Pilots are trained to depend on their instruments, not their senses. If a pilot loses sight due to inclement weather or other environmental conditions, he must stay focused on his instruments, or risk experiencing “vertigo.” Vertigo can occur when the pilot loses the ability to determine his or her direction and relies on senses instead of instrumentation. They temporarily forget the truth they see on the navigation panel, and allow their sensations to guide them.

Sometimes we can experience “vertigo” in our marriage. We lose sight of the commitments we made in the beginning — to love and cherish, to overlook faults, to take care of the weak and the sick, to protect and provide for each other, to put each other first, to stay together for life. Lets face it — life gets tough sometimes. Bills, conflict, unmet expectations, extended illness, unplanned pregnancy, isolation, job loss, are just a few examples of issues that can cause vertigo. The sensations cause us to feel like we are an unwanted, unloved, failing, imperfect person who either doesn’t need or deserve the other person we are doing life with. Our sensations tell us we would be better off alone; we fail to see the new issues, the new complications that will certainly appear if we make that choice. We allow our feelings to dictate our choices rather than our beliefs, our convictions. Vertigo results — the feeling that we are out of balance, and with it, chaos. The result is unhappiness in the marriage, and a belief that “our marriage is worse than anyone else’s.”. We tell ourselves that “no one would believe it is this bad,” and “nobody would understand.”. This results in more isolation which further fuels the “vertigo.”

The good news is you are not alone and you don’t have to continue experiencing the vertigo. No matter what the issue is, your issues do not define you. Take your focus off your sensations and focus on your instrument panel. What foundational principles do you know to be true about any marriage? Build on the foundation. Utilize resources to strengthen your relationship. Spend time creating a vision for your marriage, and working at building unity with your spouse. Have fun together. Find common goals. Take pride in what you have accomplished, and celebrate together. Exercise your faith, and pray together. Marriage was meant to last a lifetime.

20140218-183657.jpg. David and Cindy Southworth are certified marriage coaches and the owners of Breakwater Coaching. To learn more about them, go to Breakwater Coaching