Great Expectations SparkNotes in Marriage

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Great Expectations SparkNotes: If you have the sinking feeling that your marriage is on the rocks, then it’s time to reflect on your relationship and try to save it. To save it, you’re going to need to work together to figure out the problem or problems you’re having, as well as a solution to those problems. You’re also going to need to work at loving each other again and reconnecting to what you felt in the past.

See Great Expectations SparkNotes in Marriage to learn more about when saving your relationship might be a good course of action.

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Things You Should Know

  • Pinpoint when the problem started and pick a calm, relaxed time to talk to your partner.
  • Treat each other as teammates; work together to brainstorm compromises and ways to adapt to each others needs.
  • Remember why you got together in the first place, focus on your partner’s good qualities, and keep communicating for a happier relationship.

Figuring Out the Problem

Consider when things went wrong. If you are at a critical juncture, you can probably figure out when things started going off the rails, even just a little bit. Think about when the problem started, so you can figure out how to approach the discussion with your partner.

  • You may easily pinpoint one major reason, such as you or your loved one was unfaithful, and that changed the dynamic of the relationship.
  • More often, you may not be able to find one major reason, but rather, a series of reasons for why things aren’t working out. A lot of little things can start to add up. For example, maybe he’s spending too much time with his friends, or you never make time for each other. Alternatively, maybe you’re both stressing at work.
  • Maybe you’re growing incompatible. If you’ve been together for a long time, it’s possible that you’ve become different people over the course of the relationship.
  • If you’re unsure where to begin, consider taking a relationship quiz that can help you assess how healthy your relationship is.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Decide whether you should try to save it. Sometimes, a relationship can’t be saved, especially if the other person isn’t willing to put in any work. If only one of you wants to save it, that’s not going to work out. Also, if your relationship is abusive in any way, either physically or emotionally, then you probably shouldn’t try to save it.

Pick a good time to talk to your partner. You should pick a time when you have few distractions. Also, it should be in a private space, so that you won’t be overheard. In addition, try to choose time when you both aren’t overly emotional. You should try to have a calm, rational discussion, putting emotion to the side.

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Talk with your partner. If your marriage or relationship is in need of saving, it’s likely that your partner already knows a problem exists. However, if you haven’t talked about it, you need to start the discussion. It’s best to do so when you are calm and level-headed, so that you can actually discuss rather than shout at each other.

  • It’s important to not just talk, but to listen and hear what your partner has to say about what’s going on in your relationship. You can show you’re listening by summarizing what your partner has to say to show you’ve understood what he or she has said. You can also ask questions that show you’ve heard what the person has said and that you want to know more.
  • When you’re bringing up the problem, focus on “I” statements rather than “you” statements. For example, you could say, “I’d really like to discuss what’s been going on with our relationship,” rather than “You’re making our relationship a mess.”

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Come up with a list together. While discussing your relationship, work on a list together. Figure out what you both think the problems are in your relationship, and discuss how it started. It may be hard to have an open discussion, but it’s important to get both of your points of view on where the relationship went wrong. In addition, you can use help from educational websites to help identify what’s healthy about your relationship and what’s not.

  • For instance, a healthy relationship is one where you are both your own, independent people and you respect each other’s personalities and boundaries. You are interested in what the other person is doing, and you encourage one another.
  • Unhealthy relationships, on the other hand, are where one or both of you is not happy with who the other person is, and you are pressured to change the person. You may also feel controlled or manipulated, or you may be the one doing the manipulating.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Focus on patterns. Rather than blaming each other, consider how patterns from each of you have led to problems. For instance, maybe you consistently forget to call home when you’re going to be late, and your partner then gets upset when you don’t show up. Consequently, you punish him or her the next time by not calling home, which is a cyclical pattern. When you bring it up, focus on how to solve the problem, such as “I will try to be better about calling home, if maybe you can forgive me the few times that I forget. Or maybe you can send me a text near the end of the day, so I will be more aware of what time it is.

Figuring Out How to Deal with the Problem

Consider counseling. If you are at the point where you are trying to save your relationship, it’s a good idea to call in professional help. A counselor can help you decipher what problems you have, especially if you can hardly stand to be in the same room together anymore.

