How Can I Save My Marriage After Years Of Marital Problems?
By: Hailey Davis
Updated March 16, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Many married couples find themselves wondering, "Is it possible to save my marriage after so many years of problems?" Some couples have struggled with the same perpetual problems for several years and don't know how to manage them. Other couples experience different issues and don't know how to stop them from coming up. It is completely normal for couples to have these problems in their marriage, and they are nothing to feel shameful about. There are many highly effective ways you and your partner can work out your problems and know how to manage them in the future. In this blog post, we will discuss a handful of common marital problems and some solutions to those problems that you can work on with your partner. First, let's discuss some of the most common marital problems people face.
Common Marital Problems
No marriage has the exact same dynamic. Each couple will face different problems than the next, but there are a handful of common problems experienced in marriages. These common marital problems include but are not limited to a lack of communication skills, anger or emotional management issues, a lack of interest in each other, and stress from a busy schedule. Now, let's discuss each one individually so that you can better understand how to fix these problems
Lack of Communication Skills
One of the most common issues that can lead to marital problems is a lack of communication. Lacking communication skills can look like not speaking to each other enough, or just not communicating properly to your spouse. A couple with communication issues may disregard each other's feeling in a heated argument and scream at each other. None of this helps in marriage and can make the conflict even worse. The key to fixing this is to stop and think before you speak. Express your emotion in a calm way that is not threatening to your spouse and let them speak and try to listen to them.
If you know things are going to get very heated, then it is best to separate yourself in different areas of the house to cool off. Get your thoughts together and when you are both calm and collected you can come together and talk it out. If there is anything that can save a marriage it is improving your communication. If you two are stuck in your current communication habits and you are making no improvements, be sure to read the solutions and recommendations below. Hopefully, one of the solutions in the next section will help you learn to communicate better and manage conflict.
Anger or Emotional Management Issues
There is no such thing as a marriage where one does not get angry at their spouse. If you live with someone for a long period of time, it is only a matter of time before problems arise. It is healthy to work out these problems in a calm way, but sometimes, couples struggle to remain calm and not emotionally charged during arguments. Sometimes people have issues managing their anger, which can end up in spouses being hurtful to one another. Now, it should be safe for you to express anger to your partner. You should always ask yourself why you are feeling a certain way before you go and express it to your spouse. When you are both overly angry and if one is angrier than the other, you should call a time out and separate, as mentioned above. Give each other space and figure out how to come back together to work things out.
If you two are not able to communicate as well as you could, you can always write each other a letter. Writing makes you slow down and think about how you are feeling. It also gives you the time to be by yourself and get down to the reason of why you are so angry. You can also see your partner's point of view and try to understand where they are coming from and how to better handle these things in the future. Learning to communicate will help immensely with anger and emotional management during arguments.
Lack of Interest in Each Other
Many couples who feel that they need to save their marriage find that they experience a lack of interest in their spouse or feel their spouse is not interested in them. This is very common and happens to many married couples. When you see someone every day for many years, you can become desensitized to them. The exciting spark you two had, in the beginning, has died out. This can easily be fixed with some work from both sides.
Many couples find that spending time together and scheduling time to go on dates helps to get their spark back. Even if you two have been together for decades, you need to continue to date each other and spend time together. Make date nights mandatory and possibly have a theme each night. Enjoy small talk together or more profound conversations. Learn to just enjoy being in each other's company.
Always acknowledge your spouse's existence when you or they enter a room. Hold their hand, and just be close to them as you two enjoy a meal or an at-home movie night. Become curious about your partner again, just like at the beginning of the relationship where you couldn't get enough of each other. When you become interested in your partner you find new attractive things about them. Practice gratitude and compassion towards your spouse. This will help to get the spark that you had in the beginning back.
Stress from a Busy Schedule
Stress from a busy schedule can make people withdraw from the ones they love most. Many people want to separate themselves and be alone when they are under a great deal of stress. Stress can also make people very emotionally charged and feel as if they can break down at any moment. These emotions can cause more arguments than normal and result in marital problems.
Even if you and your partner are not stressed, a busy schedule can also cause marital issues. Have you ever felt like you never see your spouse? You're heading off for work and they are just getting home, or you barely have time to talk at night before you both fall asleep, just to do it all over again the next day. This is a huge problem in a lot of marriages. Many married couples have very busy schedules with work, school, taking care of kids and the home, and the list goes on. Allow yourself to say no to extra activities that come up in your life. Make your partner a priority, especially if you both are dealing with busy schedules. Always remember to be there for your spouse and be a listening ear if they need support through a stressful season.
Ways to Help Resolve Marital Conflict
There are many different causes of marital problems, even more than the ones listed above. It is important that you and your spouse do not let that cause you to feel defeated, as there are many ways to help resolve marital conflict. Here are a few effective ways you can try to help resolve and manage the conflict you and your spouse face in your marriage:
Sit Down With Your Spouse and Discuss Your Problems.
Sitting down and discussing your problems with your spouse can be very helpful. Both of you should take turns explaining what is causing you problems and what is bothering you. Be sure you don't trap your spouse into having the conversation. They should know there will be a discussion about your problems and have time to get their thoughts together. Trapping them into talking about something can make them feel threatened and resort to anger. Show respect to each other, don't make rude comments, and try to stay calm during the whole conversation.
Robert Taibbi has a six-step process of solving relationship problems. Defining the problem and solution is step one, two and three are planning the time to talk and make sure to both talk and listen. Step four is deciding on a plan to try out together and five is to evaluate after trying out the plan. Lastly, six, say what you like about the other person. You need to be giving them four times more positive comments for each negative one. If you have ever asked yourself, "How can I save my marriage?", this method could be your answer if you and your spouse are struggling with communication issues.
Try to Understand Your Spouse's Feelings.
Trying to understand your spouse's feelings will help you understand them better. You can understand the way they process information and what makes them upset. When you and your spouse understand each other, your problems can be resolved more quickly and more smoothly. Try to recognize what makes them upset, happy, excited, frustrated, and angry. This will help you know how to express your feelings so your spouse is more receptive and can help you manage conflict much more easily.
Try Marriage Counseling.
If you have tried many different techniques to healing your marriage and still aren't seeing the results that you two desperately need, marriage counseling may be helpful for you. Many couples struggle with the idea they need marital counseling to make things work. There isn't anything wrong with marriage counseling, especially since it is highly effective. In fact, Psychology Today says that according to studies, Emotionally Focused Therapy, which is a couples counseling method, is now around 75% effective.
If you and your spouse try many methods by yourselves but still feel as if you are making no progress, do not wait to seek out help from a counselor. Married couples wait up to six years on average before deciding to attend couples counseling. This is six years that you could be happy and live harmoniously with your spouse. There is no shame in seeking help for your marriage. In fact, you are showing how much you care about your marriage by seeing a counselor. If you don't see success resolving things on your own, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional.
Don't Give Up.
It can be very difficult to keep trying to resolve issues after many years of marital problems. Giving up can seem like the only option after trying to save your marriage. The truth is, it is not the only option. There are many different methods and resources out there for you and your spouse to find healing in your marriage. The hard work you put into your marriage and its healing will be worth it once you learn to resolve your problems.
If you ask yourself, "Is there any hope for my marriage?" the answer is absolutely. With some effort and being intentional about resolving problems, you can save your marriage. Experiencing marital problems can feel very isolating and even shameful. However, every marriage has problems, no matter how picture-perfect they seem. So, remember you are not alone in fighting for your marriage.
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