It is said that marriage is the most difficult job in the world. Statistics show that the divorce rate is approximately 50% in western countries. What are the most typical signs of a failing marriage and the best ways to deal with it?
Sign #1 You’re Just Not Feeling Attracted
When you look back on the reason you chose your spouse in the first place, that reason doesn’t resonate with you anymore. Consequently, it feels like your marriage has lost its spark. This is an important sign of a failing marriage.
Why is that?
Loss of attraction usually has as much to do with you as with your partner. Somewhere along the line, you stopped looking for what you like about your spouse and stopped noticing all their special qualities that you were initially drawn to.
You may have even noticed that the more you become focused on those little things about them that annoy you, the more frequently these things appear to occur!
Annoyance is one of the precursors to a failing marriage because it’s one of the biggest causes of becoming emotionally triggered. When we are triggered, our body becomes tense as our physiology prepares for fight or flight. We take on a threatening stance. This includes our facial expression and hand gestures. Our eyes bulge, or we stare accusingly.
There is nothing about our body language that is open or welcoming to our partner when we become triggered, and the tension they feel radiating from us is usually enough to trigger them as well.
Now we’re both focused on what we don’t like in each other and how we don’t want to feel.
Every action we take from a triggered emotional state will result in chaos. This is because when we are emotionally triggered, our prefrontal cortex shuts down to the degree that we lose the ability to think and act clearly. So, instead of clearly communicating an issue we would appreciate being resolved, we blame or accuse our partner to the point where they feel undervalued and start questioning why they would want to stay with us.
Complacency is a major relationship killer, and it’s important to note that it works both ways. If you’re not taking responsibility for how you are showing up in your relationship, you’re equally responsible for your relationship breaking down.
How to Ignite Feelings of Attraction
As with any relationship problem, the first person to look at is you. How are you showing up in your relationship? At the risk of pointing out the obvious, personal hygiene and cleaning up after yourself are paramount. How often do you think to check your breath and body odor? It takes just a moment to check your underarms, breath ,and genitals each time you go to the bathroom — and remedying any issues you find will go a long way to keeping yourself attractive to your partner.
In addition to that, are you nurturing a happy and healthy marriage with humor, calmness, and appreciation or fostering a failing marriage with resistance, accusations, and blame?
It’s amazing how quickly you can restore a happy and mutually fulfilling relationship when you lift your own “A” game to be the best version of yourself; give regular and specific praise and appreciation and focus on co-creating the best outcomes with your partner.
Sign #2 You Are Not Being Sexually Intimate
When you are not enjoying sexual intimacy with your spouse, you may be heading toward a sexless marriage. This obvious sign of a failing marriage is more common than you may think.
You are not alone; 80% of people suffer from the negative consequences of sex problems in their relationship, ranging from:
- Inner vaginal dryness (this is not just a menopause issue!)
- Problems reaching orgasm (this happens in both male and female partners)
- Premature ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Emotional disconnection (arguments, poor communication, accusations, blame)
- Unwanted sexual technique (fictional sex education)
Let’s go deeper into understanding the hidden causes of intimacy issues and how you can swiftly restore a happier sex life.
Inner Vaginal Dryness
Many people think this only affects a woman after menopause, but that’s not the case — inner vaginal dryness can happen to women of all ages. More than 50% of women experience this issue, and it’s one of the biggest causes of avoidance of sex, which can lead to a failing marriage.
External lubricant does not solve this problem! This is because that dryness affects her inner vaginal walls. Every thrust can make a woman feel like her inner vaginal walls are being rubbed with coarse sandpaper. Intercourse can make her raw and sore for several days after.
So how can a woman and her partner deal with this issue?
It all comes down to one simple technique, which can be executed before and during foreplay, penetration, and intercourse. The Inner Vaginal Flush Technique can help to prevent loss of libido and desire for sex associated with inner vaginal dryness.
Problems Reaching Orgasm
This is another common sexual function issue affecting males as well as females and may be thought to be associated with a failing marriage. A staggering 43% of women suffer from the inability to reach orgasm, even more so during intercourse.
When a person is unable to reach orgasm, it is usually because they are mentally distracted.
The inability to reach orgasm is often tied into other emotional and sexual challenges including (but not limited to) past sexual abuse, feeling disconnected from your partner, a partner’s own sexual function issue, a partner’s unwanted sexual technique, or inner vaginal dryness causing tightness and pain.
A person also cannot reach orgasm if they are unaware of feeling — and that’s what happens when your mind is distracted or you are too focused on the actions of sex.
If you are suffering from sexual frustration in a relationship, you need to make sure you are dealing with the cause of the issue.
Many commonly prescribed hormonal therapies and drugs are ineffective at addressing problems reaching orgasm because the mental contamination problem goes unresolved. The person continues to focus on the wrong subject matter, so they don’t initiate the correct hormonal response at the time of sexual activity to complete the sexual program in their brain.
Premature Ejaculation (PE)
Many partners of this sexual challenge think their partner is selfish and that it’s a sure sign of a failing marriage. However, this is usually as far from the truth as they can get. The challenge a man with premature ejaculation has is that he is overly focused on how arousing his partner is, and how arousing the whole sexual act is.
But he’s also worrying about how long he will last, along with trying not to think about that!
This leads to his brain only receiving arousing signals, which takes him directly from gaining an erection to ejaculating with little or no fun in between.
A man with PE needs to focus more of his attention on his partner, but it needs to be in the right way and not for too long…otherwise he can cause the opposite problem which is:
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
I call this a caring man’s challenge. It’s usually the result of putting too much attention on his partner and therefore not giving his brain the correct amount of arousing signals to either attain or maintain a hard erection.
