Your relationship feels busy, rushed and always on the backburner these days. Why?
Things are not the same between you and your husband. He is upset with you, and you can't quite seem to pin down the source of his hurt.
Below are three things you can recognize in your own relationship that show you are putting the needs of everyone else before your husband's, thus hurting your relationship:
1. Day-to-day things become a chore to talk about
Daily conversations turn into dreaded encounters.
Things just aren't the same as they used to be, tedious household chores take a toll on your attitude, your grocery list is compiling, your laundry is still in the dryer, your child's inability to sweep up crumbs after they eat annoys you to no end and their desire to watch the Disney Channel on the loudest setting is threatening to make your ears bleed.
You simply have had it up to your wit's end, and by the time your husband comes home from work and is ready to talk about his day, you have already had enough. He comes to you with a work story ready to spill off the tip of his tongue and you either shoo him away saying it can wait till later, or you allow him to speak and not really listen to what he is saying. You are just going through the motions again.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Do not allow stress and impatience to leak into you and your spouse's link of daily communication. Listen to your husband's day-to-day activities and thoughts. Take the time to fully appreciate his points of view and allow yourself to be fully present in his life.
In turn, talk about your day with him. If it was stressful, let him know. Allow him to feel and experience your day with you, it will help create a common knowledge thread between the two of you.
Diane Sollee, founder and director of Smart Marriages and the Coalition for Marriage, described the importance of listening in a marriage in this one sentence: "The most important marriage skill is listening to your partner in a way that they can't possibly doubt that you love them."
2. You know your kids' schedule but can't remember your husband's favorite meal
Your kids have become more important than your marriage.
Your kids are your whole world; you would do everything and anything for them. You make spaghetti because you know it is your son's favorite meal and you drive to the park every night because you know your daughter loves to swing. You sacrifice, plan and participate in actions that are constantly serving the needs of your kids.
Now you are probably asking why this is such a bad thing. It's not in theory, but research has found parents that devote more time to their kids before their marriage experience more turbulence in their relationship and use their kids as a distraction from discussing serious marital problems.
"Families centered on children create anxious, exhausted parents and demanding, entitled children. We parents today are too quick to sacrifice our lives and our marriages for our kids," said David Code, a family therapist and author of "To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First." "Most of us have created child-centered families, where our children hold priority over our time, energy and attention. But as we break our backs for our kids, our marriage and self-fulfillment go out the window while our kids become more demanding and dissatisfied."
Find time to date again.
Co-authors, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, and Utah State University professor Jeffrey Dew, published "The Date Night Opportunity," and discussed four positive contributions dating your spouse can provide to your marriage.
Date night creates a set time used to deepen understanding of one another and provides a space to communicate important issues otherwise not commonly addressed.
Date night becomes a youthful engagement that brings out joy for the both of you.
Date night can rekindle a romantic spark once lost.
Date night can strengthen your commitment to one another.
Recommit to finding a happy balance between being a wife and a mother.
3. Discussing or comparing?
You are always looking for ways to be like that "one couple."
Does your everyday fights center around the same question: why?
Why do you not take out the trash without me asking?
Why do you not take your kids on bike rides like John does?
Why don't we go hiking as a family every weekend?
Why am I always the one making plans?
Why can't we go out on Friday nights like Blake and Heidi?
Why are we fighting?
Why? Why? Why?
It is a tricky little word that spills into marriage conversations like little drops of poison slowly taking its full effect and killing communication links.