To be honest, there is no specific rule book on how to live happily ever after with a spouse. Therefore, it’s totally normal for you to experience a few hiccups here and there in your marital life. When things begin to look hopeless and you are about to call it quits, it’s normal to wonder if happily ever after still exists and if it’s possible to save your marriage. Today we want to share some tips on how to save your marriage, as well as some of the things you shouldn’t do.
Should you save your marriage?
Before you proceed, you need to know if your marriage needs saving or you need saving from your marriage. For instance, If you’ve got an unapologetic cheat or an abuser for a spouse, then you should probably be on the phone with your lawyer.
If your mental, physical and emotional health is under siege because of your partner, you should understand that it’s actually okay to throw in the towel and walk away.
Now if that is not the case with you, then I’d like to share some tips on how to save your marriage. Also, it’s noteworthy that saving your marriage on your own is almost impossible. It takes two to tango and unless your partner is still head over heels in love with you and still wants to be with you, you may need to rethink everything.
So, before you put on your superhero cape and swing into action, make sure you and your partner are on the same page. You wouldn’t want to put in all the effort and then realise your partner doesn’t give a hoot whether things work out or not.
Also, understand that there is a wrong and a right approach to make things work again.
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Here are few things you should NOT do to save your marriage:
1. Be a yes person
Being desperate sometimes makes us want to throw away our freedom of choice and expression by agreeing to everything in a bid to save the day. Don’t do it! While this may distract your partner from leaving, it doesn’t do anything to repair your broken relationship.
Worse still, being a yes person will only make you lose your worth. You’ve got a mind of your own, use it.
If you plan on saving your marriage by begging, you will have to keep begging to keep it forever after. Begging only reveals how desperate you are to keep the union alive – this might be a turn off for your spouse and may eventually push them farther away from you.
3. Be clingy
You and your spouse are not a snail and its shell. Give each other breathing space. Buying gifts every second, cuddling this moment and having sex the next won’t get you anywhere near saving a marriage that is sinking. When you become too clingy, you will end up choking them up and poof! They might eventually escape to where they can breathe fresh air.
4. Emotional Blackmail
We see spouses with kids do this a lot but it’s still wrong. They use their wards to keep their partners close, and if the divorce eventually goes through, they end up being bitter and destroy their spouse’s reputation with the kids. If you are afraid you can’t do without your partner or raise a child on your own, here’s a myth buster; You can do better on your own and be more happier with yourself than when you’re with a partner who drains you.
Do not use your kids, business or whatever you have together as a means to an end.
5. Family and friends Tell-tale
Here’s another wrong approach to saving your marriage. Someone once caught her husband cheating and went ahead to inform her family and her husband’s family. They called a meeting to chastise the husband and promised that such won’t repeat itself. What happened afterwards? He got another lady pregnant months later and moved in with her. Worse still, the family approves of it.
Using your family/friends as pawns to save your marriage won’t work. At the end of the day, it doesn’t address your marital problems. The only thing any friend and family will do is to listen to your poor tale and empathize with you.
How to save your marriage – the correct approach:
I know what you’re thinking… This may feel like the most unusual thing to do when you are on the brink of signing divorce papers. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the first solution to solving a problem is identifying what the problem is.
Make a list of the things you don’t feel right about (i.e. why your marriage is failing, why it really needs saving, the things your spouse does that don’t sit right with you etc.). Identifying what the problems are (yeah, they can be more than one) will not only help you deduce if saving your marriage is realistic, but it will also help you figure out what to do to save your marriage.
2. Eliminate All Forms Of Blame Shifting
I know you once called each other angels and all but let’s face the reality, no one is really an angel, neither the flatterer nor the flattered. We are all flawed, one way or the other. When you realise this and allow it’s reality to sink in, you will judge your spouse less. Now, while you were journaling, I’m sure you did a lot of blame shifting to your partner. Here’s are typical examples:
- Keeping the house clean and hygienic has never been a piece of cake with her.
- He snores loudly.
- She’s too haughty and proud, she thinks she’s better than everyone else.
- We just don’t agree on anything because she’s always trying to prove a point.
- He presses the toothpaste tube the wrong way! (A toothpaste dispenser could be your saving grace sis.)
According to your list, it’s almost as if the flaws are all centred around your spouse and you’re the picture perfect one while they seem to be flawed in all ramifications. You won’t have a list like;
- I don’t like cleaning the house and we can’t afford to hire a cleaning service.
- I’m not a deep sleeper so I hear him snore every night.
- I may have started seeing her as competition.
