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**I felt the need to write this post because of the search-engine phrases that of late, have been leading people to my blog. I know that some people only seek marriage advice and guidance when they are going through a rough time in their own marriage, so I hope this post helps! :)**

If you accept that marriage is like a roller-coaster, then you accept that there will be both ups and downs, good times and bad times. The down periods or the bad times can also be seen as difficult or challenging times. (I prefer to use the word challenging though, because it sounds less negative than the word difficult, and also because it suggests that it can be something you can take on and overcome!)

What do I mean when I say challenging times? It’s those times when your marriage is not on cloud nine and neither are you and your spouse. In other words, the challenging times are when things are less than peachy in your relationship. It could be because of a disagreement, an argument or fight that started out over something trivial and then escalated into something bigger. During such times, all you can focus on is the unfairness of the situation and your feeling of being a victim. (I’m sure that your spouse feels the same way too. Remember, everyone has their own version of events!) Your auto-pilot response and reaction to your spouse might be to lash out in anger, cry (if you are a girl), grow mute and withdraw, or even run in the opposite direction. (I will admit to doing all four at some point in time, and can vouch that my husband has done the same too.) During these times, your thoughts may also be flooded with negative emotions about your spouse and relationship. On an extreme level, you may even start to question your decision to marry (your spouse). Snowball thinking takes place.

The interesting thing for me during these moments, is that although part of me was angry and wanted to “get back” at my husband for whatever happened, another part of me wanted to reconcile. Fighting with him and winning (or making him feel bad) was short-lived.  Despite what they say, it really isn’t fun sleeping with the enemy!! But alas, I was also at a loss for how to resolve things without escalating it further. I didn’t know what my next move should be; I was stuck. (And frustrated as a result of being stuck!)

So what did I do? I tried to find different things I could do to defuse the situation.  I tried talking to him and if that didn’t work, I tried writing a letter. If those two didn’t work, I tried affection. I’m talking about simply holding his hand, or touching his feet with mine at night–little signs to show him I wanted to end this. My efforts didn’t always pan out as I’d hoped. Sometimes I’d get no response. Other times I got less than a desirable response, which made me want to revert back to “getting even”, but I refrained!! I just kept trying different things until I got somewhere.  (I will admit that I did get annoyed at times that I was the one who was making all the effort and had to do all the leg-work, but such thinking will get you nowhere–a great topic I will leave for another post!)

If you are going through a tough time in your own relationship, firstly remember that you are not alone. Every couple at some point in their relationship goes through this. The reasons and intensity of it may vary, but the end result is always the same. Hurt, anger, confusion, disappointment and eventual sadness. (By the way, looking at pictures of your couple friends on Facebook doesn’t help at this time and doesn’t indicate anything. You know such pictures are always happy, smiley, lovey-dovey pics–which couple posts pictures of themselves when they are angry with each other?? Exactly! So refrain from Facebook pictures–they just make you more sad!) Secondly, seek out whatever people, books and even prayer to help you get clarity on the situation. In other words, do something, anything to try to rectify the situation. Don’t allow feelings of anger and resentment to build up. Deal with mole hills before they become great big mountains.

The sucky part is that this will not always be an easy task. It may well be the most difficult thing you have had to deal with in your life (trust me, it can feel like that at times!), and it may not be the last time you deal with these issues either. (I know it sucks!) … Marriage is a committment to another person during the good times and bad times. Now remind yourself of that (over and over again if need be) during those less than ideal times.

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