“Can my marriage be saved?!”
This is a question we hear from so many people who email, call or see us in person. It’s a question that often comes from a place of frustration, fear and anguish.
When you and your partner got married, you probably spoke vows to one another. With whatever specific words you chose, you promised to love and honor one another. And now, you wonder what happened to those marriage promises.
Because of the decline of your relationship, you and your partner may feel so very far away from where you used to be...when you were blissfully in love.
Some very serious damage has possibly been done through lying, name calling, cheating or other harmful actions. You worry that there’s no way to save your marriage at this point.
And maybe you’re right
An uncomfortable but essential question to ask when you believe your marriage is on the brink of divorce is this...
“Is it healthy and wise for me to stay in this relationship?”
If you are being abused or abusive, staying together might not be safe for you or your spouse. Getting some physical space and taking the time to get professional help may be required.
If your partner refuses to stop cheating and you’re not okay being in a non-monogamous relationship, this might signal that you should end the marriage.
But, if there is an openness within you and coming from your partner to make changes and repair the damage, then there is hope. You two might not be where you want to be, but if there is even a weak commitment to try again to turn your relationship around, this could be a shift toward improvement.
Bring your marriage back from the brink of divorce and return to happiness and re-connection using these 5 strategies...
1. Identify what’s not working.
When your marriage feels like it’s falling apart, it’s helpful to get specific. The tendency to make generalizing statements like, “Things aren’t the way they used to be” or “Something is wrong with our marriage,” won’t help. What WILL help is for you to identify exactly what it is about your relationship that feels off or dysfunctional to you.
Is it communication? Intimacy (or lack of)? Trust? Hone in on the words that you each say and the actions that you each do when it seems like your marriage is most tense or conflict-filled.
2. Move beyond blame.
The tricky thing about strategy #1 is that when you identify what’s not working, your mind will probably want to assign blame and figure out who is causing the problem. And if you’re like most people, your mind jumps to all of the ways that your spouse is the “cause” of your marital troubles.
Recognize it when you feel the urge to blame-- either your partner or yourself-- and, instead, back up and re-focus on the words, behaviors and overall dynamic. It’s most likely that you BOTH play a role in whatever is going on that’s tearing you apart