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Getting to the Root of Problem Patterns

Sometimes it will be obvious that something is wrong in your marriage relationship, but as in too many cases you can't put your finger on what it is. If there are certain repeating patterns that have not changed or ever get resolved over time, that will be a sure sign that there's a problem somewhere within the structure. It may be repeated emotional disconnection, a pattern of arguments, or troublesome behaviors that go nowhere. All too often these patterns cause much pain and couples tend to avoid them wishing them to just go away. But avoidance is another attitude that can sink your marriage. Unaddressed, these patterns stay the same or all too often just get worse. Sadly a relationship can end because the mess finally gets unbearable from not knowing what has caused you to be where you are. And tragically all too often it takes a tragic circumstance to open eyes, but too late if a person has come to the point where they feel there is no hope. Couples who have a great marriage are the ones who became actively involved in the process of discovering and getting to the root of problem patterns. In troubled marriages where you come again to yet another disagreement, whether it be with parenting, finances, sex, in-laws or even petty I blame you times, things will quickly go downhill in a matter of seconds. You find yourself angry, or defensive, and you immediately disconnect from each other. The problem will never get solved, because you won't go back to it. In so many words, it gets swept under the rug and stays there where you continue to walk over it. This pattern tends to get repeated over and over again in the unhealthy marriage. If you do not deal with the underlying issue, you can be sure that you will at some point see it again, down the road. Dealing with unresolved emotional baggage is a major key to rescuing you love life. All the good intentions, date nights, and positive affirmations in the world won't get rid of an issue, if not addressed verbally through communication the negative patterns will continue until you face the problem and apply the solution. Here are a few things you can do that will guide you towards making your marriage fixable. TRUST: When one of you has trouble opening up and begin vulnerable, it gets in the way of your connection. Trust is necessary for closeness, as it requires the ability to let someone into a deep and fragile part of you. Unsolved trust issues lead to many problems, such as difficulty in emotional intimacy, and long periods of inexplicable silences. You can feel that your spouse is unsafe to talk to. If so there needs to be healing that comes from feeling secure with your partner. Don't cover up your true thoughts, but cautiously talk through them. Unfaithfulness is a sure area where you can lose all trust. Building that trust back can only come when your marital bond has met with reconnecting to each other under a God healing connection. Trusting in your partner is so vital. RESCUING: Sometimes a spouse will enable bad behavior and create bad attitudes in other people by rescuing their partner from the results of their bad behavior instead of confronting the issues leading to the behavior itself. This is the inability to distinguish love from rescue. It's a tendency of being over-responsible for your spouse, or to have the inability to cope with the disappointment in your spouse. A marriage with a rescuing partner will often manifest repeated patterns that include one mate's persistent acting-out issues or alienation of love. One mate apologizes for the other's behavior, and takes responsibility and feels ownership for the other's selfish attitudes. PASSIVITY: A passive person waits when initiative is required. They will avoid approaching their partner, waiting instead for their partner to approach. A passive person will avoid conflicts, thinking they will just go away. This will cause a marriage to have a recurring pattern of emotional distance, with one partner always chasing the other to get love and connection, or feeling they have to solve all the problems in the marriage. LACK OF INTREGATION: This refers to the ability to see others as both good and bad. Spouses who are not integrated will often be unable to appreciate their mate's good points. You then judge your mate as being either great or horrible. This could make you have a long-term perception of your spouse as a bad and possibly mean person. Marriages with this problem will often exhibit unresolved conflicts, intense emotions, and sometimes one spouse using others to take sides with them. It's not good when this happens. You not only spoil yourself, but often get affirmations of your own likings to justify your feelings. It may seem hard to address issues that repeatedly divide you, but be of good cheer and be assured that finding relief will be a welcomed friend. You will be glad that finally you are not avoiding something you both knew was creating distance in your marriage. Instead of retreating, face the issues head-on, and get ready to be back to your loving emotional connection. Vital points: Agree that you both want to look at the patterns that you see between each other with neither blaming the other. Identify the patterns in your marriage. Realize your contribution to the (bad) patterns. Ask your spouse to pinpoint things you may be doing to hurt them, and most of all be humble and listen. Diagnose your real sickness so you can treat it. And be gracious and forgiving with each other. Marriages that succeed are marked by how each spouse is more concerned about how his own issues affect the marriage than what the spouse's issues are. This is a tough one because a lot of time we see the selfishness in others, but clearly not in ourselves. By being humble you will find there is no limit to what a marriage that takes this approach can accomplish. Work on your issues with love, communication, and positive attitudes. Ask your spouse what you can do. Ask if you repeat certain behavior. Pray about it and seek out those that have wisdom regarding the subject. Help comes in many forms. As your pattern of withdrawal, anger, distance, or anxiety goes away, it shows you are improving your issues. If the pattern is not going away, either you are addressing the wrong cause or one of you is disengaging from the process. Remember no marriage is perfect. You will both continue to make mistakes and slip up in your attempts to take a great relationship. Life keeps dealing out problems - it's how you address them that makes for a good marriage or a bad one. You can go a long way toward safety, closeness, and intimacy when you root out the problems underlying the repeated patterns in your marriage. When you resolve the issue, you should see great change and progress (My thoughts with Rescue Your Love Life by Townsend and Cloud). Sherry

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