How To Fix A Marriage When It Seems Lost
In just about any marriage, there will come a time where you will face conflict. You may even reach a point where you ask yourself whether you want to keep the marriage going. For some, the thought is fleeting. For others, the thought comes back again and again. If you are having issues within your marriage and are feeling as though the relationship could use some major help, take a look at the guide below to learn things that may help you fix a marriage when it seems lost.
When Your Marriage Is Struggling… Should You Fix It Or Not?
Many things can happen in the marriage that have the potential to make you think that it's just not going to work. Maybe the two of you have communication issues, or perhaps you spend more of your time fighting than you do talking to each other. Maybe you don't have the same opinions or views on things. No matter what the problems are, you must fix them before you can work on improving your marriage. If you don't fix them, you risk allowing these issues to continue damaging your relationship and adding to existing problems, which can be ending your marriage altogether.
At this point, you have most likely reached a crossroads in your marriage where you need to ask yourself, should we repair our marriage or should we divorce and move on? This is an important question, as it can save you and your partner a lot of time, money, and heartache. In some cases, it can be easy to tell whether you should save your marriage. For example, both parties must be willing and able to make changes to their relationship. If one doesn't feel the need to try or feels that the damage done is too large to tackle, this could indicate that they would prefer to leave the relationship instead of fighting for it. There can also be an issue where a partner is repeatedly emotionally abusive or constantly cheating on their partner.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 800 799-SAFE (7233).
If you are thinking about saving the marriage and believe you can do it – or are at least willing to try – there's still a chance to do it. Here are some tips that will help you along the way.
How To Fix A Marriage
You've already made the first step, admitting that something is wrong with your marriage in the first place. The next step is to fix the marriage itself, which involves discussing things with your partner to figure out the specific problems you're facing. It may be that your partner (or you) doesn't realize that they’re doing something to sabotage the marriage, and in that case, talking about it can clear up the problem and make things better again. However, it is often more complicated than this, which brings us to some of the valuable tips listed below.
1. Figure Out What Problems You And Your Partner Are Dealing With
A lack of communication is often one of the major issues contributing to many marriages’ slow erosion. When there is little or no helpful communication between you and your partner and you spend your time fighting rather than resolving issues, you can’t expect the marriage to go anywhere but down.
To start the communication process, you need first to understand what issues exist within the relationship. Set aside some time to sit down with your partner in a safe, non-judgmental setting and come up with all the issues that may be affecting the two of you. For example, are you constantly fighting about finances? Is one of you feeling as though the other partner is not interested or involved in the marriage? This first step will help give you a list of things you can work towards later.
2. Come Up With Solutions And Goals For Your Marriage Woes
Having a list of your marriage issues is great, but it is only useful if you take those problems and create a list of solutions and goals that help eliminate them from your relationship. Once you have come up with a comprehensive list covering all the problems you and your partner could identify, you should then develop a list of solutions and specific goals to help you take action on these problems and start work on the marriage immediately.
Imagine that one of your issues was that the other partner felt that they weren't receiving enough attention from you during the week. In response to this issue, you can decide to set a goal, such as making sure to do three small things throughout the week that shows your appreciation for your spouse. You could decide to set up a date night once a week that is non-negotiable, or you could make sure to set a time several times a week for you and your spouse to talk to each other and learn more about their day. Whatever issue you are having, there are most likely plenty of solutions you and your partner can think of that will help to resolve these problems.
3. Focus On Yourself And Your Personal Issues and Reactivity
When we're in a place of judgment and blame, we tend to put off all our frustrations on our partner. In some instances, they may be doing things that are causing issues, but we may also be doing things that make them mad as well, or we may simply be reacting too harshly to what we perceive to be a problem.
When you are working on saving a marriage, the most important thing to remember is to focus on improving yourself and what you can do to contribute to your half of the marriage. What issues are you capable of resolving on your own? What aspects of yourself could you improve that would help to add value to the relationship? Are there any things from your past that need to be resolved to reduce some of your reaction to your partner's actions? Are all your reactions justified, or do you overdo it sometimes or blame your spouse for unnecessary things?
Part of being a great partner is knowing yourself and making sure that your needs are met so you can be the best person for your spouse. If one-half of the relationship's foundation is crumbling, it makes it simpler for the whole thing to come down.
4. Focus On Love and Positivity As Much As The Unenjoyable Aspects Of The Relationship
When you focus on saving your marriage, a lot of your attention is focused on the relationship's negative aspects. You continue to dredge up more and more problems that you and your partner are having. This consistent look at the negative can bring down the overall mood, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do when repairing the relationship. To maintain balance, you must also focus on the positives of being together and put out the effort to love and cherish your partner when possible. What do you love about your partner? What things would you like to do more of for them or with them? How can you better strengthen the existing love and bond between you and your spouse? Make sure to keep the morale and positivity high and do what you can to improve the love and connection as you power through this difficult time.
Your New Online Therapist
The tips above provide you with excellent methods that you and your partner can use if you are attempting to save your marriage. Still, many married couples have trouble implementing these pieces of advice into their marriage on their own.
