How To Save A Marriage: 11 Tips Proven To Work
If you feel like divorce is inevitable and your marriage is nearing its end, don’t give up just yet. We know just how to save a marriage and we’re here to help.
No marriage is perfect — that much is true. You’ll bicker about small things and big issues, but these don’t mean your union is kaput. It just means you’re partners, working through challenges and experiences together.
Sometimes, though, it can feel like all hope is lost. You can’t look at your spouse without wanting to start a fight, and being together just feels tiring and draining. All you can think of are all the transgressions and the regrets and you are pretty much ready to throw in the towel.
Don’t! Before you give up, you need to know that it’s not the end. There are a few things you can do to save your marriage.
Before proceeding, however, we need to have a frank discussion. Do you want to save this marriage? Commitment is required, because trying to make a partnership work will not succeed if you’re not in this 100%.
So, before we go in: make sure you know what you want. Don’t let external factors figure in your decision. At this junction, ask yourself: do you want this marriage? Do you want to fight for it and keep it going?
Only you can provide the real heartfelt answer that you need, so take some time for soul-searching. This is a “you” moment, and you have to be honest with yourself before making any further decisions.
Now if you’ve made up your mind and you know that you want to keep your spouse and fight for this, we’re ready to spill the beans and share exactly how to save a marriage. Roll up your sleeves — it is time to work.
Say goodbye to “what if”.
Regret is part of human nature. It’s hard not to look back sometimes, wondering if life would be easier if you’ve made different choices.
Perhaps on a particularly bad day, you wonder if you chose the right person. Maybe this marriage is a failure because you made a bad choice.
These “what if” scenarios are normal, but they are not helpful. They’re not productive and they don’t contribute positively to your marriage.
It’s not that you’re a terrible person for having these thoughts, because they can happen to the best of us. However, you do not want to dwell on them and you definitely do not want to feed them.
At this point, you have to focus on what is, not what could have been. If you are serious about saving your marriage, you have to eschew regret and work with what you have right now. Otherwise, you won’t be fixing anything and your marriage will continue with its unfortunate nosedive.
Forget the cold shoulder technique.
A lot of people say you need to give each other space and to take some time apart to resolve issues. Forget that.
Sure, you need to be individuals even in a partnership, and you don’t want to be co-dependent. You need to spend time with your respective groups of friends and relatives. That’s fine and perfectly normal. In fact, that’s the sort of independence and space that keeps marriages healthy and happy.
However, a lot of people attempt to use silence and space to punish their partner. They use this method to let their spouse know that they are unhappy.
Unfortunately, at a certain point, absence no longer works to make the heart grow fonder. In fact, the longer the time you spend apart (in anger, we might add), the more estranged you become.
Besides, the cold shoulder approach really provides no resolution to issues. It just annoys your spouse and eventually, freezing them out isn’t going to be punishment — it’s going to be the norm.
Do it enough times and you’ll be pushing them away — for good.
Don’t blab to friends and family.
We all need some outlet to vent — that’s understandable. Women will talk to their friends on the phone, while men will go out to the pub to let off steam.
That being said, you need to know what you can and can’t share with your support group. Think of how you’re painting the image of your spouse when you vent to your friends.
Are you telling them things that should remain private? Are you turning him into the villain in every story?
You’re partners in this marriage, and barring serious issues like domestic abuse or adultery, there’s really no reason to air out dirty laundry. You could end up damaging your spouse’s reputation irrevocably.
This is because the issues you share might not be serious to you, and you’ll eventually get over them, but they come off differently to your listeners. Telling them about that time your spouse lost their cool and yelled at you may not have been a major event from your perspective, but it can read very differently for your friends.
You’ll forgive your spouse, but you friends and family pretty much never will, so be smart with what information you share.
Figure out your stress coping mechanisms.
Most advice articles on how to save a marriage will tell you that you just have to be more patient with your spouse and to let go of the small issues that anger you. That’s not entirely wrong, but it doesn’t address the real issue.
Have you ever taken the time to identify your stress coping behavior? How do you handle a difficult day at work?
Perhaps a stressful day makes you more prone to irritability and even the smallest issues like leaving the cap off the toothpaste becomes a major matter to fight over.
When you’re stressed, how do you talk to your spouse? How do you respond to their inquiries? Do you get testy and respond with one-word answers?
These are things we tend to overlook, especially since the default is to push the blame towards someone else. Stress is something we all have to deal with, and how you handle it can definitely affect the way you interact with the people you live with.
Fixing a marriage doesn’t have to be a two-man job — right away.
