How To Save A Marriage On The Brink Of Divorce
By: Russ Womack
Updated March 31, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lisa Cooper
You're looking at a picture of you and your spouse holding hands. Your smiles are from ear to ear, and you look like you couldn't be happier. That was the day you vowed never to leave each other's side - till death do us part. The ring on your finger, placed there on that beautiful day years ago, has stayed on tight and firm all these years, and you'd look at it every so often and smile as you thought back to that special day. But now the ring is loose. The house that once electrified with laughter and romance is silent and dull. There used to be endless conversations about everything and nothing, and now even a "hello" seems forced, let alone "I love you." Does this sound familiar? Has the idea of divorce ever crossed your mind? Well, there is hope in saving your marriage, restoring the love and passion you once had and make it even stronger than it was before.
According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. These are staggering statistics! How could this possibly be? To look at ways to save a marriage on the brink of divorce, it's just as important to look at how your marriage declined to where it is today. So what happened? Marriages don't fall apart overnight. It's a slow and gradual deterioration of the very things that once made you fall in love and marry your spouse. Here are some common things that can change for the worse in marriage.
Communication: Communication is one of the most important aspects of a successful and sustaining marriage. This includes verbal and non-verbal (behavior, facial expressions, gestures, writing, etc.) communication. Most marriages go through rough times, which can change the way spouses communicate with each other. Many couples develop bad habits and create destructive patterns when communication isn't going well, which can directly affect your marriage.
Spending Time Together: The time spent with your spouse has diminished. What once was a priority to each other is now more of a struggle, even a chore. The number of time spouses spends together is only half of the picture. Quality time spent together is also crucial to the health of a marriage.
Mutual Respect: In most marriages, respect is more crucial than love. Why? When one partner loses respect for the other, the marriage and the love for each other subsequently crumbles.
Supporting One Another: This includes showing faith in your spouse, respecting your spouse's personal decisions, and being there for your spouse physically, emotionally, and financially. When your support system deteriorates, it's likely your marriage will follow suit.
Trust and Honesty: Trust and honesty go hand in hand in a marriage and are rooted in feeling safe with your spouse. Broken trust and honesty, such as infidelity lie, or broken promises, can severely damage a marriage structure.
Now that we've looked at some of the causes of the decline of a marriage, which can lead to divorce, let's look at how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce.
How To Save A Marriage On The Brink Of Divorce
You're at a place in your marriage where the very structure and foundation appear shattered and non-repairable. But rest assured that all is not lost, and a marriage on the brink of divorce can most certainly be restored. Here are some steps to start the healing process toward a marriage that can be even better than before.
Remember Why You Fell In Love In First Place: This is a great place to start. When you've settled into the rhythm of a marriage, the memory of your first date is overshadowed by other milestones such as the birth of your first child or your 10th anniversary. Taking the time to relive the earliest days of your courtship and romance can help revitalize those falling-in-love feelings. Daydream about those first dates to remind yourself that your spouse is still that same person deep down inside. Reflecting on what brought you together and looking at the life you've built together is a great first step and is extremely important toward restoring your marriage.
Take Care Of Yourself: The mere stress of having your marriage on the brink of divorce, let alone the daily responsibility with kids, finances, and work, and emotionally and physically, take a toll on you. You can't effectively rebuild your marriage and be a healthy partner if you don't first take care of yourself. Maybe it's taking a long bath each night, enjoying your favorite hobby, reading a novel at the park, or taking a day trip alone. This is not the time to try and figure out how to save your marriage. This is the time to be patient and gentle with yourself. This is your safe place to regenerate, relax, and heal.
Listen When Your Spouse Is Talking: Although this may seem obvious, truly listening to your spouse is very different than merely standing next to them while they talk. This communication skill is vital to the restoration and healthy maintenance of your marriage. Active or deep listening is at the heart of every healthy relationship. It's also the most effective way to bring about growth and change. Your spouse will feel heard, appreciated, and valued when you listen to them with undivided attention.
Spend Quality Time Together: Find a babysitter, say "no" to your golf buddies, or movie night with your girlfriends. There's too much to lose not to. There are four critical ingredients to spending quality time that enables a marriage to thrive: regularity (weekly dates, weekend getaways), variety (doing different and unique things each week), adventure (trying new things, being spontaneous), and fun (being silly, laughing together again). Be sure to incorporate all four into your time together. Take the time and effort to plan special quality time with your spouse. They will feel appreciated and needed and begin to remember what it was like when you first fell in love.
Make Your Spouse The Priority: This encompasses more than spending physical time together. Making your spouse a priority is both physical and emotional. Sometimes the reason for arguments or misunderstandings in your marriage is simply not making your spouse the priority. Maybe your spouse needs the same level and quality of attention you gave them when you were newly married. Let them know that they are still your priority and that nothing has changed how you view them or feel about them. Give them a surprise call in the middle of the day, tell them how much you love them and how much you need and appreciate them. Making your spouse feel important and making them the priority can positively change the mood of your marriage.
Take Accountability: Don't blame your spouse for all the wrong things happening to your marriage. Marriage consists of two people, and when there's a problem, it's more likely both of you are responsible to some degree. Soul search yourself and be honest. What have you contributed to the state your marriage is in? Once you find the answer, communicate it to your spouse, ask for forgiveness, and change that very thing about you. If your spouse admits to you what they've caused, listen to them with no judgment or blame. Ensure to them that you hear them, that you're thankful, and that you'll support them in any way possible to help them and your marriage heal.
Take A Break: Sometimes, just getting away from your partner for a weekend, or even a week or 10 days, will help you gather your thoughts and emotions during this stressful and confusing time. You'll be able to think clearly and independently, focus on yourself, and be able to objectively evaluate the condition of your marriage, including your hurts, regrets, and needs. You'll also be in a much better place emotionally when you return to your spouse as you both begin rebuilding your relationship.
Seek Professional Help: Accepting that your marriage is struggling and being honest with yourself is crucial. Seeking professional help both individually and as a couple from a mental health professional can be a tremendous asset for your marriage's survival. There could be issues that have not been dealt with, which could be a contributing factor. A mental health professional can also give you additional helpful ways to rebuild and strengthen your marriage based on the information you give them. Unfortunately, many married couples who can benefit from mental health services delay or avoid seeking help because they see it as a sign of weakness or feel embarrassed to admit their marriage is on the brink of divorce.
Be assured that seeking professional help is a sign of strength; you are willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how vulnerable or scary it may feel, to save your marriage. ReGain is always available to those in need of help. Know that you are not alone and that we at ReGain are here to help you work through it. With ReGain, you can speak with a therapist 24/7, seven days a week. With chat, text, phone, and video chat options, you can speak with a therapist in a way that is most convenient for you.
You can contact ReGain by clicking here.
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