All relationships, including marriages, inevitably have ups and downs. Sometimes you can have some serious downs that can jeopardize your marriage. This article is about helping to right the ship—how to save a marriage. Unfortunately, it’s no magic pill, but we hope to start you on the right road to fixing this important union.
Here are eight strategies that couples can use on to save their marriage.
1. REALIZE THAT NO ONE IS PERFECT
People often want to divorce once they discover flaws in the relationship and once they find that their lives are not what they imagined them to be. One solution some people come up with is to find someone else. But it’s a fantasy to think that you can have a perfect relationship with someone new. The reality is that a new relationship will be exciting in the beginning, just as your current one probably was, but problems will develop with the new person, too. And if you have children, there will be a whole other level of problems to deal with. It’s often worth saving your marriage instead of starting over with someone new, only to experience the same problems you had before.
And if you have children, there will be a whole other level of problems to deal with. It’s often worth saving your marriage instead of starting over with someone new, only to experience the same problems you had before.
2. ENSURE OPEN COMMUNICATION
We’re talking non-judgmental and non-confrontational communication here for saving a marriage. One way to start is to first gather your thoughts. Wait until you have some time to yourself and are alone. Then write down what’s bothering you about your marriage. When you’re alone and reflecting on what you think the problems are, you aren’t in combat mode – yelling and arguing with your husband. Plus, writing down your thoughts will make it easier when it’s time to talk with your spouse.
3. STOP COMMUNICATION AND JUST TOUCH
If you’ve grown apart to the point that you stop touching each other, start doing so again. This is a great way of saving a marriage. Take baby steps, maybe by sitting by him on the couch when watching TV, making sure that your bodies are touching. What you’re doing is setting the scene so that the two of you will want to touch and have sex with each other again. You don’t have to say anything.
You might feel awkward at first, but try doing it a few times, and it might start to feel natural. You can then move on from there. Hold his hand, rub his back, massage his feet, and spoon him in bed. Once you start touching, you’ll both start feeling better about each other, and the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, will kick in, making the two of you feel close again. This is why cuddling is important.
You and your husband might then start reconnecting on an emotional level, all without having had to say a word and, thus, saving your marriage.
4. COMMIT TO FIXING THINGS
He might have betrayed you. You’re angry, hurt, and have lost trust. A divorce might be in the cards, but don’t make this decision too quickly when you’re working on saving a marriage. When you’re in a highly emotional state, you can’t make the best decisions. Wait until you can take some time to think things through.
If there were no big event that’s causing you to consider divorce, commit to working out the problems to see whether saving your marriage is in the cards. You don’t want to divorce someone knowing that you could have done more. You want to be able to say that you did all you could to save your marriage. It takes work to have a good marriage. You both have to give it your all, be respectful of the other person, and recognize your own issues that you’re bringing to the marriage.
5. REALIZE WHAT YOUR LIFE MIGHT BE LIKE POST DIVORCE
If you and your partner take the easy way out and leave when things get rough, maybe even running to someone new for a fresh start, realize that, if you have children together, you will need to deal with your now ex and his new partner. Saving your marriage might prove to be the better option. You might really dislike this new woman your man is with; yet she’ll be raising your children too, and you’ll have to deal with her. If you show your contempt for her or for your (now) ex-husband, you’re hurting your children. Do you think a life like this is better than what you have now? Maybe it will be, and maybe it won’t. But this is one reason you should do everything you can to save your marriage before calling it quits.
6. AVOID NEGATIVE AND COMPLAINING BEHAVIORS
If you go through life looking for what’s wrong and then complaining about your findings all the time, you’ll be difficult to live with. And if your partner is like that, it’s probably putting a strain on your relationship. No one wants to be around constant negativity and complaining behavior, let alone having to live with such a person. Negative people can drain your energy, and can leave you feeling frustrated and unhappy yourself. If your partner is the complainer, try to understand the reasons he’s so negative. Negative people are typically afraid, and this fear usually stems from one of the following:
- Fear of being disrespected
- Fear of not being loved
- Fear of bad things happening
If you can get your partner to understand why he’s so negative, you have a chance of getting him to change and saving your marriage. But, negative people typically don’t like being criticized (no one does, really!).
So another option is to be compassionate since you know that the negativity is coming from fear. Make sure you stay positive even if you’re dealing with a negative partner. Model positivity for him, and take some time away from him if he’s bringing you down. Over time, your positivity might rub off. After all, people would rather go through life feeling happy and positive than negative and fearful.
If you are the negative person in the relationship, find ways to start liking yourself better. Maybe you can do this on your own, or maybe seeking professional help can allow you to get rid of your fears and learn how to have a positive outlook on life.
7. FIND HELP IF ADDICTION IS A PROBLEM
If addiction is a problem in your marriage, the marriage might not survive. Before you divorce, there are things you can do if you’re married to an addict. You can join a program for spouses of addicts. Programs exist for people who live with alcoholics, drug addicts, gamblers, people with a food addiction, and sex addicts who might also be addicted to porn. You might wish to try an intervention, which is a treatment plan for everyone involved with the addict, not just for the addict. And, if your spouse is ready to stop, he can go to rehab.
Sadly, in the case of addiction, nothing might work to save your marriage, and you might not have any other choice but divorce, especially if you have children. The addict might be endangering their lives by driving drunk with them in the car, gambling your rent money away, or having sex outside the marriage, all of which leads to both parents focusing on the addiction and not on the children.
8. A 2-PERSON JOB
A marriage in trouble isn’t sustainable if only one spouse is willing to do the work to make the marriage better. If you’re unhappy, for example, and he’s happy, it won’t take long before you’ll become emotionally distant from your spouse, leave your spouse for someone else, or just leave to be by yourself. Before any of that happens, try to get your spouse to work with you on improving your marriage. When you are both calm, take these steps on how to save your marriage:
- Have a discussion about what the problem is.
- Brainstorm solutions. A solution must work for both of you so that you’ll both be on board and excited about the changes.
Saving a marriage is not easy. But in the long run, it’s often worth it. We may live in a disposable society, but a marriage is not something you should throw away unless you’ve done everything you could to save it. We hope we’ve provided a start for you on how to save your marriage. There’s plenty more relationship advice where this came form.