Are you in a stormy marriage? How can you tell?
• Your husband tells you he’s in love with someone else.
• Your wife says she “loves you but isn’t in love with you.”
• You’re fighting all the time.
• You’re having financial problems.
• You’re separated.
• You’re a single parent, scared and lonely.
• You’re going through a divorce that you don’t want.
• Your problems are affecting your life at home, work, and with family and friends.
If this list sounds familiar to you, chances are that comfort is the last thing on your mind! You may feel like it’s an impossible luxury. In fact, it’s necessary to acquire strength, bolster your self-esteem, create authentic relationships and nurture the people you care about.
Finding Comfort In A Stormy Marriage
The Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions for the word comfort. This one comes closest to what is being discussed here: “Ease of body and mind.”
It takes courage to pay attention to your needs. When your life is unraveling around you, the temptation is to hide and lick your wounds or run headlong into the fray, attempting to fix the problem. The first may feel nurturing, the second empowering–at first. Before long, you are depressed or burned out–and in no shape for the battle of your life.
We all have a voice within. During the worst times in our lives, especially the kind of self-esteem shattering times that occur when your marriage is in trouble, that voice is anything but comforting.
So, how do we begin finding comfort?
The following is not exhaustive, but it is a beginning.
Look through the information, click on the links, read what interests you and listen to/feel what’s going on in your body. You don’t need to go through it all at one time. Let this be a safe haven to experiment with what works for you and encourages you to find new ways to comfort yourself.
Getting proper rest and nutrition is vitally important. Even if you were healthy before your marriage troubles began, you’ll want to foster a relationship with your doctor. If you already had issues surrounding food and nutrition, it’s even more important to make that appointment! You need a good foundation for health, especially at this time. If you don’t, your body and brain will not function properly.
Any amount of sleep deprivation will diminish mental performance, cautions Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level.” Read the entire article here
Marriage troubles may equal eating troubles. You feel depression about your situation and eat for comfort. If you don’t choose the right foods, it can perpetuate the depression cycle. Your emotional triggers will be at an all-time high. Even if you never had a problem with food, you may suffer. One of the most common problems after infidelity, in particular, is called the “Infidelity Diet,” which happens when you can’t eat — or eat and the food goes right through you. This “diet” can happen to both betrayed and wayward spouses. Read a thread describing the Infidelity Diet by several posters on SurvivingInfidelity.com
The links between mental/physical/metaphysical
We must develop ways to learn from, and listen to, our body’s wisdom. Some signs are so obvious, yet we ignore them.
When you’re tired – rest.
When you’re hungry – eat.
When you want to cry but hold it in – don’t.
What you feel in your body is often an accurate barometer of what’s going on in your mind. Why aren’t we listening to our bodies?
To learn more: Metaphysics for Life
Depression and Anxiety
Even if you’ve never been depressed or anxious before, situational depression and/or anxiety can occur when your marriage is in crisis.
Depression is when it takes energy to just move. Anxiety causes you to question every move. Mixed depression and anxiety gives you boundless energy to feel panic but no energy to do anything about it. (Depressed & Anxious by Thomas Marra, Ph.D.) Depressed & Anxious by Thomas Marra, Ph.D.
Choosing a Therapist for Individual and/or Couples Therapy
While you may not know exactly what you want to accomplish with therapy, it’s good to go in with an idea. For example: What are your goals? Saving your marriage at all costs? Find a pro-marriage tharapist. Preparing for divorce? Find a therapist who can help you emotionally as the process unfolds. If you’re a religious person, do you want only someone within your faith? Be sure to ask questions.
Don’t expect to be comfortable at the beginning. It takes time to trust, and most therapists know this.
A note about financial concerns and HMOs:
Many HMOs allow only a set number of appointments to be covered by your insurance carrier. Be sure to check ahead of time to avoid unexpected stress.
Ask if the therapist has a sliding scale. Many do!
Aging brings an added element to marriage issues and in fact, can create its own issues.
Things You Can do Yourself ~ Self Nurturing and Alternative Therapies
You are searching for the magic key that will unlock the door to the source of power; and yet you have the key in your own hands, and you may make use of it the moment you learn to control your thoughts. ~ Napoleon Hill
Setting realistic boundaries
Distress Tolerance Skills
Sacred space at home
Creating special places inside the home and outside in the yard will help to create a sense of peace and comfort.
Indoor or outdoor fountains are beautiful to see and comforting to hear.
Spiritual ~ Prayer, Meditation, Religion
A spiritual community can be a great asset to you as you struggle with your marriage or other disappointments in your life. A spiritual journey is, of course, very personal. You are encouraged to find answers for yourself, but in the meantime, here are a few thoughts to consider:
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes along the way. Author Unknown
Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. ~ Christian D. Larson
Talking to Higher Power
Listening to Higher Power
Spiritual encounters: Compassionate listening, Sharing stories, and Experiencing spiritual experiences with another on the same path.
Outside Influences ~ Friends, Family and Employment
When, and with whom, to share your struggles: your friends, family and employer
In Work Would Be Great If It Weren’t For The People by Ronna Lichtenberg with Gene Stone we learn that “Friends are what you have outside the office.” This is something to consider when sharing your personal problems. “You just never know when even your best friend is going to decide that, hey, you were never really that close.”
Creating art can be therapeutic and just plain fun!
Why art is important ~ You, as creator
Places to go ~Taking Yourself on a Date
Most of us spend most of our lives indoors. Once you make your home a Sacred Space, it’s time to find Sacred Spaces outside of your home.
It can be as simple as an oak-shaded street on the way home from the market, the gardens of a museum or a corner of your back yard. It can be the beach, a nearby lake, a sun-drenched desert with clear skies, or a balcony. It can be the library, a book store, a coffee shop or a thrift store. The point is to get out and find a place that gives you at least some measure of peace.
Women and Men
Sometimes all you can do is laugh – or you’ll cry – or you’ll do both at the same time!
Internet resources that may interest you
In doing research for this, I found more information, misinformation, internet sites, message boards, helpful advice and not-so-helpful advice than I ever expected. You may be hurting, vulnerable, and feeling fragile, as many do when faced with marriage problems. If this sounds like you, I’d like to encourage you, especially at this time, to be careful. Read, listen and learn… when it feels safe to do so. Ask questions. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. In time, you’ll find your favorite therapies and come up with your own ideas. I wish you comfort and peace on your journey.