Why exert that extra energy curling my hair and doing my makeup? Why leave him notes, when he already knew how much I cared? 
    No matter how much someone loves you or you love them, it's always nice to hear that they love you back.  I knew my mom loved me as a kid, but when she'd leave notes in my lunch, it would literally make my day brighter. I had something to hold onto all day, to read over and over. Someone cared about me! Wowser.
    Remind your significant other that THEY ARE LOVED. It's amazing how much this simple act of kindness can revolutionize a relationship. 

3. Over-worked
    Unfortunately, we all need money. But make sure your job isn't taking over your life. 
    My ex worked out of town and was only home a few days a month. That was rough, but what made it worse was that I had my own business and when he got home, I would oftentimes talk about my business, or work on the weekends while he watched the kids; this left no time for "us."
    Priorities... Is work more important than your relationship? If it is, you might end up divorced--by hey, at least you'll have a good job!  
    Seriously don't let work rule most aspects of your home life. If it isn't necessary, don't talk about it excessively with your spouse. And, take time with your spouse somehow regardless of opposing shifts, financial needs, or lack of interest. Reignite that flame. 
    Find similar interests, like the next point talks about.

4. Varied Interests
    It's great to have your own interests; in fact, this is vital to your own personal fulfillment and growth.  You can't be happy with someone else, unless you can be happy with your own "vents" and alone time.  But although it's great to have different interests, you also need similar interests.
    This in-and-of-itself can be work. My ex loved video games, I love writing. We should have taken time to do something we both enjoyed, like hiking or camping.
    Imagine these types of things as a wedge between you, or the glue that holds you together.
    There was a time when our similar interests were so in-sync, I could hardly wait to go hiking, or go to our favorite restaurant. But after time, those outings were replaced by our own interests, separate interests. 
    You get the point! Find your similar interests. And even branch out--who knows, you might enjoy their hobbies as well. 

5. When Hobbies Become Work
    Once you find a similar interest, don't do it so much it becomes stale.
    My ex and I are both musicians. Our greatest uniting interest was music.
 photo eccade_zpsb5395e40.jpg
My ex and me 2 years ago at a gig.

    But we played so well together, people started paying us to play gigs anywhere from Colorado to California. 
    I think it was really about 3 years ago, that music stopped being fun for me.  My ex and I would go to hotels, get ready for a gig, grab dinner--act smiley--and jam for hours.  But at the end, my ex's hands would be killing him, I felt dead on my feet.  We were exhausted. And to think, in previous years this would have been a rush!
    So don't just avoid overusing your hobbies, make sure you can find new hobbies when the old ones become monotonous.  There's nothing wrong with trying to add a little excitement to your marriage.
    Ideas?  Go to an exotic restaurant you'd never normally try.  Take an early morning, or evening hike. Rent some paddle boards and go to a nearby lake.  Check out a Ghost Hunt or Murder Mystery Play. Visit a duck pond and sit, feeding the ducks.  (I don't know about that last one....lol)  The point is, find something fun--out of the ordinary--and do it together with an open mind.

6. Don't Be a Jerk at the Same Time
    My grandma died several years ago, but I'll never forget what she told me when I first got married: Your marriage will survive if you're only a jerk one at a time.
    This is so true!  I'm a MEGA spitfire.  I can be as spicy as a scorpion pepper.  I love that line "fight means love in Italian"--well, I'm Italian.  BUT my ex could be a spitfire too.  We'd be yelling--at the top of our lungs.  Making up could be fun--but we would've never had to make up, if one of us would've stayed quiet and nodded, "Are you done?"
    If your significant other is angry, actually listen quietly. There's no reason to match volume.  

7. Grudges
    My ex and I both made very stupid choices early in our marriage--mostly because we were under 21 at the time.  I won't talk about his choices, but I know one of mine was always going to my mom or mother-in-law when I had marital problems. My ex was hurt--to say the least--that I'd tell them everything.  In our first two years of marriage, he was also hurt that I didn't seem to support his dreams.
    Well, we both held onto issues like this--for over twelve years!  I was still bringing up things from forever ago, unable to forget. I thought I'd forgiven him, but I've realized, I didn't really, until getting divorced and seeing how silly some of those things were.  I think he did the same thing!
    You can't have one foot firmly in the past, one in the present, and expect to walk into the future. If you love this person and want a healthy relationship, forgive, move past it, and grow. 

8. No Trust
    Both my ex and I would accuse each other of cheating ALL of the time. If you don't have evidence--concrete evidence--let it be.  We probably could've seen a counselor for this one, but I think it really became an issue because of #1 on this list--we stopped trying.     
    When both parties are making an effort, that validation will help strengthen trust.
    Now if you find out your spouse has been cheating, that's a whole new issue.  But if this is an invalid lack of trust, ask yourself, why you feel this way?  Is it a need for validation, or something deeper?  Do you crave more quality time with your spouse?  
    What is your love language?  Find out HERE.

9. Complacency With Words
    Both my ex and I began forgetting how important we were to each other. We wouldn't always speak the same way we had in the beginning. Both of us could say harsh things we'd NEVER forget. Our phone conversations became short and to the point. We didn't always say what mattered.
    I wish that once a year--or something--I would've written him a letter to tell him how much he meant to me.  If you read yesterday's post (HERE) you know he was in a serious motorcycle accident.  This really got me thinking: What would you tell your significant other if they were seriously injured? If they died, what do you wish you would've told them?  
    Consider writing that special someone a letter, to tell them how much they mean to you. You might be surprised with how much they'll appreciate it. 

10. No Quality Time
    One of my biggest Love Languages is Quality Time.  If you take the test I linked above (in point 8) you'll discover out the 5 different Love Languages.  Well, if you aren't getting your fill of your language, you won't be truly satisfied.  In the same way you aren't satisfied, your spouse probably isn't either.
    The point is, take time for your spouse/significant other. Show them you care.  You've both given so much to be together.  Do you really want that to grow stale? Is it worth throwing away, when you have the chance to put in some effort and make things phenomenal again?

Best of luck!
I hope my failures will help someone else attain romantic success! *smiling*
EC Stilson