Most women have no idea of the fine line a male has to walk sexually. Not only is he expected to remain hard throughout the duration of foreplay, but he needs to be ready to penetrate “on demand” and stay hard and in control of ejaculation for as long as it takes for his partner to reach an orgasm.
When his partner has (her) own challenge of taking a long time to reach orgasm, this compounds his performance anxiety and can lead to both partners feeling like their marriage is failing.
Is connection the chicken or the egg when it comes to being in a relationship? Feeling emotionally disconnected from our partner can lead to a lack of interest in connecting sexually. After all, when we’re not feeling connected with our partner, why would we want to engage in an act which signifies the ultimate connection?
To stop a marriage from failing, it’s important to understand the consequences of cause and effect. If we hold off from sexual intimacy with our partner, they may become emotionally distant. Then neither gets what they want.
We need to deal with any relationship challenges that are triggering us so we don’t contaminate our relationship with negative thoughts and their negative consequences.
Sex can be one of the best ways to get out of our mind, reconnect with our body, and generate oxytocin (known as the love hormone) and endorphins. Dealing with our emotions will not only prevent arguments but also lower stress hormones and increase our happy hormones.
Deal with both and get help to resolve any sexual function issues, and you may be surprised at how fast your libido switches back on, regardless of your age.
Unwanted Sexual Technique
Realistically, this is at the crux of many sex problems, and it’s usually due to a lack of real-life sex education. If we were lucky enough to have received any sex education, we were taught safety but not technique. This is what leads to so many instances of sexual dysfunction.
If you don’t have the correct knowledge to reference your problem against, then how do you know what you need to change? In my experience in solving these issues for thousands of men, women, and couples, most sexual challenges stem from incorrect sexual imprinting or focusing on the wrong action at the wrong time.
In the case of unwanted sexual technique, most of us receive our “real-life” sex education from porn or romance novels, which contain unrealistic scenarios.
There is much guesswork involved in sex, and because it is a topic not generally discussed, our sexual education generally results from trial and error. This can set us up for sexual failure because we never learn how to correctly balance our sexual focus during foreplay, penetration and intercourse so that sex can be mutually fulfilling.
How to Ignite a Happy and Fulfilling Sex Life
Unresolved sexual challenges tend to eat away at your confidence and self-esteem, as well as undermine the very fabric which holds your marriage together. Don’t wait until something goes seriously wrong with your marriage before addressing sex problems as they can usually be resolved with the correct knowledge and technique.
Have an open and honest discussion with your partner to find out what is wanted and unwanted, and then work together to resolve the issues, seeking expert help if needed.
Sign #3 You Don’t Have a Shared Vision
The motivation for dealing with issues in your relationship usually comes from having a shared vision. When you know how you want to feel, what you want your relationship to look like, and what you are working toward (and your partner shares this vision), it is much easier to realign yourselves during times of disagreement or when life challenges you.
Without that shared vision, your marriage can become vulnerable.
How to Ignite a Shared Vision
It’s important to get some perspective on what you both want and how you want to move forward together—instead of constantly rehashing and reliving what you don’t want!
So take 15 minutes, remove all distractions, and do the following exercise together.
Step one is for each of you to write down 7 core feelings that resonate with your core nature. How do you like to feel? Which feelings resonate with the core of your being?
Now establish your connection with your core nature by writing a brief descriptive sentence about what each of those core feelings means to you.
Here is an example:
Core Feeling: Connected
What feeling Connected means for me: I love the feeling of being effortlessly aligned with myself and those around me.
Now it’s time to take it turns sharing each of your 7 core feelings and what they mean to you with your partner.
What’s really interesting is that while you may have some core feelings that are the same, your interpretation of what they mean to you will likely be entirely different.
This is why sharing your core feelings isn’t enough. To avoid misunderstandings later, you need to understand what each of these core feelings means to both of you. Feeling connected for your partner may mean enjoying connecting sexually!
Using the above example, you know when you’re not in alignment with the core feeling connected because it feels like you’re out of sync and out of alignment with your core nature.
These are the times when you’re more likely to give in to feeling emotionally triggered and overreact to something your partner is saying or doing. You’re also more likely to accuse or lay blame instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.
The most important thing to do during these times is to remember the cause and effect principle of mind renaissance and get back in alignment with your core nature.
The most effective shared vision is for each of us to stay focused on recreating our core feelings with our actions rather than getting caught up in judgements, misunderstandings, and petty arguments.
Many times we become completely fixated on how our partner is violating something important to us or going against what we want to experience. However, what we usually don’t accept or realize is that we ourselves are often operating well below par and causing just as much damage to our relationship.
When you’re clear on how you want to feel long-term and you have a compass (focused action) to get there, it’s so much easier to feel motivated to move forward into being the best version of yourself, a person who keeps your partner engaged and attracted in your marriage.
More Ways to Deal With a Failing Marriage
We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.
The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Living in the Moment
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.
Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:
By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.
Improve Your Relationships
Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?
Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.
How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.
By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.
You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.
Why Do We Worry?
Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.
When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.
Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.
Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.
3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment
Step 1: Overcome Worrying
In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:
Calm Your Mind
When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.
The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.
In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.
Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems
Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.
People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.
If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.
Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment
In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.
Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.
You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.
If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.
Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past
None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.
So how do most people cope with painful emotions?
By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.
In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.
Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.
A Wandering Mind
From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.
Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.
Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.
Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.
Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.
Step 3: Practice Mindfulness
So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?
Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.
The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.
When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality.
You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.
This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.
To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.
If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.
You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.
Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.
Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.
You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.
This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article:
While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.
You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.
Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)
Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?
Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?
Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.
You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.
In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.
You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.
Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.
The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.
Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.
So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:
- Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
- Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
- Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.
You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating
Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.
Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.
You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.
Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.
Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.
The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.