One of the first things that you may want to do is seek out a professional for help. A professional relationship therapist, such as through Regain, can help you understand what's happening in your relationship and why either one of you is unhappy. They may also help you come up with positive ways to talk about and resolve your concerns.
By working with a professional, you can learn how to stop these types of problems from happening in the future as well. By learning new communication and problem-solving skills, you'll be able to discuss the problems you're facing instead of letting them blow up into something even bigger.
Multiple studies have found that therapy can make a big difference in marital satisfaction. A review of a decade’s worth of studies found that approximately 70% of couples who received therapy were positively impacted. The same research found that couples therapy can play a significant role in improving mental distress and disorders among individual partners. Another example, one study found that almost half (48%) of couples with serious chronic distress who went through 26 weeks of counseling were still displaying significant improvements five years later.
Online couple’s therapy, such as through Regain, has been found to be as effective as in-person therapy for many situations. With Regain, you and your spouse can meet with a professional counselor together, individually, or a combination of both – all from the comfort of your home or office and at a time that works best for the two of you. Regain is also less expensive than in-person therapy for many couples.
Many marriages face issues that can feel overwhelming. However, that does not necessarily mean your marriage can’t improve. By learning to better communicate, resolve conflicts, and support each other, many marriages can be saved. A professional Regain relationship counselor can help guide you through this process. Reach out and get started today.
“My wife and I decided to give online couples counseling a go after finding traditional methods weren’t all that suited to our busy working and parenting lifestyle. Our counselor Donna Kemp has been amazing! We both feel she’s listened to us and given us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone to deal with problems that are easy to avoid. She is encouraging without being pushy. We’ve both responded very well to her and her methods and look forward to continuing on with Donna. Highly recommend!”
“Cris Roman saved my marriage. His approach to therapy taught my husband and I the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and the way we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of the others' feelings and actions without taking sides or placing blame. His ability to make you feel heard while helping you to see and understand why your significant other is acting a certain way is phenomenal.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can a broken marriage be repaired?
Broken marriages can be repaired, but the break's manner is highly likely to influence the likelihood of a successful repair. Some marriages break due to years of neglect or ill-handling. Some marriages fall into disrepair because one or both partners engage in some infidelity. Still, others need to be repaired because two partners had drifted apart and do not like or want the same things they wanted when they initially got together.
How can I fix my marriage by myself?
You can’t. Hopeless though it may feel, marriages are made up of two people, and both have to work to fix a marriage. No matter the source of the break-in a marriage relationship, marriages are partnerships and both parts of that partnership are required to put in the time and effort to repair what has been damaged.
A common misconception is that only one partner is responsible for the destruction of a marriage—and indeed, this can easily seem to be the case when one partner cheats. Even when a partner cheats, however, the relationship cannot be repaired by the cheater alone. The person cheated on has to be willing to rebuild trust and commit to building an even stronger foundation and subsequent relationship than before. Fixing a failing marriage does not happen in a vacuum, and both parties have to be willing and able to fix a broken relationship.
While you may not be able to fix your marriage by yourself, you certainly can place your focus on your own thought processes, behaviors, and motivations and start fixing any facets of these things that have negatively contributed to your marriage. If your marriage has suffered from years of resentment, picking fights, and antagonistic dynamics, you cannot fix those things alone. You can, however, begin working on your own mental health, communication, and relationship practices and improve your half of the marriage. In some cases, seeing a spouse improve will encourage the other half of the partnership to shape up, as well. In others, changes and improved health go unnoticed, and the marriage remains problematic.
If you are currently in a broken marriage and you want to make it work, you can certainly begin by getting yourself in order—and this truly is a great place to start. Unlearning unhealthy habits and patterns can help improve your relationship with your partner and go a long way in changing your relationship. Even if your efforts do not end up fixing a broken relationship or fixing a broken marriage, you will come out the other side as a stronger, healthier, and better-equipped individual.
What are the most common problems in a marriage?
Marriage comes with a predisposition toward developing problems, largely because marriage requires two people to commit to one another and place the health, well-being, and general welfare of another person on par with their own. Because marriage has some inherent difficulties, the majority of marriages encounter several problems. Looking for specific issues in marriage? Here’s a simple list:
- Finances. Financial issues have long been recognized as the #1 cause of divorce. Financial issues may vary from couple to couple but often involve some variation of having different ideas about saving and spending money, who should (or should not) make a majority of the money in a relationship, or how money should be handled overall. Fixing a broken marriage frequently starts with ironing out issues with finances.
- In-law issues. Many people experience a lot of marital strife in response to their in-laws. Many couples fight a great deal over in-laws, from squabbling wives and mothers-in-law to inappropriate boundaries regarding families of origin. Setting boundaries between in-laws and your small family unit can truly save a marriage and is often one of the most important steps to fixing a marriage.
- Quality time together. Couples often experience a lot of distress regarding the amount of time they can spend together. This may be more common among people who work long hours, multiple jobs or have children, but can also be found in couples without children or intense work hours. Not spending enough time together can make a marriage feel broken or make it seem like it failed. Carving out more time together is another important milestone in fixing a relationship.
