how to save a marriage

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  • How to Save

  • How to Save a Marriage Sometimes, letting go seems like the easiest thing to

    do. But think about this: you've invested so much of

    your time and energy into another person (and

    possibly little ones); you've made a solemn promise;

    and you still know there's love, even if it's hiding

    underneath the surface. This article will show you

    how to save a marriage and avoid divorce, even if

    you're the only one trying. If you want to resurrect

    the happy times in your marriage and put the rough

    ones on the back burner, read on for a discussion of

    how to do just that.

  • Finding out What Went Wrong

    1 Make an effort to figure out what went

    wrong. You can't move forward if you don't know

    what's keeping you back. Most relationships and

  • people suffer from a few flaws, and perhaps those

    flaws are getting in the way of a healthy relationship.

    Your job is to take a long, hard look at what you

    think went wrong. Here are just a few:

    Growing incompatibility. Work, family, stress, finance

    and everything else our modern world throws at you

    can cause people to reveal their true colors. Are the

    real-world husband and wife very different from the

    fairy-tale version?

    Infidelity. Is the guilt of an affair weighing on you or

    your spouse? Did confession cause everything to

    suddenly blow up?

    Lack of communication. What you say doesn't get

    processed by your spouse, and what your spouse

    says doesn't get processed by you. Maybe neither of

    you says anything at all.

  • Death of a loved one. You or your spouse's world

    changed irrevocably after someone close to you

    died, and you can't go back to the life you had


    Money. Someone is a spendthrift and the other is a

    penny-pincher, and the twain never meet. Or maybe

    growing financial insecurity is making home life

    bitingly negative.

    Sex. If sex is a physical symbol of your love for one

    another, the wilting of that symbol can be both

    emotionally and physically saddening.

  • 2 Figure out if what went wrong is something

    fixable. It's a perfectly natural response to try to

    save your sinking ship, but what if the ship is so

    tattered that it isn't worth saving? No one can make

  • this decision for you, but know that certain flaws in

    people or relationships might not be worth trying to


    Know that people rarely change. People often say

    they'll change, but they rarely do. After they're

    comfortable, they usually revert back to the people

    they were before. It's not impossible for someone to

    change wholesale, but it's unlikely.

  • 3 Open communication with your spouse. Get

    information from them about how they think the

    relationship can be improved. When bringing up this

  • difficult conversation with your spouse, remember a

    few things:

    Don't be accusatory. Accusing them of something

    will only burn bridges. Instead of"I thought you were

    going to take care of that, which is why I'm angry it

    didn't happen," you can say "We all know that no

    one's perfect. I just thought you were going to take

    care of that, so I was surprised when it didn't


    Count to three before you answer. A lot of the time,

    our impulse is to fight back instead of hear what the

    person is actually saying. Count to three before you

    answer, thinking about what your spouse has said.

    Calm and composure on your end will produce

    similar results on their end.

  • 4 Seek out a marriage counselor (optional). A

    marriage counselor, while expensive, offers highly

    nuanced insight into the clockwork of your marriage.

    A counselor might be able to identify what went

    wrong from an informed, but emotionally distant,

  • place. Because the counselor has no skin in the

    game, so to speak, s/he is less likely to lie, to cut

    corners, or forget inconvenient facts. A marriage

    counselor might very well save your marriage.


  • Test the waters for change. Is your spouse

    absolutely unwilling to bend? If so, it might be hard

    to create the change you want to see in your

    relationship. If you're unsure, test the waters to see if

    your spouse seems willing to make the necessary

    changes to save the relationship. Again, it's hard to

    help somebody who doesn't want to be helped. You

    can test the waters by:

    Asking your spouse if they're willing to see a

    marriage counselor

    Asking your spouse if they love you as much, if not

    more, than they did on your wedding day.

    Asking your spouse if they're willing to sacrifice

    along with you in order to make the relationship


  • Putting the Pieces Back Together

    1 Create a safe space for this communication. A lot

    of the time, a marriage begins to fall apart because

    both parties forget to communicate, feel unsafe or

  • embarrassed communicating, or think they're

    communicating when they're actually not. In order to

    encourage the right sort of communication, think


    Setting aside a time of the day for you and your

    spouse to come together and just talk. No sex, no

    children, no TV, no work. Just talk. If you want to talk

    about your issues, talk about that. If you want to talk

    about your day, talk about that. Setting aside time to

    talk will grease the wheels and encourage deeper


    Let your spouse vent. Sometimes, your spouse just

    wants to get something off their chest: they don't

    want an analysis, they don't want direction, they just

    want a pair of ears and a shoulder to lean on.

  • 2 Don't use threats as a bargaining chip. Often,

    threats are bandied about a failing marriage like

    horseshoes on the 4th of July. Threats don't mean

    you're a bad person, they just mean that you've

  • learned a bad habit, one you should unlearn. The

    problem with threats is that they encourage people

    to do the right things for the wrong reasons: your

    spouse shouldn't want to save the marriage because

    you're threatening to leave them your spouse

    should want to save the marriage because they

    absolutely, deeply love you.

  • 3 Learn how to argue effectively, with

    humility. Arguments in marriage are bound to

    happen. The couples that survive and build on their

    love are able to overcome personal hangups, put

    themselves in their partner's shoes, and learn from

    their mistakes. If you want to save your marriage,

    both you and your spouse are going to have to learn

    how to argue the right way.

    Don't dig up the past. It's really tempting to bring up

    what happened 14 years ago as a piece of evidence

    about why your spouse is undeserving or wrong.

    This misses the point: the point isn't to "win" the

    argument, it's to get your spouse to hear your point

    and possibly change their behavior. If you constantly

    dredge up old dirt on your spouse, they'll feel

  • attacked instead of involved in a discussion. That's

    when the argument starts to go astray.

    Don't use ad-hominem attacks. An ad-hominem

    attack is when you attack a person (their physical,

    emotional, psychological traits) instead of their

    ideas. Sometimes, a trait needs to be criticized and

    dealt with. But too often, it feels like a serious low-

    blow and causes more mudslinging than than

    coming together.

  • 4 Say what you do and do what you say (and

    expect the same from your spouse).A relationship

    is all about trust. Trust is gained when expectations

    are met, and when actions are followed through on.

  • If you say you're going to do something, do it. A

    failure to follow through on your words causes your

    spouse to believe that your words aren't what you

    say they are. This leads to a breakdown in trust.


  • Learn how to celebrate the successes and

    commiserate the failures. Every life is filled with

    ups and downs, just as every person is filled with

    strengths and weaknesses. In a failing marriage, we

    too often use our partner's failures as a chance to

    secretly gloat and pass over our partner's success

    like we take them for granted. What more does a

    husband or wife want than to have their loved one

    be with them in times of despair and share

    happiness with them in times of joy?

    If the idea of celebrating your spouse's successes

    and ruing your spouse's failures sounds horribly

    weird, take a step back and think about what you

    want to get out of your marriage. Most happily

    married couples admit feeling joy for their spouse

    when they're happy and feeling sadness for them

    when they're not.

  • 6 Leave time for some time apart. Falling back into

    love all over again is great, but sometimes that

    personal independence that we all yearn for gets

    lost along the way. Often, what we need is an hour

  • or two of alone-time to engage ourselves in

    something that we absolutely love, whether it's

    gardening, fixing cars, or reading books. If one

    person in the marriage feels smothered, th