One of the most common reasons given for marriage failures is that the spouses “drifted apart.” The truth is drifting comes very naturally. As William Doherty describes in his book Take Back Your Marriage, marriage is like launching a canoe in the Mississippi River ; if you don’t paddle, it goes south. And if two people are in the canoe, you have to both paddle.
As you’re floating along, chances are that one of you will become concerned about marital drift, he explains. One of you may comment on fewer long talks, less quality time together, or less sex. “For some couples, these complaints are a call to start paddling more vigorously. For other couples, the complaints lead to unpleasant arguments that lead to greater distance. But even when we are inspired to try harder, the extra work on our marriage tends to be short lived—sustained for days or weeks at best—and then we resume our slow drift south.”While this issue is not due to lack of love or good intentions, couples in this situation often lack a plan for taking back their marriage. Of the plethora of marriage books I have read and/or have on my shelves, Take Back Your Marriage is one of my top picks, because this situation is so very common. If this is your situation, realize this is normal, but solvable.
To keep your marriage from drifting, make time for it, and give it sustained effort. Remember, if you’re not paddling, you’re going south. Ask yourself these questions:
Couples may have issues with some of these, but that doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed. The key is to build on your strengths and to soften the impact of your weaknesses, says Doherty, especially times of stress. When marriage counseling is needed, select a qualified therapist that will help you fight for the marriage. “A good therapist, a brave therapist, will be the last one in the room willing to give up on a marriage,” says Doherty. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a counselor to delve into why you’re unhappy or to even recommend a separation or divorce. Choose carefully.
Do you need help finding a good therapist in San Diego? Send me an e-mail or call and I will give you a few therapists to try, Nancy@Dyvorce.com or (858) 863-3380.
Although we are a divorce mediation firm, we also have a service to help couples stay married–Marriage Mediation.