Welcome to the 2021 DMK Marriage Workshop    

Marriage Saving Ideas  |  Tips  |  Stories  |  Resources

Marriage Saving Tip: Every spouse needs to feel more important than his/her spouse's friends, job, family, sports and hobbies.

Marriage Saving Tip: While each spouse should demonstrate strength, courage and determination in the world, it's okay to be vulnerable to each other.

 

It had been months since my husband and I were able to go out for an evening alone. I had a major catastrophe at work that caused me to take on a bunch of overtime, without extra pay.

My husband was starting to really show signs of disapproval with the current situation and was encouraging me to find a new position with the company or leave. I tried many times to explain to him why that just wasn't possible at the time, but he just wouldn't budge.

In the beginning it seemed like he was looking out for me, but as the months passed I began to feel like he was just griping about having extra chores at home. I felt pulled between home and work and despite my initial empathy for his situation at home, I began to feel resentful that he was upset about the extra burden of what I do all of the time at home. I missed my kids and normal work hours. The house was not cared for the way I wanted, but I refrained from any complaints.

By the end of the third month, my husband's complaints were followed up by my own disappointment in his unwillingness to be patient with my situation. Eventually, my hours went back to normal but our relationship seemed to suffer damage that continued to cause us problems. After 6 months, he still complained about my job like I was still working too much. My boss was frequently showing dismay that I wasn't working enough. Despite an interview with a competing company, I didn't have any offers for another equal paying position for another firm. My husband seemed to like that I contributed to the family income, but was no longer understanding of our shared responsibilities. It seemed like he held a grudge over my extra hours I dedicated months earlier.

My employer does pay more than the average firm with similar job types, so it wasn't easy to find something that could provide income that supports our same lifestyle.

We went to counseling and the first counselor wasn't a good fit for either of us. After a couple more months where things didn't get better we decided to go to a marriage workshop at our church. We weren't sure what a marriage workshop would entail, but we knew it couldn't hurt.

We were right. The workshop worked. It was less specific to the situation that I thought was in our way and more about getting to know each other again. There were couples, like us, that shared their situations with the group that made it easier for both of us to talk and empathize with each other's viewpoint. We made new friends and participated in group events on the weekends like trips to a local winery and "team building-like" events.

The whole thing seemed less like a group therapy and more like ways to discover improved communication skills and ways to discuss our feelings. As our communication improved we resolved my work situation together.

We talked about why my husband felt the way he did and reasons for my feelings. I realized I was allowing my situation with work to interfere with my love for him which isn't what I wanted at all. He told me that he disliked thinking that I was being taken advantage of at work and would rather change things at home so that I could start my own business.

The idea had never crossed my mind. But, as we cleared all our frustrations away, we were really able to understand each other, think clearly together and begin to see the possibilities. We finally began working together instead of being each other's adversaries when common problems occurred that many couples face in a long marriage.

After a year of being in business I can safely say it has been challenging and hopeful. I make less money and work extra hours on the weekends. But, I am on track to make more money in the coming years. As a small firm, I didn't expect to turn a profit the first year, but I have already done so and expecting to make more than my other job by year three. But, that's not the main success of my story.

I never could have gotten through the struggles of my first year in business had I not had such support and love from my husband. He has been there every step of the way which only goes on to prove that he meant what he said about the reasons why he was so frustrated when I worked so much for the other company. He and I have less income and both have worked hard to get my new business off the ground while turning a profit so soon. However, we have never been closer or happier.

Focus on each other not your differences

My advice to anyone who feels like their spouse is totally missing the point of what he/she is going through is to stop focusing so much on your differences and focus more on your commonality. Your common interests may have changed over the years and it helps to spend quality time with structured activities like provided in marriage workshops, retreats or group therapies that encourage better communication. Really listen to your spouse and empathize with each other. Don't be afraid to have differences of opinions without letting those differences affect your love for one another. Instead appreciate the good stuff more than you depreciate your marriage over the bad stuff!