Can’t Relate to Spouse?

Can’t relate to your spouse? Time to reflect before the ties loosen!

Divorce rates are increasing alarmingly with more couples thinking it is easier to walk away than resolve or work through differences. There is a need for couples to start analyzing themselves about the positive contributions and stressors they contribute to the relationship with their spouse. Self analysis or introspection is a first step in working towards a better relation even before seeking professional help from external persons. Self reflection allows for course corrections in a non threatening manner.

How can this be done? It can be started if you as a person are willing to work at improving yourself constantly. This would mean that you start by accepting that there is scope for improvement within yourself and that you may not be perfect. This does not mean that you have to think of yourself negatively. If you, by nature, are a person who often looks for external factors or reasons as to why your progress is blocked, the process can be long drawn. The process of internal reflection allows you to identify and be aware of factors that are blocking growth and allows you to see which factors need to be changed and how. Remember, change starts from yourself!

What are some of the common barriers that contribute to a relational strain?

1. Your ability to empathize with your spouse. This requires an effort as empathy also depends on your emotional closeness with the other person, the number of years you have spent together, your understanding of the person, and the ability to accept a view point that may be different from your own.

2. Preparedness for intimacy in a relationship This is the extent to which you limit or extend your level of intimacy in terms of physical, psychological, emotional or sexual aspects. If you are a person with limitations in terms of “Only if I want” “Only if I see an advantage for me”, “Only if you give into my demands” etc, then there is a limited or less preparedness on your part for intimacy in a relationship. This does not mean that you give up all your wishes or dreams…but that you are open to give yourself fully to gain fully from the other person.

3. Anxiety as a personality component Anxiety can limit you ability to understand, empathize and be intimate with your spouse. Anxiety can self limit and become a strict boundary beyond which you may become unwilling to see the point. As anxiety will constrain you or cocoon you to see only from your perspective, it then limits your ability to see or accept an outside perspective. This can become a barrier to relate to your spouse

4. Intense Mood Fluctuations Inability to balance your reaction/response to your spouse, extremes of mood fluctuations, responses of overdoing or underdoing can be equally damaging. Over a period of time, this “unpredictability” can lead to more strain or indifference or stagnation in the relationship.

5. Seeing only the negative side of life As a baggage from a single status or from your own family off origin, there maybe a pessimistic attitude ” How ever much I try, I will fail, or I will not be happy etc” that can be extremely damaging to the relationship. Inability to see the positive or hopeful side of the present and future and stuck with the past can be a limiting factor in your relationship

6. Culture specific limitations Inability to accept that your spouse comes from a different family background and cultural background and needs time to understand/settle as part of your family, expecting an instant adjustment (spatial, emotional, social) can become a major friction.

These are some common factors that can ruin a good relationship (apart from specific factors in relation to a particular couple). Once identified as a problem, reflect further, then discuss with your spouse honestly your limitations or possibilities, see your spouse as an equal life partner, consider seeking professional help, discuss with a confiding friend who can give a nonjudgmental advise, and work on yourself. Moving out of the relationship should be the last option and not the first option to consider.

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