A marriage facing serious difficulties is one of the most challenging experiences many of us could go through. But, a family is something worth fighting for. If you want to know how to save your marriage, improve your communication, and generally get some peace back in your household—there are nine steps you can take.
1. Get real. Take responsibility for each of your roles in creating the problems. It is critical that you get to the real root of your conflict so that you may both move forward with a clear understanding of what went wrong and why.
2. Take it down a notch. Screaming, yelling, and emotional outbursts rarely lead to effective communication. If you really want to save your marriage you need to communicate calmly and rationally. But agree to disagree first. Sometimes in order to find common ground it is necessary to acknowledge the other person’s point of view even if it is different from yours. You may not agree on everything, but an important step to saving your marriage is respecting your spouse’s position.
3. Try a little tenderness. Remember what your parents and teachers taught you and think before you speak. If you are acting out of anger you will likely say things that you will regret. And if you really want to save your marriage you will want to take this next piece of advice very seriously—do not use your words as weapons. We often say things in the heat of the moment, things we know will hurt the other person just out of spite. Be careful. Hurtful words can set back the progress you two are trying to make in saving your marriage. You don’t need to be mean or insulting to your spouse to get your point across. So, say it with LOVE.
4. Get some space. If things have gotten too heated, take a breather. You know your partner better than anyone and know when he or she needs some time to calm down. Go for a walk, find a quiet place to pray or meditate; or otherwise shift your focus to something productive. It is likely that both of you could use some perspective and the best way to get that is to simply back off. Pressing your partner more may cause the situation to further escalate or make him or her shut down completely—getting the two of you nowhere. If you want to save your marriage, the continuous arguing is not going to help so give yourselves a break.
5. Forgive and forget, this one is very important. Letting go of past hurts is difficult, especially the pain caused by the ones we love the most. But if you want to save your marriage you must forgive and forget. If you’ve made the decision to stay together despite previous infidelity, emotional or financial cheating, or other broken trust you must find a way to forgive. You do neither of yourselves a favor by bringing the baggage of the past into the present as it will most certainly damage your future together. This can be hard to do but if the two of you are committed you can work together to get past those hurts and move on. It can also be helpful to seek the guidance of a marriage counselor or your minister to work through some of those issues.
6. DON’T HOLD BACK THE LOVIN’—It can be very easy to use affection as a weapon against your partner when you are angry. But withdrawing your affection every time there is a problem will not help you save your marriage. Men understand that women tend to view affection as verbal as well as physical. So when a man stops communicating with his wife, he knows that he’s manipulating her by withholding affection. Likewise when a woman looks to punishing her husband by withdrawing physical contact she is using affection as a weapon. If you want to save your marriage, shutting down and petty manipulations is not the way to go.
7. Commit to teamwork. Saving your marriage requires the commitment of both of you. One person cannot do it alone. If your spouse is unwilling to work with you it would be best for you to wait until you have his or her full commitment to working things out. Two people in full cooperation to saving a broken marriage will yield the best outcome. You two started out as a team after all, and making things work in your relationship will mean the both of you being honest about how you feel and what you want for the future of your marriage.
8. Exercise patience. Rome was not built in a day. Repairing your broken relationship will take some time. Situations rarely change overnight and people certainly don’t. It isn’t easy to change behavior patterns or ways of thinking. Do not get discouraged if it is taking longer than you want to get your marriage back on track. Saving your marriage will take time and effort. If you two are truly committed to working things out—keyword being work—then all will come together in due time.
9. Take it slow. So you’re back together and Peaches and Herb could’ve written that song just for you. But don’t move too fast. Rushing back into things can make your relationship become ripe for all the past problems to rear their ugly heads and the next thing you know you are back where you started. Discuss how you are going to handle those marital problems should they come up in the future and recommit to the bond the two of you share.