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DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional therapist or counselor. I am simply passing along advice that has worked for me in the past. I have been a part of four different family situations, some more successful than others. Maturity has helped me develop insights that totally escaped me in the earlier part of my life. I hope these can reach and teach those who can learn earlier than I did!
HOW TO BUILD JOY INTO A DULL LIFELESS MARRIAGE OR FAMILY
So often people around us seem unable to build joy in their lives. Ever wonder why? Ever notice how many women walk around your local grocery or discount store, wearing overstretched polyester knit pants and a sloppy t-shirt? They’re usually pushing a cart holding soda pop, chips, and a wailing, overtired toddler. She doesn’t seem to notice the wailing at all. If the dad is in the area, he usually doesn’t seem to connect with wife or child in any meaningful way.
Her focus is on neither the child nor the dad. Dad’s attention is on neither his wife nor his child. Yet these are the most important people in his life, in her life, and definitely in the child’s life. They chose each other, but apparently take no joy in their relationships at all.
They must learn to focus on each other! Why? To make their lives simpler and happier.
WHY THESE THINGS NEED TO CHANGE IN THESE RELATIONSHIPS
These are the people they choose to live with. Living with a person or persons who do not treat you with care and respect is extremely stressful. Stress can lead to a waterfall of poor physical and mental results. These effects include a lack of immunity against illness, feelings of depression, feelings of low self-worth, and a lack of energy.
These effects can become a vicious circle, since lack of immunity can lead to illness, which lowers immunity even more, and so on. Depression leads to illness and poor self-care which contributes to more depression and so continues the circle.
It’s well known that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, and many other illnesses are caused by or aggravated by stress. This cycle can be broken by each family member showing a loving concern for the others.
HOW TO SHOW A DIFFERENT KIND OF CARING FOR YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS
I’m not suggesting a fake romantic love. I’m talking about deliberately choosing to give your best behavior, your best concern for their wellbeing, and your deepest respect to your family members. You should be concerned for their well-being. You should respect them as a whole person. They are not an appendage to your person.
Being romantic is totally optional. Usually, unless one or more family members has been very abusive or has shown sociopathic or psychopathic traits, one member showing concern and respect will bring out similar responses from the other family members.
If the responses are not forthcoming, even after steady, continued concern and respect from one member, then counseling with a professional may be necessary.
You will not, however, have expended a great deal of money in the effort up to that point. If you have tried all you know to try, that is when you turn to the professional. It will be worth it if it ends up saving your marriage, though.
WHEN YOUR LIFE TOGETHER IMPROVES
How do you know if you’re getting anywhere with your efforts? The general home atmosphere is a great indicator. If it is more settled, with intermittent non-hurtful laughter, I would say you are doing well. Congratulate yourself (silently) and continue on.
Rocky situations may return from time to time. That’s when you double down with your concern and respect for others. One emotionally stable person can turn a bad, out-of-control situation into an unhappy situation that can be handled.
If not, professional counseling is always available.
ANOTHER DISCLAIMER AND A FUTURE POST
This post is addressed specifically to couples who have become tired and jaded regarding their relationship. Again, abuse is beyond the reach of this post and requires professional help.
I’ll be addressing specific areas for each member of a married couple to keep in mind in future blog posts. I hope this is helpful to you or others. If you have additional tips or pointers, please let us know about them in the comments.