The First 4 Things To Do When You Think Your Marriage Is Falling Apart

Quick ways to gain insight and make plans so you can save what you value most.

Couple watching turbulent waters, holding hands Justin Groep | Unsplash

When there is conflict in a relationship, the last thing that many of us want to do is to have a conversation with our partners — especially if we feel they have wronged us. But if you want a resolution to the tension and pain the conflict has caused, it is a good idea to talk to the other person ... even if it's uncomfortable. Often, you can gain insight into why the conflict began and learn what steps are necessary to heal the relationship and yourself!


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Four things to do immediately when you sense your marriage falling apart

1. Begin to reopen communication by listening.

You can learn about the other person's feelings and beliefs when you practice active listening. Many conflicts begin when one of the parties wants to be heard, as we all do, but believes that no one is listening.

Rather than thinking about whether you agree with what the speaker is saying, learn to focus on their words. Give the speaker verbal and visual cues that let them know you hear what they're saying.


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2. Set some ground rules.

Make it safe for the other party to open up to you and for you to share your perspective. Set a time limit for each person to speak and the other person to listen. Usually, 5 to 10 minutes is a good time frame. Then, the listener should summarize what they've heard so the speaker knows they were listening and understood their meaning. Swap places and allow the other party to share their thoughts.

3. Emphasize the positive.

Avoid placing blame and making demands. Let the other person know how their actions affect you without attacking them or making accusations. Explain what they can do to make it easier for you to communicate with them. Ask what you can do to enhance your communications.


Avoid yelling matches. When we yell at one another, we are no longer listening but trying to force our view on the other. If you feel frustrated and tempted to yell, take a time out and agree to discuss the situation again once you've regained control of your feelings.

Rather than making demands or giving ultimatums, let your partner know how you feel and what you want by making a respectful request with the full understanding they have the freedom to comply or deny the request.

Take ownership of your part in misunderstandings. Determine how the choices you've made might have led up to the current conflict.

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connected to friendsPhoto: oneinchpunch via Shutterstock

4. Learn to respond rather than react.

Take the time to plan your response, rather than letting your emotions get away from you. Consider how your response will be received. If you have a hard time managing your anger or other emotions, relaxation techniques like taking a deep breath can help you lower your stress and deal more effectively with it.

While most of us spend a good part of our day talking with others, true communication takes time and practice to master. These tips can help you to develop your dialogue skills and strengthen your relationships with others.


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Moira Hutchison is a mindfulness coach, energy healer, and hypnotherapist at Wellness With Moira.