The popularity of zombie movies is at an all time high. Nearly 50 zombie movies were made in 2015 alone. The Walking Dead, a TV show about zombies, is super successful and in its sixth season. Although zombies are fictional characters, thinking about the best way to react if zombies try taking over the world (the zombie apocalypse) is something many adults actually think about. I never really understood the attraction to zombies, until recently.
All I knew is zombies are disgusting. They’re grossly disfigured creatures who chase people by shuffling around and groaning. Due to my limited understanding of zombies, my co-workers gladly volunteered to educate me in all things zombie. Apparently zombies have their strange appearance and poor motor and verbal skills because they are not alive. But they’re also not dead. They are “undead” which is difficult to explain fully, even by so called zombie experts. A virus of some kind makes zombies animated enough to try to eat people, especially their brains. After this education I was informed but even less interested. Then a co-worker changed my outlook on zombie movies. She said “Zombies aren’t really the point, the stories are really about how the people overcome the problem of zombies.”
Now I get it. Zombie shows and zombie movies have the same story arc as all epic adventures. People face an impossible challenge which promises to destroy them. Through hardship and sacrifice people come together to overcome evil.
You may have little interest in zombie movies but the lessons from them could save your marriage.
Understand your spouse is not the problem.
During the first session of marriage counseling, I often ask couples to describe why they came to counseling. Each couple has their own style but most start by detailing the reasons their partner is a terrible person. “He’s controlling and lazy” to which he replies “she’s a liar and a complainer.” Couples who view their problems as central to their spouse’s identity never last. If you spend your entire marriage mistaking your spouse for a zombie you’ll both end up destroyed.
Identify the real problem.
Zombie movies do this well. The zombies are clearly the enemy, they’re trying to eat people after-all. The people must destroy the zombies before they become zombie dinner. You and your spouse must clearly identify the enemy and work together to destroy it before it ends your marriage. Marriage problems always come from outside and attack the marriage.
Embrace your true identity.
Each spouse is a hero. You’re the heroes in the story of your marriage. The problems you’ll face as a couple are like zombies. You can’t interact with them and try to talk them out of wanting to eat you. Start talking to your spouse like they’re the solution to the problem rather than the problem. People who team up against zombies have a better chance to win. Be the hero your marriage needs.
Communicate your identity as a team by changing your words and tone from “they” to “we.” “He’s addicted to methamphetamine” becomes “we are facing the challenge of addiction” “She’s a liar” becomes “we are working on changing the environment of mistrust.” “He always acts so depressed” becomes “we are facing the challenge of mental illness and working to understand how it impacts our marriage.” “She always does her own thing” becomes “we are learning how to rely on each other while remaining individuals.”
Identify the problem in a way you can both attack.
If 37 zombies attacked your spouse at once, you wouldn’t stand around and hope your spouse survives, you’d attack too. Facing problems as a married couple will never work if only one person takes action. Both of you are heroes, neither of you should go alone or wait for the other to attack problems first. Avoiding problems never works in the long term. Defending against zombie attacks is good but doesn’t work as well as aggressively taking the fight to them.
Get some killer weapons.
Zombies are hard to fight off with bare hands. You and your spouse need to use available weapons in your battle against life’s problems. If money causes problems, get a budget and an accountant. If you’re facing communication difficulties get a good relationship book, or my 30 days of better communication course. If you’re facing intimacy issues, find a counselor. Get a weapon and destroy the problems violently.
What would you do to survive a zombie attack?
What’s your zombie apocalypse strategy?