Are you heading to the 15-year-wall in your marriage?
A lot has been said and written about the 7-year-itch. What a lot of people don’t discuss is the 15 year wall. A new concept, right? What is this 15 year wall? Allow me to explain. Most people, after they get married, wait for at least 3-4 years before having their first child. By the time they reach the 7 year mark, the first child is still young, and probably a second one is on the way. Even if that is not the case, a lot of time and energy is spent after the child. At 7 years, you are still grappling with understanding parenthood and taking care of your child. By nature, child/ren take precedence and the time you spend with just your partner takes a backseat. And here is where the foundation of the 15-year wall starts taking shape.
What is the 15-year-wall?
Now fast forward a decade. Your child is now a teenager, and does not really need you as much as they needed as a toddler. Now after years of your child being the priority, the focus shifts back to your partner. But are you both in the same space – mentally and emotionally? Now that you are both in your 40s, you both are probably very different people. You both have grown as different people, and now at this age you both are pretty set in your ways. You have evolved as a person, you are at a differnt stage in your career, you probably have new set of friends, you have read different books, travelled, and had life experiences that have moulded and shaped you. Now the question is, are you the same person your partner married?
That is when you realise there is a wall between the two of you. A wall that was slowly building and growing, and now is so tall, that it is difficult to understand the start and end of it.
Coming to terms with the wall
Once you know of the existence of this wall, what do you do? Life coach, Gurpreet Singh, suggests the following ways you can approach it:
- Take stock: The very first step is to understand and acknowledge whether or not you want to work towards bringing this wall down. Undoing 15 years of damage is a huge task, and not everyone will be up for it. take stock of where you and your partner is when it comes to your relationship, and how committed you both are towards making the relationship work.
- Take ownership: Always remember, the wall is not one person’s doing. You both have contributed a few bricks each. Taking ownership of your faults and oversights will help you accept yourself and help you decide on how you want to undo those. Taking ownership also saves you from the mud-slinging and getting into the loop of blame games.
- Seek help: Most times, a professional approach can help you understand the situation in a new light and help you find better ways to address the issues. A professional can help you work on not just your relationship, but also on yourself to become a better person and partner.
- Work with your partner: You build the wall together, so you have to break it together as well. Work in sync with your partner, understand their perspective and find a middle ground. It is only through compassionate understanding that you can work towards rectifying the issues.
How to ensure that you DON’T build this wall
- Foresee possible danger: Not every issue has to come with a red flag. Even you know that small issues of today, can become bigger in future. If there is an issue, make it a point to sort it out with your partner as and when it arises, instead of letting it incubate and become bigger.
- Make ‘shared space’ a priority: Provided that you both have your own likes, activities and spaces that you both enjoy. But does that meqan you cannot even discuss what you enjoy, or share an activity or two with your partner? Doing activities together, sharing common space is beneficial for a relationship.
- Maintain the connection with your partner: Even if you have a 100 things lined up in your evryday life, make sure that you have the communication going with your partner. Make them a part of your everyday. Connect on the things that you both have shared and enjoyed. In simpler words, don’t let the spark die.
- Share responsibility: A relationship is between two people, so the responsibility to make it work also lies on both of you. Make sure that you both share responsibilities of the relationship, and everything that it brings with it.
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