I'm a specialist in marriage rescue. Most of my clients are couples who come to treatment feeling hopeless about their relationships, but by the end of treatment, they have created great marriages. How? Here's the eight-step pathway I recommend they take:
1. Make a list … of all the issues you argue about. Treatment will be complete when you have found mutually agreeable solutions to these issues, and have learned the skills to resolve new issues as they arise with similarly win-win solutions.
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2. Focus on yourself. Attempts to make your partner change invite defensiveness. Instead, use your energy to figureout what you could do differently to stay loving and good-humored when he does things you hate. Become "self-centered" in the best possible sense.
3. Cut the crap. The negative muck you give each other is totally unhelpful. It only taints a positive relationship. So, no more criticism, complaints, blame, accusations, anger, sarcasm, digs or snide remarks.
No more anger escalations either. Stay in the calm zone. Exit early and often if either of you start to get heated. Calm down and re-engage cooperatively.
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Research psychologist John Gottman has found that marriages generally survive if the ratio of good to bad interactions is five to one. But do you want to survive, or do you want to thrive? If thriving is your goal, aim for a ratio of a million to one. That means, don't sling mud at all. Keep reading ...
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