9 Tiny Ways To Fix A Struggling Marriage Before It's Too Late

Learning how to fix a broken marriage is a process.

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Marriages have their ups and downs and can be a struggle. However, if your relationship feels stuck in the down, learning how to fix a broken marriage may help.

It is doable but requires consistency. Couples often do not experience linear growth. The adage, "two steps forward, and one step backward," is the experience of most.

RELATED: 6 Relationship Traps Healthy, Successful Couples Avoid At All Costs


Here are 9 tiny ways to fix a struggling marriage before it's too late:

1. Face your problems head-on

Have a serious discussion about the status of your relationship. If necessary, let your significant other know that you want to have a solution-oriented talk about the condition of the relationship. Don't have a gripe session about what is wrong or produce a list of your complaints.

It is time to get real about the relationship problems you are experiencing. It is a time to talk about what you value about the relationship. It is time to discuss deciding to chart a new course for your future and to determine if it will be together or apart.


2. Have a plan

If you have determined you are hopeful things can turn around, then it is time to have a plan. The ways you have handled life together have not been working. Continuing what you have always done will give you the same dissatisfying results.

Have some ideas before you have the "let's face it" talk and ask your partner to contribute their thoughts.

3. Be prepared for a process

Don't be discouraged if you can't fix your marriage problems or come up with all the right ideas with one or two talks. This process will involve a series of action steps. It takes work, effort, concentration, patience, and forgiveness to break negative patterns.


4. Determine what you need most

Agree to take the time to make a few notes about what you need most in the relationship. It may be one or more actions you need your partner to take regularly. This is the to-do list you need.

You might also include some things that need to stop or change because they are hurtful. This is your don't-do list.

Couple disagree and struggle with marriage Dikushin Dmitry via Shutterstock


Both of you need to make your lists and discuss them. For the positive actions you need, begin by saying how you feel and what it does for you when your partner fulfills this need. When you present the things that need to change, begin by explaining how you feel or how it hurts you when these things happen.

There are four rules to follow that will help this conversation about your relationship needs and problems go smoothly:

  • Rule one: Neither of you is allowed to get defensive.
  • Rule two: Stick to your script, make your point, and move on.
  • Rule three: Control your emotions, especially your anger.
  • Rule four: Take note of things you need to be doing and not doing to enhance your relationship.

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5. Work on your stuff

Once you know what you need to give attention to in your marriage, it is time to begin working on them. Make a point to do at least one of the things on your spouse's to-do list daily.


Also, work at eliminating behaviors on the don't-do list. When you fail, acknowledge your mistake quickly, ask forgiveness, and give your partner the time needed to recover.

@kittiejrose This is one step in the attempt to repair your relationship/marriage. #SplashSummerVibe #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound - Kittie Rose

6. Educate yourselves

The truth is that many people do not know how to have a healthy relationship or marriage. You may be good at some parts, but most people struggle with other parts of relationship building. Put any two people in the world together for any length of time. Irritations, misunderstandings, and hurt will happen.

We hurt each other in human relationships all the time. Sometimes, we do it on purpose, other times, we have no idea why our partner is so upset. As you work at building a better marriage, begin an education plan to help you avoid these relationship problems.


Get a book or two on marriage and develop a plan to read sections of it, and then talk about what you learned. Ask friends if they have found a helpful book or start with a book, such as The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which describes how people give and receive love.

If you hear of a marriage seminar in your community, go check it out. Some communities host marriage recovery sessions which often meet for eight to ten sessions.

However, you choose to educate yourselves and find something that helps the two of you grow and gives you some outside expert input.

RELATED: How To Fix A Stale Relationship

7. Don't give up

While breaking out of the negative patterns that have been choking the life out of your marriage is possible, it is also hard.


Repeated patterns of behavior and communication form pathways in your brain, so even with your best efforts at changing your behavior and reactions toward your spouse, it is predictable old patterns will emerge, and that does not mean you have failed. It means you are human and have to keep working at it.

Couple trying to fix struggling marriage eldar nurkovic via Shutterstock

Forming new pathways in the brain is not only possible but a necessary part of remaking your marriage. These new neural pathways — built on new behavior — take time to form and get stronger in time.


Ultimately, a new pattern becomes the new normal. Significant change will not happen overnight, in a week, or even in a month, but some changes should show up quickly as you work at them.

8. Encourage each other

As you begin to notice the effort your spouse is making to fix your broken marriage, you should comment on it. Let your spouse know you can see their effort. Thank them regularly for the new little things they are doing that have meaning to you.

The effort each of you puts into thanking your spouse is a strong reinforcement for the behavior you have been craving. Letting them know you see and appreciate the renewed effort is a strong motivation for it to continue.

9. Get outside help

Often, couples find they can rapidly speed up the process of rebuilding their relationship with outside intervention. You have both been working on saving your marriage for a long time and have given it your good effort. But sometimes, you can ignore how your words and actions hold back your relationship's progress.


A skilled relationship coach can spot those things and coach you to tweak things for a better outcome. The cost of hiring a good coach can quickly be offset by the days, weeks, and months of marital unhappiness and distress.


This simple thing can help fix your marriage.

♬ original sound - REALationships

If you have been considering divorce as an option, you know how costly that can be. Before taking that step, consider investing in and learning how to fix your broken marriage with the guidance of a relationship expert. You have little to lose — and much to gain — if the effort brings the two of you back together in a loving and caring marriage.

Don't just hang there slowly declining because you have put so much time into the relationship it feels too late to start over. Don't quit too soon without knowing you tried everything possible to save your marriage before throwing in the towel.


Struggling periodically in a relationship is normal. Being stuck in a constant negative cycle is not. The pathway to remaking your unhappy marriage will require both of you to commit to fixing your marriage.

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Marriage (Before It Leads To Divorce)

Drs. Debbie and David McFadden are relationship and life coaches with master's degrees in education and social work. They specialize in helping struggling and distressed couples improve their relationships.