- She always wants to prove a point and to be fair, I’m a bad listener.
- Oh! I think we are both silly and might have forgotten a toothpaste dispenser even exists.
It’s a natural instinct in any conflict to blame the other person for failures and breakdowns. There’s probably a lot of that in divorces. Nevertheless, instead of focusing on how you want your partner to change, why don’t you be the change you want to bring about.
Now I’m not asking you not to state the facts or call out your partner when they are wrong. However, ensure you’ve handled the situation well or at least admit it if you haven’t. I repeat, it takes two to tango.
- ALSO READ: How To Stop Fighting In A Relationship
3. Have “The Talk”
So you’ve had several episodes of “the talk” before but they just didn’t just work out. Okay, great! However, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a try again, especially with your new perspective about things.
Now how do you go about it? Sit your spouse down, let them know your grievances, admit your mistakes, apologise where you are wrong, let them know you still have a ray of hope for you two as long as they are game. Be open about your feelings, don’t be scared about being vulnerable.
Also, be sure to express yourself constructively and clearly. A simple way to stay constructive in sensitive conversations like this is to pick from the following trio of potential sentence starters; “My concern is…” ” I feel….” “I would like….”
Plus, don’t forget to listen to what they have to say too, hear them out, be understanding with each other and don’t let it escape your heart that no one is perfect. Don’t forget to discuss and agree on what steps to take to save your marriage and work towards a better union. Aim for both of you to feel comfortable with your plan of action.
I sure hope you both understand that good things take time and effort.
ALSO READ: How To Understand Your Partner Better And Deepen Your Relationship
4. Clamp Down On The Toxicity
Arguments, fights, scream matches, pettiness, snide remarks and F words won’t get you anywhere. You may have had your pound of flesh but guess what happens afterwards? These negatives leave a hole of hurt, mistrust, bitterness, resentment and discord between you two.
While you are having the talk, it’s possible that you get angry about something your partner says. However, rather than throw caution to the wind and fight dirty, let them know what they did or said does not sit well with you.
If you are too pissed to be calm, you can reschedule for another time. Exit an argument early and often if either of you start to get heated. Calm down so that when you re-engage, you only talk calmly and cooperatively. Always walk away from toxicity. It will sow a seed of discord between you and your spouse, and then saving your marriage will be like mission impossible.
- READ NOW: How To Set Boundaries In A Relationship
5. Put In Some Work
Now while you are clamping down on the toxicity, don’t forget to fill up the vacant space and time with good things. Marriage researcher John Gottman noted that marriages generally survive if the ratio of good to bad interactions is five positives for every one negative. So how do you go about this?
Remember how you both started out, what got you the sweetest couple award? Well, you both can start all over again. Remind yourself of how great you are together. Do the things that make you happy individually and as a couple.
Don’t forget what strengthened your bond; explore new horizons, do your favourites, smile more, hug more, be appreciative, spend more time with each other, be there for each other, laugh more, disagree less, agree more, do more fun things together and be happy again.
6. Seek Help
It is not compulsory that you book a session or two with a marriage counsellor or therapist, especially if you’ve got it all figured out. However, it will go a long way in helping you save your marriage.
Marriage counsellors are trained and experienced when it comes to marital affairs and talking to one is far better than speaking to a witty friend who will teach you mind games and let out your marital flaws to the world the moment you have a fallout.
Also, counselling simply involves a few sessions to get the communication flowing again. A willingness to talk in that context sends a hugely positive message to your spouse.
7. Work On You
Let’s face it! You can’t work towards a better relationship with your partner if you are not happy or at peace with yourself. Life is not a bed of roses so you shouldn’t expect everything to be all perfect and rosy every time.
Be positive, be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have and optimistic while striving for more. You can’t have a happy marriage if all you do is focus on, nag and complain about each other’s inadequacies. Saving your marriage requires being a better person than you were yesterday.
You might also be interested in:
- 15 Painful Signs He Doesn’t Love You Anymore
- 10 Ways To Improve Intimacy In Your Relationship
- How To Get Over A Breakup And Heal A Broken Heart
Just as good things take time, do not expect your marriage to be saved overnight. You have got to be patient and optimistic that things will get better with your spouse come what may. Marriage is a life long journey and only the strong will see it through “forever”. So boldly take these steps to work on yourself and your marriage, before it is too late.
Also, unless you’re planning to meet your fairy godmother to have some pixel dust sprinkled on your union, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that you need to put in effort here and there. Actually, a lot of effort. But remember, happily ever after does exist and can be your reality.