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Creating A New Dance In Your Marriage

Updated: May 6

Derek and Missy Irvin Discuss how when one of you starts to get healthy that sometimes it can get worse before it gets better, but it is worth it in the long run.

In every relationship, we settle into a “dance” or a way of being and interacting with each other. This “dance” is made up of many things including the way we connect, the way we talk, the way we share power in the relationship, and the way we fight.

All these interactions are heavily influenced by our own individual needs, wants, and even our hurts that go way back. Some of the elements of the “dance” are the very things that attracted us to our spouse in the first place. Other elements are things we never liked but perhaps thought we could put up with or change. 

It Works Until It Doesn’t

The way we interact – the “dance” – works until it doesn’t. Marriage is a dynamic relationship. Pastor and author, Tim Keller once said, “My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed—and each of the five has been me.” We are individually growing and changing as individuals and a healthy marriage will flex with this and grow accordingly.  

Change is hard. Change requires work, energy, and effort. Simon Sinek talks about the importance of “Knowing Your Why” when it comes to change or doing something difficult.  If you are going to commit to working on your marriage, you need to be laser focused on why you are doing it, or you will be less likely to persevere.  

What makes changing your dynamic as a couple difficult, is you already have an established way of interacting. It is what you do. It is what you know. Even if it is not particularly good or healthy, it is familiar.  Changing this dynamic will likely create some turbulence. Things will likely get worse before they get better. Again, this is why it is important to “know your why”. Knowing your why will keep you going during the difficult times.  

Learn Each Other’s Triggers

As you seek to grow together it is helpful to know each other’s triggers. Triggers are those things that consistently make you feel negative emotion. Knowing your spouse’s triggers is helpful so that you can avoid them if possible. Knowing your own triggers helps you to stop yourself from reacting in a way that you might later regret. Some common triggers are feeling unimportant, rejected, silenced, or controlled.  

Whatever your trigger is get curious about why it is a trigger. This is true for whatever your individual trigger might be.  Ask yourself does this feel familiar. When have I felt this before? When I felt this before, what did that mean for me?  Becoming aware of what your triggers are and where they come from will give you greater awareness.  Having this awareness will help you to process and respond in a healthy way rather than reacting or lashing out.


Listen to a Story of How God Changed This Marriage!

You Both Need A Voice

A common unhealthy “dance” that can occur between couples is when one person in the relationship does not feel like they have a voice. There are many reasons why this occurs.  One reason is that opposites tend to attract. Commonly, one person in the relationship is more assertive and opinionated while the other is more laid back and goes with the flow.  This dynamic is not necessarily unhealthy if the more laid-back person feels like they have a voice, meaning they are able to express themselves in a way that is received.  

If you are the more dominant person in the relationship, let me emphasize that the key is to make sure your partner FEELS like they have a voice. As the more dominant person, you may totally think you are giving them a voice and yet be totally unaware that you are unintentionally shutting them down.

In a healthy marriage both parties will have a voice. Creating a new dance will require humility, patience, effort and most likely a third party to help you get there. It will be turbulent at first and may feel like things are getting worse before they get better.  But take heart. It is worth it, and it will help your marriage thrive.




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