Hey Spouse! Here’s your wake up call

Have you ever felt like your spouse doesn’t get it? You try expressing your concerns that the marriage is struggling but it falls on deaf ears. Or maybe you get a paltry answer like, “things are fine” or “you worry too much”. So you lay awake worrying while your mate sleeps in oblivion. In some marriages, one is asleep to the reality of how bad things are in the relationship. They assume things are copacetic. They claim you are hard to please. Yet what’s ignored is the fact that things are not as good as they think. In some cases, it’s far worse. How can a spouse so close to the situation be so clueless? Why do some partners adopt an ostrich “head in the sand” approach to marriage?
Every marriage can benefit from an early wake up call
Marriage is often taken for granted as stable enough to endure strife or unhappiness. Some claim, “No marriage is perfect. We’ll be fine.” Be careful! This misassumption can put your marriage at risk for failure. An “early” wake up call can save your marriage if:
  • you’re starting to drift from each other
  • your spouse says she/he is lonely
  • there is an uptick in the frequency of conflict
  • there is a decrease in frequency of sex
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, your marriage is in trouble. You need an early wake up call. I’ll give you some suggestions shortly but first let me warn you. If you wait too long you may be jolted by a late wake up call.
A late wake up call is a jolt to the system!
In the 1999 movie, “The Sixth Sense” Bruce Willis portrayed Dr. Malcom Crowe, a child psychologist working with a boy who describes his problem, “I see dead people.” Throughout the movie we see Dr. Crowe struggling to reach this boy. Meanwhile at home he also cannot seem to penetrate the loneliness his wife experiences. However, his real problem was within. He was dead and didn’t know it. Sadly, I find this to be true with some couples. Their marriage is dead and only one knows it. The reality comes in the form of a late wake up call that jolts their spouse.
  • A late wake up call happens after you discover your lonely spouse is having an affair. You failed to take your partner’s cries for attention seriously. Someone else now meets that need.
  • A late wake up call happens when your mate follows through on her/his threat and you are served divorce papers.
An early wake up call can save your marriage
You can be an ostrich with your head in the sand or a lifeguard perched on a tower watching over the shore of your home, making sure your marriage is safe. An early wake up call:
  1. Clears your head – “Things are worse than I imagined.”
  2. Clarifies your vision – “I don’t like what I’ve become and want to change.”
  3. Can stir you to action – “I accept responsibility for my part in this marriage and am committed to change my attitude and behavior.”
  4. Can mark a moment of lasting change – “It took this to wake me up so going forward I am determined to live an authentic relationship. No more pretending or making excuses.”
What you can do to avoid a late wake up call
My hope for everyone who reads this blog or listens to the podcast above is that you never have to suffer the pain of a late wake up call. Here are 4 alarms to set for an early wake up call.
  1. Pay close attention to your marriage. Be the lifeguard, not the ostrich.
  2. Give serious attention to your spouse’s voiced concerns. Tell her/him you are taking them seriously now.
  3. Modify your approach to marriage to address these concerns. You will have to shift your priorities to invest time in the relationship.
  4. Get some coaching or counseling to develop or improve your relationship skills. No excuses anymore. Help is out there. Get it!

Now it’s your turn

So what is it for you? An early or late wake up call? If early, what is your next step? Look over the list of things to do and take action. If you got the late wake up call, what have you learned?