24th September 2023

How to Save a Marriage – 10 Actionable Steps

How to Save a Marriage – 10 Actionable Steps

The success of a marriage depends on how well the two partners communicate. More respect, a better understanding, and stronger ties can result from an open and honest conversation between persons. However, poor communication can result in misunderstandings, frustration, and, finally, the collapse of the bond. In this post, we’ll cover the value of communication in marriages and how to strengthen it with a specialist’s support.

1. Communicate Openly and Honestly.

The secret to a happy marriage is open, honest communication. In contrast, married couples frequently struggle to express their wants, desires, and concerns to one another. According to renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, married couples who don’t discuss unpleasant topics are less likely to be content in their partnerships.

People typically shun open discussion for fear of coming to a different opinion. Because they don’t want to argue or offend each other, many couples avoid discussing delicate subjects. But, on the other side, avoiding disagreement could make situations worse.

Read Here: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes at the Sink: The Importance of Communication

Dr. Gottman recommends couples talk to one other more successfully by employing the “gentle start-up” strategy. To accomplish this, you should begin a polite conversation rather than one that is aggressive or combative. In addition, he advocates utilizing “I” phrases instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” such as, “I feel unhappy when you don’t listen to me.”

2. Seek Professional Help

Even though open communication is crucial for a happy marriage, more is needed. In some circumstances, couples are on the brink of divorce and may benefit from the assistance of marriage counseling. This is particularly true if the couple faces other challenges, such as infidelity, addiction, mental health problems, or if communication has been strained for a while. A lack of communication can result in a broken marriage in a troubled marriage. When openly communicating during difficult times seems like a waste of time, couples therapy might help fix unhappy marriages.

Related:Improving Relationships: 5 Benefits of Individual Therapy

Couples counseling “may help couples build a strong emotional connection and learn how to talk to one other and work out their problems,” according to well-known couple’s therapist Dr. Sue Johnson. In addition, working with a competent specialist allows couples to discover fresh approaches to upgrading their union and building comprehension of their communication and behavior on. In short, a marriage counselor can help navigate you to a healthy marriage.

It’s vital to recognize that getting professional aid doesn’t make you weak or a failure. On the contrary, admitting you have a problem and trying to correct it involves guts and strenuous effort. According to Dr. Johnson, the critical condition for couples counseling is that both partners be open to participation.

3. Make Time for Quality Time.

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It’s simple to become mired in the daily grind of our fast-paced world and lose sight of the people we cherish. However, it would be best if you made time for one another to preserve a healthy and happy marriage. Relationship specialist Dr. Terri Orbuch argues that couples who spend more time together are more likely to describe their partnership as healthy.

Two people can undertake a range of activities to spend quality time together based on their hobbies and interests. It may be as easy as preparing lunch together, taking a stroll, or watching a movie. Focusing on each other and avoiding distractions from the outside world when you’re spending time together is crucial.

Dr. Orbuch advocates organizing regular date evenings to prioritize spending quality time together. She believes that making a plan increases your likelihood of following through. It does not have to be pricey or complicated. Instead, it should be a pastime enjoyed by both partners.

Every relationship, including marriage, will experience conflict. Disagreements may result when people have divergent opinions, preferences, and top priorities. However, how a couple handles disputes determines whether or not their relationship will last.

4. Practice Active Listening and Empathy.

Communication in a marriage involves more than just talking; it also involves listening. They can grasp what each other and their spouse are saying if they pay attention to what is being stated. Likewise, understanding your partner’s thoughts and feelings requires active listening. Well-known psychologist Dr. Harriet Lerner asserts, “most people listen so they can answer, not so they can understand.”

Related: Tips for Communicating in Relationships: Build a Stronger Bond

It’s crucial to establish a setting where people can communicate with each other openly and honestly if you want to practice active listening. Couples should listen more closely to one another’s remarks than what they plan to say next. Dr. Lerner recommends, “Everybody aspires to be heard, seen, and liked. Even if people disagree, they will cooperate to find solutions if they feel heard and seen.”

Another critical component of good communication is empathy. Understanding and experiencing what another person is feeling is what empathy is. Empathy-based communication between partners makes it easy to be vulnerable, vital for creating trust and intimacy.

Read more about empathy:Empathy: The Key to Improving Relationships

5. Learn How to Manage Conflict.

There will always be disputes, but how a couple manages them will decide how well their relationship works. Couples should learn how to handle conflicts without arguing or avoiding one another. Dr. John Gottman, a prominent relationship specialist, emphasizes finding healthy solutions to problems. According to the author, happy and stable marriages are more likely for couples who address obstacles constructively.

Whether you’re just married or on the brink of divorce, you must be able to listen to your partner’s concerns and listen actively. Active listening is one of the finest techniques for solving challenges. Couples should attempt to comprehend one another’s emotions and opinions without interrupting or correcting them. This method enables both parties to voice their thoughts without fear of rejection, helping to create a comfortable environment for discussing the problem at hand.

Taking a break can make it easier for you to handle conflicts. Taking a break during tense arguments can be beneficial to collect oneself and consider the circumstances. Marriage therapist Dr. William Doherty urges couples to be aware of their “red flags” and take a break before things spiral out of control.

6. Take Responsibility

A strong marriage requires both spouses to accept responsibility for their actions. Being aware of and accountable for how your behavior affects the connection is vital. According to psychology professor Dr. Brené Brown, we can’t numb negative emotions. We likewise numb the happy feelings when we dull the negative ones.

