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‘My wife and I are drifting apart … how do we save the marriage?’

‘My wife and I are drifting apart … how do we save the marriage?’

Kristen and Dan from Orlando have been married for eight years, but for the past two they’ve been experiencing major communication issues. They fight over household chores and money and they’re not sure they can share anything anymore. They want to know if they can save the marriage.

My advice:

Kristen and Dan, things should never have escalated to this point. Communication issues are tearing your marriage apart! A refusal to share can lead to frustration, fatigue, and in this case, it’s led your marriage to the brink. So how did things get here?

It sounds like that what’s frustrating you, Kristen, is that your desire to begin a family is not being met.  You can feel your biological clock ticking, but don’t feel comfortable starting a family until you feel that Dan is fully invested in your relationship.

Dan, you are unaware of how much this is frustrating her.  So when she comes down on you for not taking care of the dishes, forgetting the bills, or not mowing the lawn, you react by pulling away and acting distant. Kristen’s biological clock is ticking, and with it, her patience for dealing with this issue.

For us guys, we need to hear exactly what women want from us. We can’t assume we’ll just get what’s going on. Men need women to lay out their family goals in concrete, specific terms, or we’ll never really know what we can do to improve a bad situation.

Kristen, you need to clearly explain to Dan what you want right now, so that he can in turn communicate his commitment to building a family with you. To do this, write down what you want from each other in one-sentence bullet points, using concrete terms that can be understood outside of a purely emotional context. This way, you will be both forced to listen to one another and give each other the space needed to get at the root of your problems.

Issues like these are very common in marriages, and usually take root when one partner isn’t clearly articulating their frustrations with their spouse. Voicing desires in concrete terms is critical to maintaining a healthy, balanced relationship. For most couples, all it takes is a little communication to get things back on track.

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