How To Save Your Marriage When Your Relationship Feels Really, Really Bad

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How To Save Your Marriage When Your Relationship Feels Really, Really Bad
Love, Self

“Do I want to stay married?” “Is this it?” "Do I even love him anymore?"

These questions are costing you on every level. Emotionally, they are draining you. Physically, they are exhausting you, weakening your immune system and letting viruses, infection, and, in some cases, more serious physical symptoms in.

It is costing you, mentally, all that thinking about how to resolve this, what you can do, what have you done, all those post-mortems of actions taken, arguments, and the planning that goes into every sentence, every exchange to ensure that you get the words just right and your partner has no room to misunderstand.

Financially, well, women spend when we are unhappy. They go and count the cost of all those little things you spent money on to give you a few moments of pleasure and release from the misery of your struggling marriage, from the new lipstick to the yoga retreat and everything in between.

So what can you do to save your marriage?

This is a tough question and one which many of us ask ourselves at some time or another, mostly as a fleeting idea in a moment of frustration or despair, but it is usually dismissed almost as quickly as it arrives.

RELATED: 5 Glaring Signs That There Is Literally No Hope For Your Marriage

What if, however, you find that thought playing more and more on your mind and the answer is more frequently "No, I don’t" than "yes"?

It may be coupled with the idea: "I’m not sure I love my partner anymore." You may find yourself fantasizing more frequently about life beyond marriage or your husband or wife miraculously becoming the person dream they were.

Another common symptom of discord in your marriage is the dream to run away from it all and settle down on a desert island where no one knows you, which for most of us, is no more than a dream.

So what can you do if you are asking yourself these questions?

First thing is to put the marriage to one side and leave thoughts of the ways on how to make your partner understand your unhappiness for another day.

Get focused and ask yourself: "What do I want?"

You may think you want a divorce, but if you can take a step back you may discover you simply want better communication, more time together, and more affection.

If that is the case then, let's look at your communication.

How do you communicate? Is it easy and relaxed? Do you feel safe to express your need and your feelings or is there fear? Fear of being misunderstood? Fear of pushing your partner away, of saying the wrong thing?

What happens when you have to hold a difficult conversation? How do you feel? What are you thinking?

There are two things on how to save your marriage that I share with my clients when we discuss communication:

1. The words don’t matter when you know why you are having the conversation and what you are trying to achieve.

So don’t get caught up over-thinking what you are going to say. Concentrate on why you are saying it and what you want to achieve from it.

The caveat here is, if you are hoping your partner will change his behavior, you are on the wrong track. We can only change our behavior and watch the ripple effect, but one mistake people make when they communicate is to hope that your words will change the mind or behavior of another person.

They never will, not on a permanent basis and not unless your partner decides to change.

RELATED: 17 Ways To Fight Less & Communicate Sanely In Your Marriage

2. When you have an expectation of a certain outcome, it's almost like you're inviting it.

So if you start a conversation thinking, he will never understand me, then you will unconsciously try to convince him of what you are saying, which is needy. What he hears is "I need you to understand", which can cause a defensive reaction from your partner.

The trick is to communicate to connect, so instead of "I need you to understand", share what you're feeling and what is going on with you to create a connection, without apportioning blame or having expectations of the outcome.

This is where most of my clients find the magic formula to changing their marital dynamic. Having these conversations without expectation is incredibly powerful.

The other great technique I teach my clients is to speak truthfully and without apology. This doesn't mean you are nasty or uncaring, this means you are respecting your own desires and you are communicating them clearly.

You are showing your partner that you have self-esteem and that you respect yourself and the relationship enough to speak up for what is important.

Don’t be tempted to apologize or to hold back on what you are feeling or thinking, trust yourself and your partner with your feelings.

This is not an overnight fix to a problem that may have taken years to create, but if you are prepared to commit to the process, put in the effort you will see a change in your relationship. It can’t remain as it was because you have changed, you have shifted something and your partner has no choice but to change.

RELATED: If You Communicate In These 3 Very Harmful Ways — Expect Divorce

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Allison Reiner is a Personal Development Coach, Mentor, and Speaker. If you would like to know more about the process or have specific questions on what to do when you find yourself pondering more frequently the question "Do I want to stay married?", email her at or book a 30 Minute Free Connection Call.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.