Couples therapy can help you learn new skills. Love and relationship psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz says: “If you really want your relationship to work, but you’re just not getting along, you should probably reach out for help and acknowledge that you don’t have the skills to fix it. There’s nothing wrong with needing help. That’s what couples therapy is for, to help you learn the tools to have the relationship you both want.”

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Be honest with each other. Being honest is a kind of vulnerability, and by being honest with your partner, you show that you trust him or her. Try opening up about what you’re thinking and feeling. When you’re vulnerable, you’re inviting your partner in and asking him or her to be equally as honest. However, it’s important to continue using “I” statements to tell how you feel instead of blaming the other person.

  • For example, when you’re talking to your partner, you shouldn’t say, “You never put me first.” Rather, you should say, “I sometimes feel neglected in the relationship.” That way, you’re telling how you feel rather than pointing fingers.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Work collaboratively. Instead of each taking one side of an argument, it’s important to work together. You should work together in your relationship, treating each other as teammates rather than enemies. However, you also need to work together when trying to solve problems. That means first agreeing on what the problem is.

  • Once you agree on what the problem is, you also need to talk about what both of you are concerned about underneath the surface. That is, you may both have an idea in mind of what winning looks like, but if you are both set on winning, no one will win in the end. Instead, discuss why you want the solution you do.
  • You should also look for common ground in the problem and the solution. That is, if you’re disagreeing about who should do what housework, at least you agree that the house needs more attention. That’s a starting place.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Discuss solutions. This step may be the hardest part, coming up with solutions you both can live with. That means agreeing on what you think the main problems are in the marriage and coming up with ways you can both work to make it better. Basically, you need to compromise. Blaming each other isn’t going to help, as you’ve both contributed to the situation you’re in.

  • Compromising means you need to talk about what you both need and want in the relationship. This step is important, because then you can decide where you can both stand your ground and where you can both give a little. Compromising means giving in where you feel you can.
  • It helps if these solutions are concrete. For instance, maybe you’ve decided one of your main problems is that you don’t spend enough time connecting. The solution could be that you agree to go on one date a week, plus you will try to spend lunchtime together at least three times a week.
  • Maybe you’re problems are partially financial. Sit down and agree on a budget moving forward, one that compromises on what you both value. For instance, if you’re a saver and want to penny pinch every dime while your partner enjoys extravagant vacations, compromise by going on a more modest vacation every year that is within your budget.
  • Portion out the household chores. One small thing that can become huge is if one person feels he or she is doing all the work at home. Have an open discussion about a fair division of the work, and try making a schedule to determine who will do what when.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Learn to forgive. If you’re going to move forward, you’re going to have to forgive each other for the hurts you’ve caused. That doesn’t mean completely forgetting what happened or even saying what happened was okay. It does mean that you need to acknowledge the hurt it caused you. You need to realize that the other person makes mistakes, and both of you learned from that mistake. Finally, you need to accept that it happened and move on.

  • Most mistakes stem from needs that a person wants to be met. Realizing that can help you learn from what happened.

Figure out what will happen moving forward. Once you’ve identified the problems and solutions, you need to both formally commit to the solutions. The solutions need to be concrete and ones you can both live with.

  • If you find your solutions aren’t working after a certain period of time, it’s fine to revisit them and try something new.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Don’t forget boundaries. Once you’ve made a plan about how to move forward, don’t forget that you also need to set boundaries. Yes, you forgive each other for what’s happened, but you can still put boundaries in place to keep the same mistakes from happening again.

  • For instance, if one of you cheated after going to a certain club, it seems reasonable that that person should not return to that club. You could bring it up by saying, “Because of what’s happened in the past, I don’t feel comfortable with you going to the club. If you insist on going, that may be a deal breaker for me.”

Relearning How to Love Each Other

Think about why you got together. When you’re in a dire situation where your relationship is failing, you may have forgotten why you got together in the the first place. Spend some time reflecting on what you liked about him or her in the first place.

  • Maybe she could always make you laugh, or he made sure to call to see if you got home safely. Think about all the little things that you used to love about the other person. One way you can think about the past together is to look at old photos together.

Make sure you are both open to change. If your primary goal is to protect yourself in the relationship from hurt and anger, you aren’t open to change. Instead, you’ll likely want to control your partner to enforce that protection, making your relationship negative and stagnant. On the other hand, if you’re both willing to learn and grow together, your relationship can develop over time into something better. If only one of you is willing to change, it may not work.

