Cultivating Healthy Romantic Relationships In Marriage
A while back, we had a counsellor speak to our communities about cultivating healthy romantic relationships. The psychologist, Rebecca Wamwene offered expert advice on various topics and answered questions raised in the WhatsApp chat. We are going to share the pieces of advice in a series of articles. In this article, we’ll share answers to the questions on cultivating healthy relationships in marriage.
How can a woman talk out her husband into formalizing their 5-year union through an Attorney general wedding without her looking pushy?
Employ the love languages. What love language does your husband respond to? What tickles him? What would make him marry you and not any other woman out there? Give him a reason to need you without threatening him. The five love languages are:
- Words of affirmation.
- Acts of service.
- Gift giving.
- Quality time.
- Physical touch.
How does one cope with an instance where love no longer seems to exist in a marriage? Like your husband even calls you “wewe?”
Explore the cause of the loss of love eg, maladaptive behaviour, infidelity, your personal appearance ie dress code: does it excite your partner, unkempt hair, breasts left dangling especially for women, a very dirty bedroom or house in general, no time for each other, uninspired sex life. You can also talk to therapists if need be.
My wife had an affair in the past and I can’t overcome that truth. Need tips that can help me to start afresh.
This is one of the most traumatizing experiences in a relationship. It may rob you of trust and confidence in any woman. I don’t know what you mean by starting afresh. Is it starting afresh with her or without her?
If with her then the two of you would need to see a counsellor so you can be helped to process the trauma and overcome it while for her she would be guided on behaviour control. If without her, you need to go through loss and grief counselling, repackage yourself and hit the road positively.
My husband is verbally abusive in our marriage especially when he has had one too many to drink. He rarely remembers what he has said afterwards and when I address it he makes me feel like I am making it up. This is taking a toll on me. How do I deal with it?
There is a need to address his drinking behaviour. Try suggesting going for counselling or addressing it with a very close friend. Most people who misbehave while drunk or do excessive drinking are addressing something eg. low self-esteem, traumatic childhood, covering up, fear of the unknown, or simply asserting power over you by demeaning you verbally. You need to take care of your emotional and psychological stability. Avoid stress, depression and anxiety. Kindly see a therapist for help.
What are signs of emotional abuse in a marriage?
They are so many and they vary from one abuser to another
Suppression: The partner blocks any avenue of your standing out eg use of talents, networking etc
Gaslighting: The partner always makes you believe you are the guilty one even when you are physically abused eg. it’s you who pushes me to beat you, how you talk and keep quiet when I am talking to you. They blame you for their bad behaviour.
Sexual deprivation: This may be accompanied by vulgar language.
My husband has a drinking problem and I don’t know how to help him?
This problem needs thorough exploration. Eg what is your definition of a drinking problem. There is a possibility that what seems problematic drinking to one person could just be casual drinking.
I would need to explore the genesis of the drinking behaviour and the effects of the same. I would also need to explore the relationship between you and him i.e. solid or liquid. I would also need to explore his emotional/psychological stability.
My husband has a wandering eye and it’s driving me crazy. I work out and take good care of my body. For some reason or another, every time we go out together I’ll catch him staring at other women for long periods of time. Should I be worried?
I should say that it is a natural instinct for men that must not be driven by any reason for you to worry. However, it depends on your trust levels, your self-esteem and confidence levels. What goes through your mind when you see him follow a lady with his eyes?
What would make you quickly indicate that you take care of your body? Are you insecure, unsure of yourself or even have a poor self-concept? Do you find yourself trying to prove a point quite often? I suggest you gain self-awareness, self-love and self-care.
How do I deal with communication problems in my marriage?
What causes communication failure is when discussing children, finances, investments, decision making or sexual pleasure.
Analyse communication patterns of each of your family. How was each one of you socialized? In your homes did you give each other an opportunity to express themselves without feeling judged? Was communication congruent or incongruent? What are the underlying or unresolved issues? Are there unmet expectations? Etc.
How do I stop my husband from taking advantage of money I help him with?
