7 Tiny Ways To Save Your Marriage When You Feel Like You Hate Your Spouse

Extreme frustration can feel like hate.

Fix broken marriage Tirachard Kumtanom | Shutterstock

If you have arrived where you hate your spouse, this is a sign that your relationship is in deep trouble, and it is time to take action. Love and marriage are innately complex, but you can learn how to fix a broken marriage with your spouse before it's too late.

You may have been disappointed by something they did. Or maybe you you feel distanced. Perhaps you and your spouse have grown apart because your needs are unmet or your expectations are unrealized. Do you feel like you don’t spend time together like you used to? It's OK for this to happen in a relationship. There is still hope to fix a broken marriage.


Here are 7 tiny ways to save your marriage if you feel like you hate your spouse:

1. Ask why you say you hate your spouse

It is important to be extremely honest about why you say it. Consider why you say it and what you believe is missing in your relationship. What makes you so unhappy, and when did it start?

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2. Examine your expectations

Consider what your expectations were when you got married and what your spouse’s expectations were then. Your expectations might have included intimacy, finances, parenting, extended family involvement, career decisions, and more. Maybe you even talked about these before marriage but found something changed after you got married and started life together.


Do your expectations and your reality not match up?

Consider which expectations are unmet. Generally, there are some that, if you are honest, are being met. Often, people get so caught up in the negative stuff they forget some positive things are happening. It is wise to consider the positive first so you don’t get lost in the negative.

Ask yourselves, “Where does each of us feel let down?” Remember that your spouse may also feel their needs are unmet. Make a list of your expectations and needs and how you believe those are being met or not being met. Also, write down what you think your spouse might say about those expectations from their point of view.


Are your marriage expectations realistic? Think about what others might say about your expectations. Is it reasonable to believe someone else can do for you what you want and need 100 percent of the time?

Are the expectations clearly understood by both of you? Is there an assumption that somehow your spouse should know? Assumptions can and will get you into trouble. You assume that because you may have talked about your expectations in the past, each of you will remember them and always meet them 100% of the time. You may assume you are meeting your spouse’s expectations 100 percent of the time and your spouse is ignoring yours. That is not realistic to believe or assume! There needs to be continual talk about expectations and continual adjusting of those expectations throughout your married life.

You must let your spouse know what your needs are in your marriage. How do you do this? Are you somewhat passive or aggressive in letting your spouse know? For instance, do you slam the doors or drawers or throw things and somehow believe your spouse will figure out what is wrong with you and do something about it? In this case, you assume that your spouse can read your mind. It is better to take some time to talk about your feelings and what you thought your spouse was going to do for you. It allows your spouse to listen and speak from the heart. This is not a forum for blaming someone else for how you think or feel. It is also not a time to go into defense mode.

Allow your spouse time to respond, and then negotiate what each of you will do when it comes to expectations.


She thinks about how to save her marriage Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley via Shutterstock

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3. Make a positive "inventory" of your relationship

Have your disappointments overshadowed what your spouse is doing for you? Think back over the past few days or weeks. List each thing your spouse has done that was positive and that you can express appreciation for. It could be as small as taking out the garbage.


After your list is made, express your thanks for the things your spouse is doing to make your married life better even in small ways.

4. Examine your manners

If you have children, You probably taught them to say please and thank you and to have good manners. You have probably also taught them to be kind, to share, and be helpful. Why do you not do the same for your spouse?

Do you assume your spouse should know you're thankful? You like it when someone expresses appreciation to you, even for little things, right? Remember, it's important to express your thanks and gratitude for things your spouse does for you.

Don’t assume your spouse will know you are grateful. Express it out loud.

  • “Thanks for making the coffee."
  • "Thanks for doing the laundry."
  • "Thanks for taking care of the kids."
  • "Thanks for going to work every day."

Think about whether any of your behaviors could be interpreted as poor manners. What could you do to overcome that in your marriage?

@westilllikeeachother Disclaimer: We are referring to healthy relationships. Gratitude should never help you excuse abuse of any kind. #marriage #relationships #podcast #gratitude ♬ original sound - We Still Like Each Other

Again, it is not OK to believe someone else is responsible for your happiness and should know what you need. Step up and do for your spouse what you want your spouse to do for you. Do it without grumbling or an attitude. Do it because it is mannerly and is the right thing to do.

Are you striking out in pain? Maybe you believe your spouse has not been meeting your needs and expectations so you determine you will respond in kind. You feel hurt, so you figure you will hurt your spouse back. This becomes a vicious cycle of pain for both of you — you hurt me, so I hurt you!


Again, someone cannot read your mind. You need to express to your spouse what's going on and give them a chance to figure out if they can help you.

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5. Commit to change the things each of you needs to change

Change is not one-sided. Both of you need to figure out what you can do to help each other feel better about the relationship. It may mean that it starts with you. You can only change yourself and not the other person. Maybe you need to change your attitude toward your spouse and see the positive over the negative.

Make a list of your issues and changes you’re both willing to make. This may take some time, but it is where the change begins. It's how you actively start to fix your broken marriage.


Couple hug save marriage from hate Sorn340 Studio Images via Shutterstock

6. Plan a regular time to communicate

This is crucial to the ongoing health of your relationship. It also helps to heal past hurts and make mid-course corrections to avoid unnecessary future hurts.

Schedule your communication time. The two of you must agree on frequency, location, and time. Talk about possible distractions and how you’ll handle those distractions, which could be just being at home, the kids, or cell phone, etc.


Before your scheduled time to communicate, make lists of things you want to discuss Make your list short because both of you will have a list. Your communication time doesn't need to be a marathon session to be of value.

Determine how to call a time-out if needed. Allow each other to take time and walk away for a few minutes to think or calm down. Also, if either of you is overwhelmed, decide how to end it. Above all, remember this is not a blame session. It is a truthful expression of where you are and what you need in your marriage.

7. Listen to one another

These conversations are not meant to take place when you have a date night. Date nights are reserved for fun.

@themccabelife Practice listening and hearing one another. So many people come to us because they don't feel heard in their relationship. Be good listeners, slow to speak, slow to defend. Watch more of our videos for more ideas and encouragement regarding marriage. Marriage jokes.Date ideas. Marriage counseling. Marriage therapy.#couplescounseling #marriageadvice ♬ original sound - Terry and Katie

If you want to start on your own, you have nothing to lose by working through your feelings by yourself. It will still be necessary to figure out how to talk to your spouse, which will be hard work since emotions have been building over time.

Be prepared that fixing your broken marriage may take some time. Your husband or wife may not readily see the need to change anything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start to make some changes yourself.

Disclaimer — if your spouse is abusive toward you and/or your children or is narcissistic, this article does not speak to you. You must take more drastic action immediately.


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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.