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Focus on what’s good. Think about what you love about your partner. In fact, take some time each day to write down five things you love about your partner or are grateful for in your partner. Try to put those thoughts into words and actions by expressing gratitude towards your partner.

Find out each other’s love languages. Everyone experiences love differently. Gary Chapman breaks this idea down into the five ways people experience love or the five love languages. If you’ve never taken the time to figure out each other’s love languages, now is the time to do it. You can take quizzes online to figure out what your love language is.

  • The first love language is words of affirmation, which means that you feel loved when you hear words that value you.
  • The second love language involves service, meaning that you feel loved when someone gives of his or her time to help you out or to do chores around the house.
  • The third love language gifts. That means that you feel loved when you receive small (or large) tokens of appreciation from people who are close to you.
  • The fourth love language is time. With this love language, you feel loved if a person spends time with you.
  • The final love language is touch. In other words, you feel loved if a person is affectionate with you by kissing you, holding your hand, cuddling with you, or hugging you, for instance.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Apply the love languages. That is, in your interactions with each other, try to use the other person’s love language to show that you care. If your partner’s love language is service, try doing little things around the house to show you care or try taking his or her car to the wash. If your partner’s love language is time, make sure to figure out ways to spend more time with the person on a regular basis.

Take time to connect. Just like when you first got together, you need to spend time together, just the two of you. You may think you know everything about your partner, but people can still surprise you even years later. Take time each day to talk to your partner and ask about his or her life, thoughts, and feelings.

  • One way to learn something new about your partner is to try taking a class together, such as a cooking or dance class. You’ll experience something new together and rekindle some of the old spark.

    Great Expectations SparkNotes

Enjoy hobbies together. Though tastes may change, you should make time to do something you used to love doing together. If you used to love cooking Chinese food together, try it again. If you once trained for a half marathon but are now feeling too out of shape, commit to the challenge. By committing to something you enjoyed doing before, you’ll rekindle some of the old passion you felt. However, it doesn’t just have to be something you used to enjoy together. You can also try something new.

Get physical. That is, you need to remember to connect to each other through touch, not just sex. When you’re together, hold each other hands, cuddle, or hug. Touch her arm while she’s talking. Rub his knee while you’re sitting next to each other. Touch is important in maintaining intimacy, and it can be lost to the daily grind over the years.

Keep communicating. Once you’ve started on this path, you may think you’ll be able to fix your problems just by sitting down together once and talking about it. However, maintaining a relationship means constantly checking in with each other and talking about what’s going on and how you’re feeling.

  • Communication is especially important when you feel yourself getting angry at your partner and wanting to be short with him or her. Instead of getting angry, take a moment to breathe. Once you’ve calmed down, take a moment to talk about why you are getting upset and what can be done about it.

When Should You Try This?

Try to save it if you’re still in love. There was a reason you got together to begin with, a seed of love that kept you going this long. If you still feel that love, it’s worth working to find a way to communicate and get in sync with each other again. Many loving relationships get off track from time to time. It will take work to restore it, but it’s worth the attempt if you know in your heart that you care about this person.

Consider trying to save it if your significant other wants to. Maybe you’re the one who is on the verge of giving up on the relationship, but your partner wants to keep trying. If you’ve been together for a long time, it might be worth giving it your all to try to save it. It might be possible to see your partner’s love for you and have faith that even though you’re going through a rough time right now, things can get better. Weigh the options and see if it’s worth it to you to try for the sake of your partner.

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Give yourself permission to stop trying when you’re ready. No matter how good things used to be, or how much one party wants the relationship to keep going, sometimes it’s clear that it has to end. If you’ve already put in an effort trying to save the relationship, and you no longer feel love or the will to try to reignite it, it’s OK not to force yourself to keep trying. Don’t spend months or years dragging it out and criticizing yourself for not being able to make it work. It’s OK to choose happiness over self-sacrifice. When one person stops participating in the relationship, it’s better for both people if it ends.

Great Expectations SparkNotes

Don’t try to save a relationship that’s toxic or abusive. There’s really no way to work on a relationship that’s based on toxic patterns or abuse. No amount of working on communication techniques or trying to reignite the romance is going to make things better long-term. You may feel that you’re getting something out of the relationship, but you have a lot more to gain by being free.

  • Make sure that both people are truly committed to this process. If only one person is committed, then he or she will only be disappointed.

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