How To Fix A Broken Relationship In 7 Steps (Before It's Too Late!)

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How To Fix A Broken Relationship In 7 Steps (Before It's Too Late!)

It’s the worst feeling in the world when you realize your relationship is broken. You never thought this would happen. In the beginning, you felt it would last forever. Of course, you were mesmerized by the newness of the relationship and you didn't see any of your partner’s flaws.

Some relationship advice can't prepare you for that. But all relationships go through highs and lows. And it feels much worse when it is at it's lowest and just feels broken. Your heart is breaking, and you wonder if it can ever be fixed.

So, is there a remedy for how to fix a broken relationship? There is no magic wand here. I have seen many couples in my practice and by the time they come to see me, they are usually on the brink of divorce.

RELATED: How To Become A More Empathetic (And Far Less Defensive) Partner

They have lots of questions for me, like, "Can you fix us?" or "Is it worth it?" and so on. I tell them that I have no magical answers. I know you will need to make an investment in your relationship, again.

The truth is, some couples make it and some don’t. But here's how to fix your broken relationship when things feel hopeless.

1. Remember what made you fall in love in the first place.

After being married for a while, it’s easy to forget what you like about your spouse. What was it like in the beginning? What stood out? What did he smell like? Where was your first date?

What made you realize that this was the person you wanted to be with for the rest of your life? Write it down, this way you will remember it. This will also help lift your spirits and change your mindset about the relationship.

2. Start to listen to each other again.

Listening is truly a gift to your spouse. Listen without trying to fix or solve your spouse’s problem. When you listen to your spouse, you convey understanding. This is what we all want more than anything.

You can ask questions which will let your spouse know you are genuinely interested in them. Do you know your spouse’s deepest and darkest secrets? If not, this is a great time to ask. There needs to be safety in the relationship to go deeper. You create safety by listening and not criticizing your spouse when they open up to you.

3. Turn towards your spouse or partner.

I have spent a lot of time studying and practicing The Gottman Method for Couples, which has done over four decades of research in working with couples. What they have found is that it’s the subtle things that make a BIG difference.

Your spouse can smile, make eye-contact or nod. It’s important you turn towards when he does. A smile usually does the trick.

4. Don’t let distractions get in the way of your marriage.

I know you have kids, work and a house, which make it easy to put your marriage last. Think back to how it was in the beginning when you made your relationship first. You couldn’t wait to see one another. You wanted to see what your partner was wearing and find out as much as you possibly could about them.

I see this a lot. Life gets in the way of your relationship. You need to start to schedule time for one another and stick to it. If the phone rings, let it go to voicemail. This is your time for one another. 

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You can always ask your spouse how their day was too. Make sure when you reunite at the end of the day, you greet one another. This means you put away electronic gadgets and set time aside for one another.

5. Have fun again.

Fun is what will keep you together. When was the last time you laughed with your partner? And I’m not talking one of those "haha" laughs. I’m talking about a good belly laugh that felt like it would never end.

As adults, we forget about laughing. The next time you have a chance observe children on a playground. They laugh a lot. They aren’t taking life so seriously. They aren't worried about their next bonus or the next Tesla they want to buy. Laughing and having fun together is good for your relationship and your soul.

6. Change your expectations.

You aren’t the person you were when you started your relationship, and neither is your partner. As human beings we are complex, we are always changing. When you’ve been together for a while, it’s easy to rely on your partner for everything. It’s also easy to feel disappointed when your partner can’t do everything.

You didn’t marry Superman. Be gentle with your partner and accept what has changed. This will help change your perspective on the relationship. If you don’t change your expectations, your partner will feel like you are trying to change him. It will only cause resentment in the long run.

7. Focus on repair. 

You can’t move on if you haven’t repaired. I see this a lot in my practice, couples don’t get over an argument. When this happens, the argument continues.

One of the easiest ways to repair is to admit to what you have done wrong and apologize. Although this is easy in theory, it’s one of the hardest things for couples to do. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your marriage.

The apology needs to be sincere. When your spouse apologizes, you need to accept the apology. Just as it’s important to repair, it’s important to accept the repair.

If you would like to fix your broken marriage or relationship, start simple. Set aside time this week for listening. After that, you can take any of these steps and add them to your relationship, one step at a time. By using these steps, you will increase the friendship, trust, and intimacy in the relationship.

The good news is you can fix your relationship, but it will take time. There is no easy fix. It took you a long time to get to where you are, remember to hang in there.

RELATED: If Your Broken Relationship Shows These 19 Signs, It's Worth Saving

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many couples through difficult times in their relationship. For a free phone consultation or more information, please visit