While waiting at the deli recently, I overheard a conversation between strangers on “marriage”.  One of the female customers was ordering quite a bit of prepared food, so a man on-line playfully suggested he come over for dinner.  The woman replied, “No thank you.  I was married for forty years.”  The man extolled her as a saint; stating that even murderers serve less than forty years in prison.  Suddenly, another gentleman chimed in, “At least in prison you get three meals a day, peace and quiet, you can read, exercise, and nobody bothers you.”

This got me thinking…  Is marriage really a “Life Sentence”?…

Everyone seems to enter a marital union with the best of intentions.  You meet another person, you enjoy the same things, make one another laugh, share the same values, and you start envisioning a future together.  You decide to get married, to be partners for life.

Once engaged, it all becomes about “The Wedding.”  Planning such an important event becomes overwhelming.  As your families continually insert their 10 cents worth, it starts to feel like it’s the two of you against the world; your bond grows stronger.  You can’t wait to just get through the wedding, so you can be on your honeymoon alone together.  This “honeymoon period” is a time when you are very much in love with your partner, everything goes smoothly, and you seem to be leading the perfect married life.

Slowly, but surely real-life starts to creep in.  Your marriage may start to feel a little lacklustre, or you are experiencing serious problems.  Maybe you’re not feeling like the priority anymore?  Maybe you’re feeling taken for granted?  Maybe you learned some things about your partner and you’re struggling to get on the same page?  It’s crucial that you don’t just turn a blind eye to the situation and avoid it.  So many people make the mistake of trying to sweep issues or discontent under the rug, hoping that things will just naturally turn around and head back in a more positive direction.  But, the truth is that both parties in the relationship need to step it up. So, how can you move your marriage from a “life sentence” to perfect harmony? 

Identify problems in your relationship

If things don’t feel quite as romantic in your marriage as they used to, you might want to sit down and take the time to really identify the issues in your relationship. There are all sorts of areas that could be leaving you feeling dissatisfied and it’s important that you know exactly what’s wrong before you can put the issue to rest.  Common couple’s issues range all the way from infidelity, to simply not making enough effort anymore.  You may also experience arguments that become insurmountable communication barriers.  Once you’ve identified the problems, you can start to evaluate your relationship and come up with a plan to set things right.


The real work in a relationship is the communication.  When issues aren’t addressed, they become bigger and bigger.  Things won’t change if nobody addresses the situation.  When engaging in dialogue, remember to use “I-statements.”  You want to express how you’re feeling and not blame your partner.  The conversation will go nowhere fast if your partner becomes defensive.  It’s also critical to be cognizant of your tone.  Nothing distorts a good message, like a poor delivery.  Make sure your voice is calm. 

Consider couples counseling

If you’re having difficulty getting things to work, even once you’ve tried to tackle the situation yourself, it’s worth exploring couple’s counseling.  Sometimes you need a person from the outside to help you see things clearly.  This places both you and your partner in a neutral setting, where you can talk things over in a more controlled environment. Your feelings, thoughts, and concerns will be overseen by a professional, who will be able to take a non-judgmental stance and help give you the tools to thrive again.  In order to truly transform your relationship from “a life sentence” to “perfect harmony” you need self-awareness, clear communication, and healthy boundaries. 

Of course, turning a marriage from a “life sentence” to “harmony” does not happen overnight. But it’s more than worth the time and effort.  Life is short at its longest.  When you’re not happy in your relationship it darkens all areas of your life.  It’s hard to focus and enjoy work, hobbies, and children.  The everyday becomes more and more stressful.  Couple’s Counseling can help you sort through challenges, communicate, and remember what brought you together in the first place.