You always see these advice columns saying you just have to work together to make things work. Definitely, the two of you will have to be committed to make a marriage work.
However, it is possible to start on your own for the time being, without having to involve your spouse just yet.
We’ve already talked about figuring out how you handle stress. That’s the first step. Now you have to think about your role in the issues that bog down your marriage.
Are you too controlling? Can you be less repetitive? There are many ways by which you can work on improving yourself first. Taking these efforts can make things better immediately before you even start working with your spouse.
One quick reminder — you do not want to use this opportunity to paint yourself as the victim. Don’t see this as you making the only effort to make things work. That sort of mentality defeats the entire effort.
See, you want to improve yourself in order to impact the relationship positively. Without this sincerity, the whole thing is a sham. Making yourself the martyr isn’t going to help your marriage one bit.
Commit to not being passive-aggressive.
Being sarcastic and sniping at your spouse may seem like a fun way to let them know you’re unhappy, but it isn’t.
When you communicate in a passive-aggressive manner, you’re shutting the discussion down before it even starts. It doesn’t get your real message across, because the only thing your spouse hears is anger.
The real issue is obscured and nothing gets resolved. That’s almost exactly the opposite of good communication!
When you talk to your spouse, commit to being straightforward and honest, minus the sarcasm. Eliminate that passive-aggressive tone if you want to be heard.
Be honest, but more importantly — be kind.
You know how some people like to excuse their lack of tact by saying that they’re just being honest?
That’s the opposite of what you want when talking to your spouse. Honesty is important in any marriage, definitely, but you do not want to be hurtful. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as they say.
Sit your spouse down, share your feelings, but always — always — be kind. Don’t take on an aggressive stance because it shuts the discussion down straight away. If you value your spouse, talk to them in a way that lets them know this.
Offer solutions, not just complaints.
You can talk about issues all day, but nothing will happen if you aren’t honest with what you want to achieve.
Let’s say your spouse isn’t very healthy, and this is an issue that truly bothers you. You are worried that your spouse will fall ill and leave you all alone, and that’s a valid concern!
But how are you to communicate this with your spouse? The usual method is to nag. You try to police their food, you ask about their drinking habits constantly, and you start talking about their physical fitness.
Your spouse won’t hear the concern in your tone. Rather, they’ll focus on your criticism and think that you hate them for not being as fit as they used to be. It becomes an attack instead of a show of concern.
So what can you do? Talk solutions, not complaints. Ask them to join you on a full physical check-up. Invite them to go running or hiking. Tell them that you are worried about their health (directly and honestly) then suggest the solutions.
Learn to respect each other’s boundaries.
Want to know how to save a marriage? Learn to respect each other.
When you’ve been together for a long time, it can be easy to fall into certain patterns. You lose the boundaries you’ve set up and it becomes a little too easy to forget that you’re still individuals even though you’re in a relationship.
If your spouse constantly reminds you to pick up after yourself, it doesn’t mean that they’re obsessive-compulsive. They’re not a “neat freak”. Keeping your shared space clean and tidy is a show of respect.
Talking to your friends and oversharing about matters that should be kept within the marriage? That shows a significant lack of respect for your spouse.
Don’t just compromise — cooperate.
People tend to think of marriage as compromise, but this can build serious resentment. Eventually, you’ll start keeping score. Did you go to your spouse’s family’s vacation even when you didn’t want to? Well, why aren’t they coming to your family’s vacation next week?
This breeds contempt over time. You start wondering why you’re doing so much and your spouse seems to get their way all the time.
But marriage isn’t built on compromise. Look at it as a matter of cooperation. You’re in a relationship, and the two of you have to work together to face any challenges or issues that come along.
What does this mean, practically? This means you have to talk about the issues and figure out what works for the both of you. You need to cooperate and handle these problems as a team, with the overall goal being peace and happiness in your marriage.
Be positive when it comes to your spouse.
It’s very easy to let the negativity eat you up, especially when you’re upset. However, you are committing to making this marriage work, and as such you have to make a clear effort to be positive towards your spouse.
We’re human, and it can be easy to start sniping at your spouse if you’ve had a bad day and need someone to snip at. It can be very easy, in fact, to start nitpicking at your spouse if they did something wrong.
However, if you want this marriage to succeed, you’ll have to commit to staying positive. Be attentive, be kind, be generous, and be loving towards your spouse.
Don’t let negative feelings eat at you! Sure, sometimes a marriage has real problems that cannot be papered over with a commitment to positivity. However, most marriages fail at the simple matters, and trying to focus on loving your spouse — no strings attached — can go a long way in keeping your relationship happy, successful, and long-lasting.
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