Maybe you prefer to call it ‘sweeping things under the rug’. Whichever one you prefer, this is something that is often prevalent in a failing marriage. But why is this? Is it just because it’s easier that way? Or is it because it’s actually the best thing for a marriage?
What lurks beneath your carpet(or rug if you prefer)? What does that elephant that rudely appears in the room from time to time represent? That can of worms that never gets opened? Here’s the thing – what if this issue was brought to the fore and could pave the way for the marriage to get better? Just imagine if that entire subject that you usually dare not touch was resolved. Instead of feeling anxious every time you think about it, you could feel proud that you resolved the entire issue.
Issues That Can Cast a Cloud Over An Entire Marriage
There are literally hundreds of issues that can negatively affect a marriage, even if they are never mentioned. They could be things that one of the couple doesn’t even know about, or things that are well known to both, but are too painful to talk about, or the mere mention of them creates a communication breakdown.
A classic example is an affair. It can be an affair that was revealed or one that has never been revealed. The latter of those is something I completely oppose. If there has been infidelity in a marriage, then in my opinion, the other party deserves to know. The marriage is almost a ‘false’ one otherwise.
I am not a believer in the ‘what they don’t know won’t hurt them’ way of thinking, especially when it comes to marriage. In fact, I am about as much against infidelity and lies as it’s possible to be. With that said, I don’t always think it should immediately spell the end of a marriage. It is down to the couple, and if both are willing to work through things, then I applaud and admire them for doing so. But to do that, and to move forward effectively, there needs to be complete transparency about any indiscretions, including how and why.
When an affair has been revealed and the couple decide to move forward, then in my opinion they need to overcome it, not ignore it. Infidelity can rock the very foundations(trust, communication, intimacy) a marriage is built on so it would be completely misguided to just carry on as if it didn’t happen. Isn’t talking about it opening a can of worms? Yes, maybe, but sometimes that can of worms needs to be opened so things can progress.
An affair is perhaps one of the most extreme examples of something that gets swept under the carpet. There are so many others. A common one is lack of physical intimacy. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s extremely rare for both libidos to be matched perfectly so there are inevitably going to be periods of time where that side of things just doesn’t happen. In fact, for some people, that side of things is non-existent for weeks, months and even years. Talking about sex is often quite a difficult subject as it is, but it can be especially daunting in this kind of situation.
If one of the couple wants more sex and the other one just isn’t interested, instead of trying to bring up the issue, sometimes that person can just decide it is easier just not to ever mention it. That can be dangerous though, and not just because of that bulge under the carpet that is going to get tripped over one day.
In some cases, people(and I’m not going to generalise and say it’s always men, because it can be both sexes) decide to go elsewhere to get their needs met. Is that the right approach? Absolutely not! Is there a chance of it happening? In some cases, yes. It is inevitable. Sad, but true.
Other things that live under the carpet or rug range from seemingly small things like the delegation of work and childcare in the household. I know in my marriage that the roles(or rather lack of!) with regards to maintaining the house used to often cause tension between us. Yet it was resolved pretty easily (initially within counseling) by simply discussing which things we were each prepared to do and sticking to those things. Now isn’t that much better than getting stressed about things not getting done and building up resentment about what you have to do and what the other person isn’t doing? Absolutely!
The whole point I am trying to get across in this article is that sweeping things under the carpet just isn’t healthy. Yes, it’s maybe easier in the short-term, but the more difficult approach often yields the best results. If you’re prepared to work hard at your marriage, you have a very good chance of making it work.
How You Can Move Forward
Think carefully about what lurks under the rug/carpet in your marriage. The unwelcome elephant that inhabits the rooms of your house. The can of worms that is labelled ‘do not open!’. Is it holding your marriage back? Is it creating tension between you? Is it a dark cloud that always lurks overhead? If so, it might be time to think about overcoming this issue. But how will you even begin to go about tackling it? These tips should help:-
1. Identify exactly what this issue is and why it has such a negative impact on your marriage in your own head before you even think about going to your partner with it.
2. Think about the pitfalls of bringing this issue to the fore. If it is something your partner isn’t aware of(like an affair, for example), think about how they might react to such a revelation.
3. Think about what you hope to gain and more importantly, how the marriage will benefit from this issue being resolved.
4. Don’t blurt it out, and never bring it up during an argument. You need the right circumstances and atmosphere for a serious talk like this.
5. If the issue is extremely big, daunting to talk about and you are worried about the negative consequences it may bring, consider tackling it with the help of a professional marriage counselor.
Adversity is inevitable in life and marriage, and it gives us a chance to grow. Clearing the air and making a fresh start could be the beginning of a happier life, and a happier marriage.