Make Your Marriage Work By Using Pain as a Weapon for Good

Wow that title sounds sinister doesn’t it!


No, we didn’t write an article about how to make your marriage work by using a weapon on your partner. We’re talking about using pain as a weapon for good against yourself to make your marriage work!


Let us ask you a few questions:

All marriages have seasons (or ups and downs), but how do you currently try to make your marriage work?
How do you withstand the seasons of your marriage?

Do you try everything you can to hide from and avoid problems or do you tackle them as quickly as possible?


Today, we’ll share with you one way to make it through the tough times and create more love and passion in your marriage.

First, let us tell you a little story!


Have you ever had problems paying your bills? Years ago, I racked up some credit card debt. As a broke student, I didn’t think there was any way I could pay the debt off.


So what did I do?


I started avoiding all of my bills. At first, it felt great. I didn’t have to worry about my mounting debt and I could instantly feel better by hiding from my money problems.


Whenever I did briefly focus on my financial situation, I concocted all kinds of reasons why my financial woes were other people’s or company’s fault.


Eventually, I couldn’t avoid my bills very effectively. I still wasn’t paying most of them, but my thoughts were soon consumed by my increasing financial problems. I became stressed out, had difficulties sleeping and generally just wanted to crawl into a cave and hide.


That’s when I reached my pain threshold, where the pain of not handling the problem was bigger and more real than the pain of doing something.


I immediately took action, made sacrifices, stopped spending on stupid things I didn’t really care about, and paid off all of my debt in a couple of years.

Once I stopped avoiding the problems and had a plan to deal with them, I started sleeping again and didn’t feel like my head was going to explode from stress any more. I could actually relax and enjoy life again.


When I look back on that time in my life now, it all seems silly and unnecessary. I didn’t really have a problem with money. Everything happened because of my avoidance of the situation.


At the time, I believed that the pain of looking in the mirror (or in this case my bills) and doing something about it was greater than the pain of avoiding my problems.


I was running from my problems to seek relief, but ended up in pain.


Have you ever done that? Financially or otherwise?


How Do You Use Pain in your Marriage?


Does pain keep you stuck?


Most of us allow perceived pain and fear to keep us stuck in our relationships and to avoid problems.  We get into the habit of avoiding dealing with issues because it feels good in the moment and we perceive it would be really painful to take a look at our own choices.


Even if we are facing our problems, we aren’t looking at what really matters! Our own choices are the most crucial factor in determining our relationship happiness. Instead, we tend to blame our partner, in-laws, or anyone else that we can pin our problems on. Soon enough, our relationship begins to look like the financial situation I described above.


I get it, many of your relationship problems may be as a result of your partner’s actions. But, if you want to make your marriage work, the best thing you can do is to look at yourself and how you can start to make better choices.


The current state of your marriage is a result of both your partner’s and YOUR choices. If you don’t do some work on yourself, I can almost guarantee you will find yourself in the same relationship situation again, whether it’s with your current partner or someone else.


The more you avoid looking at your own choices, the more pain you will feel in the end.


Create the Habit of Focusing on Your Choices


Remember when I said most people run from their problems and avoid looking at their own choices to seek relief but end up in more pain?


People in loving, passionate marriages have often created the habit of enduring the small initial pain of examining their own choices and end up feeling relieved and great pleasure in the end.


To make your relationship work you need to start using pain differently.


What if instead of focusing on the possible pain of looking at your own choices, you started focusing on the pain of not looking at yourself or making a change?


To get unstuck and improve your relationship you can use pain and pleasure in two ways.

— Focus your attention on how not looking at your own choices or changing your behavior will be more painful than doing so

— Focus your attention on how looking at your own choices and changing your own behavior will bring you immediate pleasure


Answer these questions to start using Pain and Pleasure to make your relationship work:

— What short-term pain have you associated to examining your own choices or behavior?

— What short-term pleasure have you felt from not examining your own choices or behavior? (relief, sense of comfort, certainty it’s all your partner’s fault etc…)

— Describe in detail what will happen if you don’t look at your own choices or behavior? Will you stay stuck? Will you get a divorce? Will you be single and lonely? Will you find yourself in the exact same painful situation with your next partner? What will you lose? What dreams will you have to give up if you don’t change? With your current choices and behavior, what quality of marriage do you see for yourself next year? In 5 years? In 10 years?

— How will focusing on making better choices and changing your own behavior improve your relationship right now? What immediate benefits would you experience? How would it help you feel more happiness, passion and love in your relationship?


Say Yes to Love,

Dr. Michael Arn & Dr. Ashley Arn