If you are looking for ways to save your marriage, it’s probably because it isn’t in the best shape. You are on the internet looking for answers, and every text you read makes it seem more complicated than the last one. The truth is: fixing a broken marriage is not easy. A lot is going on between you and your spouse, and it takes a long time for you to be sure that it won’t lead you into divorce.
The problem with saving marriages is when there is an asymmetrical effort from both parts. Both of you need to be into saving the marriage 100%. Not all marriages go wrong because of something that one of you did like cheating or using drugs. Sometimes life goes by, you become more comfortable with the relationship and stop putting effort into it.
Other times, you let some stress from the outside go into the marriage which can trigger arguments about something small. If you want to solve everything by yourselves, it’s ok. But I would recommend you to get some type of help like couples therapy.
Usually, when people listen to those words, they may think that it is something that only weak people do. It’s like going to the psychologist. People think that just crazy people do it. You don’t need to be crazy to go to the psychologist, and you don’t need to be weak to search for couples therapy. You are looking for help to solve your issues, and that’s it.
Plus, you don’t need to search for it only when you see the divorce coming. The secret is to search for it when you start seeing that your marriage has something wrong with it. It will be easier for you to solve it because you still see the light at the end of the tunnel. All marriages can be saved, and all you have to do is to put your mind and energy into it. Here are some tips that will help you to fix your marriage:
1 – Problems
The first thing you need to do is identify the problems that exist in the relationship especially the ones which bring marital troubles. Not every issue in a marriage comes from an affair or drug use (usually stated as deal breakers). There can be a lot going on in the marriage, so it is essential to find the source of the anger and hopelessness.
Make a list of every issue your marriage has. Ask yourself “why do I feel like this?” and write it down. Be concise, and specific. Don’t say “we don’t get along.” Go to the bottom of it and figure out why it is happening.
The second thing you need to do is to figure out solutions to said problem. Ask your partner what would be the ideal scenario for her/him. If it doesn’t meet your views, achieve a compromise on what you both can work. Rewire your mind to become more receptive to your spouse’s ideas without losing your own.
Also, you should work on yourself. Think about what you are bringing into the marriage: anger? Frustration? Disattachment?
Discover the source of it and eliminate that from your life.
The third thing you need to do is not to demand anything from your spouse. You are in it together. Talk about things you can both do. Focus on what changes you can make rather than what your spouse should be making. Say “Let’s focus on…” “We need to put an effort in…” Never say “You have to do this.”
It will sound like you are attacking your partner and that can be another source of disagreement and put your spouse on alert “If he/he is focusing on me, it’s because he/she is not focusing on himself/herself. So, why should I make an effort?”
Always begin by working on yourself. Your spouse will recognize the effort, and it will help him/her think “Ok, let’s make it work!”
2 – Communication
Trying to save a marriage, takes a lot more than just solving the problems you‘ve been having.
Everyone that is in a relationship will tell you things that their partner does which they don’t like. It may get them frustrated, annoyed, angry but they might not seem annoyed by it in any way. The trick is that you deal with the little stuff. If you say to your spouse “You always ignore me when I’m talking!” he/she will feel that you are attacking him/her. Instead, use constructive words like “I feel belittled and insecure when I say something, and you don’t respond.
I’d appreciate it if we could work on treating each other with more respect.” Always give constructive feedback by addressing the problem and not the other person personality. Also, don’t use yelling as a way to communicate. To save your marriage, both you and your spouse need to keep your emotions in check.
No matter how much frustrated you are, you have to control your temper. It comes all down to the respect given to the other person. If your spouse is yelling, say “I know you are upset, and I feel like yelling too. Screaming won’t take us anywhere. Let’s calm down and show each other respect.”
The second thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t cut communication at any time. Your spouse can be annoying you at that moment but don’t shut up and walk away like nothing is happening. If you do that, you are putting up a wall and not solving any problems. You can say to your partner “I know it’s tough to work through problems, but we need to keep communicating instead of putting up walls.”