Accepting responsibility in a marriage requires owning up to mistakes, apologizing, and making the right corrections. Happy couples “take responsibility for their parts in confrontations and make repairs straight away,” according to Dr. Gottman. A hopeless marriage can be signified by both partners losing their sense of responsibility for the relationship.

It’s vital to take responsibility for one’s development. Couples should aspire to be the most excellent versions of themselves for the partnership as well as for themselves. You can strengthen your communication and conflict resolution talents by attending seminars, reading self-help books, and participating in counseling sessions.

The couple’s attitude to a rough patch in their marriage is equally as vital as the joyous times. Talk about underlying worries, express gratitude, and generate common aspirations and dreams to establish a firm foundation for a marriage. In this article, we’ll study professional recommendations on identifying and treating underlying difficulties, communicating thanks and appreciation, and developing marital objectives that benefit both partners.

7. Identify and Address any Underlying Marital Issues.

When there are troubles in a marriage, looking beneath the current issue is vital to find any underlying concerns. According to noted relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, “virtually every problem in a marriage is triggered by a conversation the pair should have had but didn’t.”

Couples must communicate openly and honestly without fear of criticism or condemnation. Couples must be willing to address their needs, wants, feelings, and issues that can cause conflict.

Not only on a individual level is it important to work on marital issues, but also on an individual perspective.To give an example, there are quite some people googling ‘crazy wife‘, which just seems outright weird, and shows for a lack of communication in some relationships.

Marriage therapist Dr. Melanie Greenberg advises couples to look for patterns or recurrent issues that may be the root of their problems. According to her, the foundation of the problem may be unsatisfied emotional or physical needs or discrepancies in priorities, values, or expectations.

A pair can work together to uncover a problem’s root causes and create a solution. This may require examining your alternatives, establishing boundaries, and obtaining assistance from a therapist.

8. Express Gratitude and Appreciation

Expressing gratitude and praise is an easy and efficient way to improve a marriage. According to Dr. Gottman, couples who show thanks and appreciation to one another frequently have stronger relationships and are more likely to remain together.

Saying “thank you” and focusing on the subtle gestures your partner makes are two basic approaches to communicating gratitude. In a marriage, each partner needs to respect and acknowledge the contributions the other makes and the other person offers to the partnership.

According to Dr. Aaron Anderson, a marital and family therapist, respecting one another’s love languages is vital. According to him, people express their love in the manner they wish to be loved, but it is crucial to understand and respect one another’s love languages.

By expressing positive emotions, talking becomes easier. Additionally, if you can communicate the underlying issues of your broken relationships, you’ve tackled one of the most challenging aspects of fixing the conflict cycle.

9. Create Shared Goals and Visions.

a person holding money

A successful marriage can be solidly founded if the two involved share the same aspirations. Therefore, couples should discuss and understand their shared values, priorities, and long-term objectives. We understand it’s a controversial topic, because every individual’s life goals are different and you never become one person in married life. However, you might be able to build a healthier marriage if your goals align with your partner’s.

According to marriage expert and author Dr. Gary Chapman, a standard set of objectives may keep a couple motivated, united, and linked. Additionally, people may feel more connected to one another and cooperative when they have similar aims. 

Making sure both parties are on the same page and understand what is expected of them is vital when creating common objectives. Each partner’s goals, worries, and expectations should be shared frankly and honestly.

Dr. Zach Brittle, a marriage and family therapist, recommends couples discuss their common aspirations and vision frequently. According to the author, couples should set aside time to discuss their progress, revel in their achievements, and make any necessary modifications.

10. Work on The Relationship.

Related: Rekindle the Spark – 9 Actionable Ideas

Both parties must be willing to put work into a relationship for it to be solid and healthy. However, a relationship’s early pleasure and spark can decrease over time, and partners may endure several challenges. Whether it’s communication in marriage, busy life, your conflict management skills, financial pressures, or constant arguments, you need to put in the effort to make your relationship work.

According to renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, the happiest couples know how to rebuild their relationship after a conflict. One of the most significant things you can do for a relationship is to decide to work on it.

When a couple decides to work on their relationship, they acknowledge that issues must be resolved and that both are willing to make changes. This can involve researching numerous possibilities, getting help from professionals, and making a concerted effort to build connections and communication.

Dr. Gottman recommends couples regularly hold “State of the Partnership” sessions to review their union and determine what needs to be altered. Checking in frequently “may help couples stay connected, understand each other’s needs and expectations, and avoid little challenges from becoming large ones,” the author claims.

Marriage and family therapist Dr. Zach Brittle frequently discusses the value of commitment in relationships. “Deciding to work on the relationship when things aren’t going well, instead than merely sticking together when things are going well,” he contends, is what commitment means.

Working on a relationship requires time, effort, the capacity to find oneself, and reason through obstacles. However, a clinical psychologist, Dr. Melanie Greenberg says that recognizing your emotional triggers and patterns can help you understand how you connect with your relationship and what you need to improve.

Investigating your feelings, goals, and expectations is one technique to become more self-aware. Another way is to admit and take responsibility for unwanted habits or behaviors. Both sides must take responsibility for their conduct and be willing to improve for the relationship’s benefit.

About Author

Johan Froentjes

A veteran writer for relationship content who uses academic research to write articles and provide expert insights.


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