Breaking Down Walls in Your Marriage


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Is there a subject that you know if you bring up you're asking for an argument? Couples find themselves stuck in conflict for a variety of reasons. Usually the story-line goes as follows: Both sides dig their heels in, tensions escalate, and before you know it both parties are hurt and are now avoiding the subject. When you have found yourself in this place, a few thoughts might go through your head.

  • I shouldn’t have to be the one to say sorry.

  • It is his/her responsibility to apologize.

  • We are already this deep in to it and there’s no point in trying to fix it.

  • I will only say sorry after he/she does.

  • How can they go on living life as if this stuff doesn’t bother them; do they even care?

  • It’s not worth the pain/time/effort/annoyance to bring this up again, so I’ll just leave it alone.

If you have had any of these thoughts running through your head, you know exactly what I am talking about. You have likely been stuck in the same cycle of conflict for weeks, months, or maybe even years with your spouse. You would like to see something change, but feel that there is nothing that can be done to fix it if your partner doesn’t move first. Don’t let your relationship fall to pieces because of inaction on either of your parts. In order to get unstuck, consider the following points.

  • Waiting on the other person to act first means no one will ever take action.

  • You cannot make someone act, think, or feel a certain way.

  • You can only control your own thoughts, feelings, and actions.

  • Big change starts with small actions.

  • But taking action comes with risk.

  • Is the possibility for resolution or change worth the risk and vulnerability?

  • With no risk comes no reward or potential for change.

Couples stuck in conflict have unknowingly built a wall within their relationship. Making the first move to break down the wall is not easy. Hurt, pride, and anger can prevent or delay reconciliation. No matter what led to your feeling stuck in your marriage, you have the opportunity to enact change. Sometimes change means just reacting differently than you normally would.

Change is difficult, uncomfortable, and unpredictable. Sometimes we begin to feel comfort in the familiarity of our life’s dysfunction. Are you willing to go against the grain for the potential reward of tearing down some walls? Sometimes these patterns are so ingrained and so powerful we need a bit of help from someone else. If this is what you feel, consider working with a therapist to start making changes. And if you are not at that point, seriously consider what you can do differently to impact your relationship today.


Lauren Barron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate specializing in working with engaged, newlywed, and married couples. If you would like to set up an appointment or consultation with her today, call her at (713)364-9748.

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