Before You Try To "Fix" Your Marriage, Take These 4 Steps

Avoid impulsivity when it comes to fixing a marriage.

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I see many couples who are struggling with their marriage. When I ask them how long the struggle has been going on, the answer is usually several years. When I continue to ask them how they have tried to fix it on their own, 80 percent of the time having a baby, building or buying a new house, and/or having plastic surgery are typical answers. Just looking at the possible fixes they have used makes me stressed out.


I cannot imagine trying to fix anything by adding a baby, or complications of buying or building a new home, or the pain and downtime of having plastic surgery. However, when you are struggling with your marriage, many times you are in a place of desperation and may not be thinking clearly. You are trying to find the answer to what will bring you together more to help secure the future.

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Before you try to fix your marriage, take these 4 steps:

1. Sit down together and admit there is a problem in your marriage

Identifying the issues together will help you both know where the weaknesses are, so you can better focus on solutions.




2. Words like never, always, should, can't, and won't are less effective than "I feel" statements

Begin thinking more of the present. What can you do today that will make it better? Couples who begin to think about forever become more stressed. Marriage is a lifestyle, but its strength is in its ability to grow and change with both partners.

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3. Never go more than 12 hours without touching or connecting in some way

The more you touch your partner, the less you talk, and the more you listen, the stronger the marriage. A good rule of thumb is to say one sentence to your spouse's three. Practice, Practice, Practice.




4. Seek a good counselor or mediator

It is wise to tell the therapist or mediator up-front that you have marital discord and need mentoring to resolve the issues. This way the therapist or mediator can understand exactly what you want. When everyone is focused on helping you resolve the issues, the chances of success are high.

Many of the couples I work with did not have good mentors to resolve marital discord. Therefore, they panicked when they didn't get along. Their mentors (many times their parents) used the "fixes" discussed in this article only to divorce later. There are other options. Having a baby, a new home, or plastic surgery can be wonderful events, but not if you end up losing the person you want to share them with the most.


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Mary Jo Rapini MEd, LPC is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, and intimacy counselor.