- Unhealthy communication. Unhealthy communication patterns are frequently at the root of problems in a marriage. Unhealthy communication can mean stonewalling, refusing to communicate with your partner, or using many blames and accusatory language. Healthy communication requires respect, consideration, and responsibility. In truth, failing to address unhealthy communication patterns could mean the marriage fell apart.
- Untended boundaries. The advent of a marriage relationship does not mean losing or stripping away boundaries. Couples should maintain their own lives, ideas, and friendships. Boundaries are an important part of maintaining your mental health and tending to both yourself and your relationship. While boundaries may not always seem important, broken marriages are often riddled with crossed and weak boundaries.
- Uneven growth. Partners in a relationship often grow at different rates and in different directions. Growth need not spur divorce but is often seen as a negative. You and your partner can grow together and maintain your relationship, even in uneven growth cycles or different growth directions. Still, without intention and care, couples can easily begin fighting over changes brought about by growth. Marriages fail because partners do not try to bridge the gap between growth, not because growth occurs. Some changes might end up being deal breakers in a marriage, but that doesn’t mean that all changes will ultimately make your marriage feel broken or result in divorce.
How do you know when your marriage is really over?
This process looks different for everyone. Some people wake up one morning with the resolute idea that their marriage has ended. Others experience months or even years of a gradual shift toward wanting to leave their marriage. Knowing that your marriage is over can look completely different from person to person—even from person to person within the same marriage. One person in the relationship can easily have a mindset akin to “I’m going to fix our marriage!” while the other has already checked out. Marriages fail for many reasons, and one can easily be two partners wanting different things (including divorce).
For some, knowing that your marriage is over is an intuitive decision. A single encounter with their partner may be enough for these individuals to break the proverbial camel’s back. People who rely on an intuitive “knowing” about their marriage may be more likely to decide quickly and decisively and may do so for a larger variety of reasons than others who do not arrive at decisions intuitively. For these people, marriages fail in a way that can seem immediate or even rash to an outside observer, but the failure is usually legitimate and founded, though kept close to the belt.
For others, knowing that your marriage is over requires months or even years of thought, consideration, and a careful weighing of benefits and risks. These individuals may put divorce off until they have a solid financial foundation to work from or wait until their children are older and more established. They may even start thinking, “I can fix our marriage,” before concluding that they cannot fix a broken marriage—or that fixing a broken one is not worth the fight or pain involved.
Knowing when your marriage is really over can also come from consistent, careful therapy—alone or with your spouse. Therapy can help you identify issues in yourself, your partner, or your marriage that are ultimately not conducive to your desire for a steady, happy marriage, leading to your decision to get a divorce. The steps to fixing a marriage are long and steep, and some couples ultimately decide that the steps are not worth it and conclude that if the marriage feels broken, it is too far gone to repair.
What can ruin a marriage?
A virtually limitless list of things can ruin a marriage, but some specific behaviors and situations may be more commonly implicated in damaged marriages. Most of these things have been identified by mental health professionals who have evaluated relationships and marriages and arrived at the most common reasons for losing a close and loving relationship. The most common components responsible for ruining marriages include:
- Poor communication. Poor communication is frequently at the top of the list in a therapist’s evaluation of damaged relationships. Communication is how we speak to one another but also encompasses how we treat one another. Relationships marked by passive-aggressive behavior, stonewalling, dramatic outbursts, and constant demands may quickly run aground and fall apart. Nothing will make a marriage feel broken as quickly and effectively as poor communication.
- Deceit and manipulation. Deceit is almost always connected to manipulation, as keeping a secret long-term usually involves some amount of guilting, gaslighting, or misleading someone. Deceit and manipulation can quickly ruin a marriage, as both of these things erode trust in a partner and trust in yourself. Fixing a broken marriage that has fallen apart on the heels of deceit and manipulation may be more difficult than fixing a marriage that has fallen apart for any other reason because once trust has been lost, it can take years of hard work and effort to restore.
- Excessive pride. In marriage, you will need help at some point or another, and you will make mistakes. Learning how to ask for help and acknowledge that you are wrong or have made a mistake is important to maintain a healthy, supportive partnership.
- Taking one another for granted. People in relationships frequently take one another for granted as time goes on and stop showing affection and expressing gratitude. With enough time, marriages can be destroyed by this issue alone.
- Refusing to compromise and learn together. People in a marriage must make some compromises and learn how to navigate their relationship together. Firmly believing that you know best in every situation is a surefire way to damage your relationship and can even ruin a marriage. If you go into a relationship counseling session with the mindset of “I’m going to fix our marriage,” then refuse to compromise and acknowledge your mistakes, your efforts to fix the marriage will be short-lived and ineffective.
What are the common issues that could ruin a marriage?
What do most married couples fight about?
What are the most significant things that married couples should establish?
How important is trust in a marriage?
Can communication issues cause a marriage to fail?
How do couples successfully overcome their challenges in marriage?
Why are some marriages so unhappy?
Can stressors in marriage increase the risk of developing mental health problems?
What is the primary purpose of getting married?
What are the most effective ways to repair a struggling marriage?
- Previous Article
- Next Article