Difficulty Saying No 

Do you or your spouse have difficulty saying no to people? Sometimes people strive to be people pleasers. They spend their evenings and weekends helping others and staying busy. This can take a toll on the marriage.

Maybe you feel like you can’t decline an invitation even when you don’t want to go. Or maybe you frequently volunteer to help others with home improvement projects, party planning, or childcare. Perhaps you recognize this as taking a toll on your own family. Maybe you’ve even become resentful of all the things you feel you have to do.

Some people become wrapped up in organized activity. Maybe you coach basketball, teach Sunday School, and volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Perhaps you planned to help out just a little, but soon found yourself way more involved than you anticipated. Perhaps you feel you can’t stop because of fear you will let someone down or that no one else will step forward if you don’t do it.

Other people have a large social circle and they remain active with many people. However, they just can’t say no when they are invited to a bridal shower, wedding, or party. Or maybe you are a helper by nature. You help your neighbor put on a new roof, your friend install a new floor, and fix your mother’s car.

Having a healthy marriage is all about balance. When people can’t say no and set healthy boundaries with others outside the marriage, it can create problems within the relationship. The other partner is often left feeling frustrated about the person’s absence.

Helping others becomes a problem when it causes you to neglect your own family responsibilities. If you skip on completing household tasks or don’t spend enough time with your family due to being busy with others, it can create relationship problems. Learning how to set appropriate boundaries and putting the needs of your marriage first are important.

If your partner seems to be neglecting your relationship, share your feelings. Discuss your frustrations and the impact that it is having on the marriage. Assert yourself and explain your needs. Work with your partner on how you can be supportive of one another.

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