5 Ways To Overcome Negative Tension & Save Your Marriage

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5 Keys to Overcome Tension & Save Your Marriage

Where there's a will, there's a way.

The key to strengthening and improving any struggling relationship is honesty.

What are you really feeling inside? What do you really want and need? What do you want and need from your partner? What do they want and need from you?

Once both partners can face the facts and be completely honest and truthful with themselves, they are halfway there.

Here are 5 ways you need to know in order to save your marriage:

1. Tell them what you want and vice versa.

You no doubt know that infamous line from the 1996 hit song "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls: "Tell me what you want, what you really, really want."

Why is this line relevant? It’s simple.

The key to getting what you want in life begins with really knowing what you want and, just as importantly, what your partner wants. However, before you even begin to contemplate what your partner wants, ask yourself what it is that you really want.

If you could have anything in life right now, what would it be? When it comes to working on your relationship, is saving it what you really want? If it is, then there are ways to make it work, so long as you are willing to put in the effort required and give without expecting something in return.

Be aware though that one or both of you may subconsciously not want to save the marriage and you could end up sabotaging your efforts to make it work. Sometimes, what we think we want in life is not what we really want on a subconscious level.

So, take the time to really reflect on this question and listen to your heart. Follow your intuition — it really does know what’s best for you.

Napolean Hill talks about the importance of clarity in the first chapter of his book, Think and Grow Rich. He cited that in order to get what we want, we must have a purpose, persistence, and a burning desire.

Do you and your partner have a burning desire to strengthen and save your relationship? If you and your partner are both on the same page and are both willing to do whatever it takes to make your marriage work, then you will find a way.

No one said it’s easy, but where there’s a will — on the conscious and subconscious levels — and unity between both partners, there is most definitely a way.

2. Release tension and remain calm. 

When someone tells you to "calm down", more often than not, those very words can send even a semi-agitated person into a highly agitated state. It’s as if those words alone do the exact opposite and generate an even stronger reaction.

Yet, remaining calm and being in a relaxed state is so important in life, especially when you're going through any type of stressful situation. 

If you sense tension building up in your body and it's making you overly irritated, more so than usual, there are various tools and techniques you can use in the privacy of your home to dissipate the tension and calm yourself down.

For this to somewhat work, say or shout all the things that are bothering you about your partner, while looking at a photo of them. Let it all out. Talk to the photo as if you were talking to them in person. Once you are finished, you should instantly feel better.

By the time you actually see them in person, you are more likely to have gained perspective and will be able to talk through the issue without getting worked up. In the anger management sessions I run, venting your frustration by hitting a pillow is also effective.

Breathing can easily change a state. Try taking long slow deep breaths and mentally choosing to let it go. I always like to ask myself if can I control their behavior or the situation. Often, the answer is "no". So then, I simply wish it away.

Journaling or e-mailing a friend also helps. Every person I work with has unlimited e-mail access to contact me at any time of the day, which they find helpful to release stress and tension.

3. Remember that you reap what you sow.

It’s an old saying but this phrase should be something you remind yourself of on a regular basis. What you give out, you will get back multiplied. If you constantly give out criticism and negative comments, then rest assured that these will be thrown right back at you.

Before you fire off any negative comments, think about what it would be like to receive double the amount of negative comments. Is that something you want?

If you do have something negative that you really do have to say, then think about how you can say it to lessen the impact on your partner and yourself: "I don’t like it when you ____. If you could do ____, it would make my life so much better."

Always follow a complaint with a suggestion or a possible solution. If possible, always end with a compliment about something else they’ve done that made you smile.

Small changes can produce big results. Plus, if you remember to think before you speak and say more positive than negative comments, chances are you’ll have a more positive day.

4. Dissolve the negativity. 

If negative comments, snide remarks, and unkind words are being directed at you, then it is imperative that you find a way to protect yourself. Negativity is draining and damaging to you and your closeness. There are several ways to do this.

First and foremost, be aware of when and where this is happening to you. For example, if your partner always comes home after work angry and negative, and your evening starts off with arguments, you can shift it by giving them love and attention.

This may sound crazy or impossible. However, no one wants to be aggressive or negative. They are hurting so show them compassion at this time. Wow! The difference this makes in a relationship and your happiness and closeness is key.

Second is to protect yourself and have a break if you need to.

The third is to share your ideal "unwinding from work" routine with your partner and vice versa. Support each other to achieve this so your evenings start well.

5. Think before you speak. 

Did you know that we are bombarded with around 70,000 thoughts per day? Sadly, most of it is useless clutter. What we need to be aware of when we think about our relationship is that we often think before we speak our thoughts. 

For some, that is easier said than done. However, as a rule, try to become aware of the thoughts you have and stop yourself before saying something negative that you may later regret.

If you are constantly thinking about all the annoying things your partner does or the problems you are having, make a conscious effort to stop those thoughts as soon as they strike.

Make a list of all the things you love about your partner, why you are with them, and the things they do that make you happy. When a negative thought comes, immediately remind yourself of what you’ve written. Read and re-read those lists.

Change the direction of your negative thoughts to positive ones and you’ll have a shot at changing the outcome of your relationship. Being positive doesn’t always solve real problems but it is a step in the right direction. Once you are feeling calm and centered, it becomes a lot easier to start thinking about solutions to the problems you are facing.

At the end of the day, ask yourself: "Were the thoughts I had 3 hours ago still a big issue now or have they faded into the background?" 

How many irrelevant and damaging words are said in the heat of the moment when they could have been so easily avoided?

Strengthening and even saving a relationship is possible if we are willing to put in the effort to fix it, be honest with ourselves, really listen to the needs and wants of our partners, and take complete responsibility for the decisions we made, the actions we took, and the things we say.

As we know, what we put out in the world, will come back to us multiplied. Be truthful but be kind and always try to come up with a solution to any given problem you are facing.

I hope this has been useful to you. 

Giving support to those struggling with relationship problems is something that Nicola Beer has dedicated her life to. If you are feeling unsure and want some guidance, sign up for her free Save My Marriage consultation. 

This article was originally published at Save My Marriage Program. Reprinted with permission from the author.