How To Save a Marriage: 3 Effective Techniques
If your marriage is in trouble, you can feel like your whole world is coming to an end. However, please take solace in the fact that there are solid steps you can take to turn the situation around. Below, you will find a discussion of how to save a marriage with three of the most effective techniques known.
Rephrase Your Attacks By Stating the Real Problem Instead
No one likes to be badgered and belittled all the time. Even if when your spouse is clearly wrong, this is never the best approach to resolving the issue. If you eliminate the attacks, and instead state the real underlying problem, you can much more easily work through your problems with your spouse.
Here’s an example of a common complaint: “You never help with the chores!” If you say this, it will surely feel like an attack to your spouse and it will immediately put them in a defensive mode. However, you could change your statement to something like, “Honey, I want to spend more quality time with you and the kids but I can’t seem to find the time to do that unless you can help more with the chores.” This is not an attack. This states a problem that needs resolving and you’re giving your spouse a way to help you solve the problem. In other words, instead of making them feel bad, you’re giving them a golden opportunity to feel good about helping to solve the problem.
Here’s another common example: “You’re always wasting money!” This is an outright attack and isn’t going to solve the problem. In fact, it is likely to start a huge argument. You might instead say something like, “I’m concerned about setting aside enough money for our retirement years. Can we sit down together and develop a budget that we both stick to?”
Of course, one partner losing interest in sex is an all too common problem too. Instead of saying, “You never want to have sex,” you can try something like, “When we don’t have sex, it makes me feel less close to you in other ways.” You could also say something like, “When we have sex, you make me feel like a different person… I can feel the tension melt away and I know I’m happier and easier to get along with. How does it make you feel?” This can lead to an intimate conversation that will help resolve the problem rather than just making your partner feel bad.
Disarm Your Spouse With Unexpected Praise
Sometimes when a husband and wife argue a lot, they get in a habit of walking around with their defensive shields up and their “weapons” loaded and ready to fire. This is especially true if they argue about the same things over and over which of course is often the case. In these situations, both spouses can become “trigger happy” and fire their “weapons” at the first hint of trouble. Of course, these types of issues often escalate into all out knock down drag out screaming matches…. and this unhealthy cycle goes on repeatedly.
You can break the cycle by looking for and focusing on the posities and disarming your spouse with unexpected praise. For example, instead of harping about how your husband never puts his tools away and has car parts in the yard, you could compliment him on how much money he is saving your family by fixing the car himself. You might even throw in an example of how much someone else had to spend to have the same work done by a professional mechanic. Here’s another example. Instead of complaining about how much time your wife spends taling with her sister on the phone, you could instead compliment her on the wise advise she gave her sister. In both of these cases, the unexpected praise with have the effect of disarming your spouse. If you keep doing this, you may find your spouse responding to you with love and affection rather than “weapons.” You may also find the shield goes down, and with this, the marriage can begin to heal.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Many people will advise you to talk your problems over with your spouse. However, this often has the opposite effect than the one you want. It often results in heated arguments and dredging back to the surface old hurt feelings. This is not to say there isn’t a time and place for talking out problems but if the marriage is really in trouble, it may be best to start out with actions first. Go all out and surprise her with a special home cooked meal or a surprise picnic in a special spot where you’ve had a romantic connection in the past. In other words, show her (or him) how much you care. Show your spouse a grand gesture. See if you find an activity that the two of you can share. However, if your spouse doesn’t like the idea, don’t badger them about it. Instead, ask if they have another idea or suggest other ideas yourself. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan. Just a simple walk to see the sunset can work nicely to help you and your spouse reconnect. However, it could also be something more substantial like the dance lessons that you may have always talked about but never got around to actually doing or classes on how to make sushi or perhaps learning to scuba dive. The point is to take an action that gets you and your spouse doing something interesting and fun together. This may get you to a place where you can then talk about your problems without being hurtful to one another.
While there have been many books written about how to save a marriage, the three techniques described above work better than most techniques. Good luck to you and your spouse and may you have a long and happy marriage.