Photo by: Love Well Photography
Marriage. Takes. Work.
We’ve all heard this saying before. But when it comes down to it, this is much easier said than done.
As much as it makes sense that a lifelong relationship takes time and effort, actually putting in that work—daily—is another story.
The day-in and day-out routine of housework and parenting, mixed with stress and busyness, can pull you and your spouse in different directions all too easily and leave you both feeling disconnected from each other.
If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone.
Dr. Morgan Cutlip, Ph.D., has seen a lot of marriages in her experience, and she agrees that it’s not easy. “Even the best of relationships struggle,” she explained. “This is all really normal. There are good times and there are tough times.”
It takes courage and vulnerability to work on your relationship and honesty to recognize where you might need help. But most of the time, we don’t even consider seeking outside help. The average couple waits six years after noticing a problem before considering counseling. Why?
In a recent interview with Everyday Mamas, Dr. Morgan explained that one major reason has to do with our misconceptions about relationships.
“Sometimes it looks like everyone else isn’t struggling,” Dr. Morgan said, “and this desire to keep up appearances can affect you getting help when you or your relationship really needs it.”
From the outside, it may look like others have the “perfect” marriage, but in reality, no marriage is perfect.
At some point or another, every relationship can use a little “tune up”—some outside direction to either help improve, or simply maintain, a healthy and strong relationship.
And now there are more resources at our fingertips than ever before.
Relationship resources that can help
Dr. Morgan is part of the team at Love Thinks, which develops educational courses that teach people how to improve, develop, and maintain healthy relationships.
She is in business with her father, Dr. Van Epp, who founded the company about 20 years ago. And their business is growing.
In the last 20 years, over one million people have gone through their courses, and they’ve been used by all branches of the military, universities, nonprofits, coalitions, and churches.
In total, they have seven different courses that cover the topics of dating, marriage, and parenting. Some of their courses are offered online, such as their Rock Solid Marriage course for married couples.
“Not everyone is open to therapy, or can afford it, and I’m so happy that we have material that is affordable, yet can make a massively life-changing impact for people. That’s pretty amazing.”
Besides their online courses, Love Thinks also publishes books for self-guidance at home, including one new book for married couples, called Becoming Better Together.
“A really common experience in marriage is that when things start to feel hard, or just ‘off,’ we tend to think it will always be this way. It starts to feel hopeless,” Dr. Morgan told Everyday Mamas.
“One of the best parts of our book is that is normalizes this experience. It is SO normal for your relationship to become imbalanced. In fact, nothing more than just regular life events will imbalance your relationship.”
Taking the first step
If you are in a difficult season of your marriage, and feeling that imbalance, know that there is hope.
According to a recent study, couples who stick together and tackle their challenges are very likely to be happy long-term.
“Don’t wait to feed your relationship until its starving,” Dr. Morgan says. “You must prioritize one another and set time to be together, to catch up with one another and maintain the intimacy in your relationship. If tasks, responsibilities, and obligations chronically come before your relationship, you will find chasms will develop between you and your partner.”
Love is a commitment. It’s a decision. So if you’re hitting a rough patch, choose to make things better—and turn to resources that will help.
“Keep investing in your relationship, even when it feels hard,” Dr. Morgan says, “because the best is yet to come!”