In the first place what makes you help him with the money? When you help do you define the purpose of the money?
Is he involved in deciding how the money is used or you give and decide? Does he have some addictive behaviours such as betting, sex addiction, religious addictions, drugs and alcohol? Explore these things and many others. Seek Therapy if you get stuck.
We have been married for 5 years and I think my wife no longer enjoys sexual intimacy with me. I have not thought of nor had the desire to have any sexual relations outside the confines of marriage. My question is when spouses are no longer interested or refuse to be sexually intimate, how can this be resolved without creating a hurtful and potentially non-recoverable event from occurring?
Within the first 5yrs of marriage, it is the honeymoon phase. Partners are in the process of learning and figuring each other and at times there may be hiccups here and there. Before making any conclusions you may explore what childhood narrative your spouse had about sex and intimacy.
What was she told about it? Have time to analyse what your expectations for each other were? Could there be unmet expectations? Could there be some resolved issues? Analyse your love languages and get to learn what each of you loves for love language.
My husband has a female friend who keeps calling at late hours. It has created issues and keeps changing her name in the phone book. This keeps tempting me to check his inbox for their chat. How can I leave this habit?
The fact that you have already desired to stop the habit indicates a very positive move towards behaviour control. Maybe ask yourself several questions:
- What I’m I looking for?
- Suppose I get what I am looking for from this phone what would I do?
- What is your greatest insecurity?
- How do you think you can overcome your fears?
Several things you can do
- Embrace positive self-talk.
- Embrace self-love.
- Try talking about it with him and see his response.
- Seek professional help. Counselling and therapy
My husband has a habit of spending more time outside the home than at home and our Sundays are full of him sleeping. How can I deal with this after addressing it numerous times?
Maybe I would need to ask a question. When and how did it start? What could have caused the loss of energy and warmth? Explore stress, traumatic event either at home or at work
If it started a long time ago; explore temperaments. Is he an introvert or does he enjoy social events? I pick that you have addressed it several times. Explore the methods you have used to explore. Are you so inquisitive, investigative, nagging, judgemental or are you authoritatively calling him out of bed with finality? Consider a change of approach.
It is said that for you to make your marriage work. You need to accept a man as he is. Then focus on his good sides and leave the bad sides. For example, if he drinks etc. But what if you tolerating the bad things he does makes you end up hating him, makes you become angry and a bad mother because of all the bad things he is doing
I pick several things here
- You have a narrative about keeping the man with you.
- You ascribe to that narrative more than what makes you happy.
- The narrative makes you bitter and neglectful of the kids which only worsens the situation.
You may consider exploring
- Better methods of bringing warmth and happiness to your marriage.
- Suppose you drop the narrative and try dialogue with your man so you can see how you balance love and his said behaviour.
- How about separating the issues? It’s the man whose behaviour is in question, not your children. See how you can separate your love life and your parenting skills.
- Consider self-care and work on anger management. Your health matters.
I’ve been married for 4yrs with one child, my husband is loving and provides for us well.
The problem is I have never experienced sexual satisfaction from him, he leaves me high and dry every time. How do I go about this issue? I don’t want to hurt his pride in any way.
I can only imagine how it makes you feel when you are left in that state. I also applaud your husband for his support and you’re acknowledging it. I hope you verbalise it to him to boost his ego. However, we get married to complement each other. In fact, a woman is a helper.
How about doing it differently. How about changing the sex menu once in a while. Remember a man achieves erection faster especially if he has a conducive environment. How about just changing the entry behaviour and the sex styles? How about analyzing your readiness when it comes to this? Try new skills and see how it works. Also, verbalize it to him with love. Begin by praising him then suggest what would work for you.
Marriage and relationships require commitment, communication, and consistency. If you are having problems that can be solved, it’s advisable to seek the services of a great family psychologist or marriage therapist. If you are going through abuse or you know a person going through abuse, the Gender-Based Violence-free hotline is 1195. Furthermore, if you would like to join a community of women healing from abuse, WhatsApp +254736275978.
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