Although it is ok for you both to give it some time to calm down instead of discussing something in the heat of the argument, you should never ignore your partner. After calming down, you will see things differently. For it to happen, don’t just walk away with the intention of calming down without telling your partner your plans.
Always say “I think it’s better for us to calm down a little bit and then talk this through.” If you walk away without saying anything, you will give the idea that you are ignoring the problem.
Plus, stop thinking that your partner’s words or actions are malicious towards you. Give him/her the benefit of the doubt. If you feel like you are being ignored, think that maybe he/she is having a bad day.
The third thing you need to do is to stop digging up the past. It can bring up fights that were already forgotten.
Marriage is not about winning the fight. It is about working your way out of it together. Bringing up “dirt” from the past can also make your spouse feel like you are attacking them. It can be hard to forgive but focus on the present and future.
Also, think that you are trying to make your marriage work. Remembering the past most probably will turn out in an argument that in a meaningful conversation. Those types of (good) talks are crucial in every marriage. Make time for it away from the distractions you may have in your day-to-day life (tv, phones, kids…) and discuss your feelings, curiosities and goals instead of chores.
Plus, let your partner vent about his/her day. You don’t need necessarily to give some thought or opinion. Be there with an open heart and mind, so your spouse knows you are there for them, That you are a safe spot. But be patient, this can take some time to appear naturally.
3 – Intimacy
The last thing you need to do is to rebuild the intimacy, and for it to happen you need to start slow. Your passion may be gone, but there are ways to get it back
First, you need to start small. Think about what you did when you were dating. You probably had sex all the time, and you might remember little things that you did, and you don’t anymore. By thinking of it, you are remembering positive aspects of the relationship. It is true that it is something you did in the past, probably many years ago. But it is a start.
After years of stress, monotony, and arguments it can be difficult to even think about one positive thing. Remember the high points of the relationship you have now. If you find something in the past that you would like to do now, why not do it?
When dating, you probably did those small cheesy things for your partner all the time. You left cards saying “I love you”; you gave flowers that you found growing on the street because you saw it and reminded you of your spouse; you would give compliments. Think: when was the last time you did it? Perform acts of kindness every day. Slip a note in their bag before they leave to work saying “Have an amazing day! I love you!”. It will be a pleasant surprise.
The second thing you need to do is to talk. Talking is never enough. Communication is key to let your spouse know what you are thinking and for you to understand what your spouse is feeling.
Open up about your needs either emotional and physical. Let each other know of your fears, wants and desires. Let them know they can talk to you without the fear of judgment. Be honest and trustful and tell your partner precisely those words “I want us to be honest about what we want. I want to fulfill your emotional and physical needs, and we need to let each other know how to be a better partner.”
Plus, go on dates together. Try something different every time to let go of the boredom. Everything goes between having dinner together on a weekday and going out for the weekend. If you have children, have someone you trust to take care of them so you can enjoy spending quality time together.
The third step is to become intimate little by little. This part has to be taken really slow. It can be tough to rebuild a physical bond, so you have to take all the time you need. Start by holding hands and hugging. It will lead to cuddling and eventually sex.
One simple thing you can do is holding hands while watching a movie or asking your partner if they want a back rub at the end of the day. Be sure your spouse is okay with you touching them especially in the initial state of rebuilding intimacy.
In the end, all you need to do is to enjoy each other’s company.
As you know, everything in life that is worth it takes its time. Do you want a mansion? You need to work years and years before you can afford it. Do you want a successful marriage? You have to work every day of your life to make it happen. As my mother always told me: Good things don’t come easy. It takes hard work and a lot of time and energy from you. She is right.
Not all days in a marriage will be good, but most of them will be perfect. Even after using all these tips, you will notice that there will be days when things are not ok, at all. At that time you need to adapt and change your behavior towards it. Don’t think that because something as worked until now, that it will work forever. The world is in constant change and so is your relationship.