Eight Steps To Start Saving (Or Growing) Your Marriage Today
What is the condition of your marriage?
How healthy is your relationship with your spouse?
If things stay the same in your marriage, where will your relationship be in 3, 5 or 10 years? Will you still be together? Will you be happy, or struggling to maintain a weakening, fading relationship?
Marriage problems are rising today as couples are confronted with stress, trouble and challenges that they never dreamed they would have to face.
Many couples become weary and exhausted because of the relentless onslaught of marital conflict they encounter everyday. And so they call it quits because they can’t take it anymore.
Please know that you do not have to accept a deteriorating relationship. And getting a divorce isn’t the only, or even the best, solution for getting out of a lousy marriage.
You are not helpless, powerless or hopeless.
You have choices. And one them is the attitude you will choose to have towards your marriage. You can decide to approach your marriage with optimism – that you will figure out a way to save it – or with pessimism.
So let’s talk about a few ways you can start saving your marriage from undergoing further damage.
(Please keep in mind that if your marriage is dull, bland and boring, and has become a comfortable environment in which you and your spouse coexist, then your relationship needs saving, too even though you might have decided not to get divorced. Just because a couple is married doesn’t mean that they are married.)
Step 1: Understand The Reasons Why You Are Having Problems
What is causing your relationship to deteriorate? Is it unresolved conflict? Poor communication? Anger? Arguing? Cheating? Parenting conflicts? Addictions? A co-dependent spouse? Too little time together? You owe it to yourself to take time for reflection.
Perhaps make two columns on a piece of paper. At the top of one column write, “Strengths” and over the other “Weaknesses.” This might help you to identify and understand the reasons why you are having marriage problems.
Once you understand the underlying problems, then, and only then, can you move forward with finding the best solutions.
Step 2: Understand Your Spouse
How well do you know your spouse? Do you realize that they’re probably not the same person you married years ago? People grow. They change.
Do you still understand who your spouse is – their wants, dreams and needs? Do you really know them?
Step 3: Understand Yourself
You’re not the same person that your spouse married, either. In what ways have you changed as you’ve matured through the years? Does your spouse understand you – do they really know you, too anymore?
Step 4: Practice Patience, Tolerance and Respect
It takes tremendous effort to keep a relationship healthy and alive. Impatience, intolerance, and disrespect are like throwing acid on a flower.
If you are determined to save your marriage and begin growing a healthy and happy relationship, then you must be a gracious person; take the high road. If this is too difficult a task at first, then take your spouse to a marriage counselor who will help you through the emotional anger, resentment and bitterness that’s poisoning your marriage.
But something that is equally poisonous and harmful is indifference. Maybe you and your spouse are polite and courteous to each other but that is all; there is no connection, spark or warmth. If this is the case, then you’re in trouble, too. Find a marriage counselor.
Step 5: Put Your Ego In Timeout
It’s surprising, the things we do to protect our egos. We will defend ourselves at all costs; lash out; ignore; justify; rationalize.
Here is something to consider: What’s stronger – your ego or your marriage?
Your ego exists to serve your marriage your marriage doesn’t exist to serve your ego.
Step 6: Create A Safe Emotional Environment
You and your spouse should be able to discuss anything. You should be able to share all of your worries, concerns, problems, fears, wants, needs and desires. And it should be done within caring, loving and supportive environment.
Is your marriage safe?
Are you able to share your heart with your spouse while knowing that he or she will not try to hurt you? If not, is creating a safe environment something you can work on together? Or is their a mental health or addiction issue that requires professional intervention?
Either way, creating a safe emotional environment is essential for constructive communication and to saving your marriage – and for growing a healthy, happy and long lasting relationship.
If I were you, this is one of the first places I would start. I would do whatever I could to create a safe environment. The world is hash enough. Our homes need to be safe havens for our families.
Step 7: Schedule Quality Chunks Of Quantity Time
You and your spouse require time together. If through the years your careers and other activities have kept you apart, and your marriage is struggling as a result, then please schedule some chunks of quality and quantity time.
You need to do this more than once because time together might feel a little awkward at first. So schedule four or five dates for you to enjoy and get to know each other again.
You might consider planning a romantic vacation to reconnect. Some other things you can do are: Share love notes, surprise gifts, romantic dinners at home. Take an interest in each other again.
Step 8: Focus On The Promise Not On The Pain
Here’s what I know from working with countless couples: Focusing on the pain only makes things worse. Use pain as a motivator to focus on the promise of things getting better.
Your marriage is worth saving. And you deserve to be in a happy, fulfilling relationship with your spouse.
So whether your marriage is falling apart and you feel that you’re on the verge of divorce, or you’re in a dull, bland and boring relationship where you’re only going through the motions, consider these eight steps and choose to do two or three of them because when you do you will be back on track to being mad about marriage again.