Marriage is commonly defined as a formal union and social and legal contract between two people that unite their lives legally, economically and emotionally. At first, couples may focus on the important building blocks of a healthy and successful marriage. As the relationship continues and time passes, they begin to notice that the relationship lacks the connectedness/closeness that the couple had at the beginning. Stuff and things and events get in the way of staying close to your partner.
When we allow accumulated things to take the place of genuine caring for each other, the marriage begins to take a backseat to houses, cars, vacations, etc.. All too often this leads to a partner questioning what is their purpose for being in the relationship. Then divorce begins to be a topic of discussion. Sometimes when couples divorce and attempt to begin a life with a new partner, they question whether divorce was the best answer. Note: The grass is usually not greener on the other side unless there is a septic tank under it.
If the couple decides to reconnect, they will need to discuss their new contract. Remember – the original marriage contract was nullified by the divorce. It is important to discuss expectations/boundaries in all areas when the couple negotiates a new contract.
Some things to consider when you reconnect (this contract may not be called marriage–call it what works for you):
- Do I love this person? Am I willing to make a commitment with this person? What do I think and feel about this person? Am I making this new contract out of convenience or am I willing to commit time and energy to this relationship?
- Sexual faithfulness is considered important for many couples. Discuss this part of your contract and clarify if you both agree. Remember: Sexual faithfulness requires self-discipline and an awareness of the consequences.
- Humility/sincerity is important in a healthy relationship. Holding an attitude of superiority/control over your partner will bring resentment and prevent your relationship from moving forward in an honest and respectful manner. Remember: We all make mistakes and we can all make amends/apologies. Consider the things your partner does for you and vice versa.
- Patience and forgiveness are essential in a caring relationship. Again, we all make mistakes and if we are willing, we will make amends. Successful partners will learn and show patience and forgiveness to their partner. Keep your discussions in the present time and avoid bringing up past errors in an effort to hold your partner hostage. This is being said with the understanding that the offending partner will correct the hurtful behavior and will not repeat it.
- Time is a required investment to have a successful relationship; intentional and quality time together. If possible, set aside time each day for you and your spouse. Some days it may be only a brief period of time. Consider “dating” your partner.
- Honesty and trust are the foundation for everything in a successful partnership. When the original marriage was rocky/difficult and the boundaries were not clear, the trust will take time to establish in the reconnecting. Trust is built by having guidelines/agreements and following through with what you agree to do. Building and rebuilding trust requires a great deal of honesty. Make the agreement with your partner and do the work required to be honest and trust will be rebuilt.
- Communication is a building block for any relationship. Of course you will discuss the every day tasks. Also, have an honest and clear discussion about finances/money and make an arrangement that is satisfactory to both parties. Remember to save some time to “just visit.” Talk about your hopes, dreams, fears and whatever is important to you and then listen to your partner.
- Selflessness/generosity will improve the couple’s sense of connectedness. Many marriages are broken by selfishness. Frequently a couple will blame it on finances, lack of commitment, etc.. Being selfish is being committed only to self and showing little patience and caring for your partner. Learn to value your relationship. A successful and healthy relationship is valuable.
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