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7 Tips For Saving Your Marriage (Don’t Ignore This Crucial Advice!)
Today I’m going to cover 7 tips that will help save your marriage even if there’s already been talk of a divorce.
My name is Brad Browning and I’m a relationship coach and marriage expert. I’m also known for my best selling Mend the Marriage program which teaches folks like you how to rebuild your relationship with your spouse and save your marriage.
Let’s get started. You know the saying ‘first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes happily ever after’?
End of story, right? Not quite.
While it’s true that couples relax a bit after they’ve said their vows and tied the knot, the reality is that they may also find themselves puzzled that their fairy tale starts slipping away.
Many people think that marriage is about marrying the right person so when things start to go wrong they begin to worry that they accidentally married the wrong person.
Although you do want to marry someone that you’re compatible with, marriage has a lot less to do with marrying the right person than it does with doing the right things with the person that you are married to.
In other words, relationships are constant work in progress. If your marriage seems to be rocky, then try these tips to restore the happy connection that made you say ‘I do’ in the first place.
1. Analyze yourself.
A common assumption is that it takes both partners to save a marriage.
Now this does seem reasonable but it just isn’t true.
Unless your spouse has truly and completely given up on the relationship, it is possible for you to make sufficient changes to save the marriage on your own.
Perhaps not immediately, but over time it is inevitable that your unhappy partner will notice the positive changes in your behavior, and they will respond to it.
Whether you know it or not, you and your spouse communicate in a revolving stimulus and response pattern.
That means that when you do or say something, that acts as a stimulus and your partner reacts and then you react to their reaction, and so on.
The same thing occurs when your partner says or does something.
The two of you have built up a pattern of habitual actions and reactions over time.
Since a couple is comprised of two individuals, a change in the behavior of one person will have an impact on the other and therefore the entire relationship. When the stimulus changes, there will be a new, different response and that new response will elicit another new and different response.
If this happens enough, a new pattern of behavior between the couple begins to emerge.
Assuming the new actions and reactions are positive, the relationship is going to take a positive turn.
For example, if you’ve developed a habit of being disrespectful towards your spouse, he or she will have developed a reaction or coping mechanism.
If you stop being disrespectful and stop that type of behavior, he or she won’t need to use that coping mechanism and their reaction to you will change.
The simplest step to saving your marriage is to take a frank look at your own behavior and how you can change it, how you communicate with your spouse and what habits do you have that kick-start arguments.
Spend some time to look at your relationship and figure out which parts work and which parts don’t.
Take a moment to imagine a perfect day in your perfect relationship.
What would it look like?
How would you and your partner interact?
Next, try creating a plan of how you might get from point A where you’re currently at—your current reality— to point B, your perfect day.
Write it down if you need to. This can be something that you review to remind yourself what it is that you’re working towards.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break down the issues into doable steps and begin tackling them one at a time. By doing this you’ll be able to take the initial steps in turning your attitude, your spouse’s reactions and your marriage around.
2. Give yourself some time.
While marriage is about giving, don’t make the mistake of giving too much.
To have a good marriage you need to be a good you, but what exactly does that mean?
It means that you need to learn how to prioritize and put boundaries around activities that keep you healthy and whole. Activities like rest, relaxation, fitness and time with friends.
In other words, remember that scheduling ‘me’ time into your day is not selfish, it’s a necessity.
It will strengthen your relationship because you’ll have a saner version of you to bring to the ‘us’ equation. Now there are few phrases that can send the mind into crisis mode, and ‘I need space’ is one of those.
Whether it’s you or your spouse hearing this, it’s natural to begin questioning if you’ve been crowding them too much or if it’s code for ‘I want out.’
However needing space doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
By allowing you and your partner to each have some time for yourselves, it will not only give you both the chance to cool down, reset or feel eased, but it will also help with your marriage and any issues you’re facing into perspective.
Sometimes, even a little bit of time apart can be the key to actually resolving your marriage crisis.
3. Resolve the money madness.
Money is one of the biggest sources of marital conflict and it can be one of the toughest to resolve. It’s something that many couples worry and argue about constantly.
Disagreements over money can stem from many sources.
If one partner earns considerably more than the other, resentment can build. This can happen as a result of the greater earner policing expenditures or the lesser earning person feeling guilty about spending more or bitter about the unequal income.
Money can be used and abused for power in a relationship. It can also be a proxy for other points of disagreement or unhappiness in a marriage. Money isn’t just dollars or cents in a marriage, it can also represent control, self-worth or freedom. It can be used as a reward or a punishment.
Different objectives or attitudes towards spending can cause significant strife. If you and your spouse are starting to hound each other over dollars and cents then it’s time to have a chat.
It’s important for couples to make an active plan about how they’ll manage their money.
Combine it, separate it, create a joint account and keep some separate, whatever the plan is both people have to be part of the decision to do it and then figure out what needs to be done to keep the system running smoothly.
The only thing you have to be careful about here is not letting this money talk turn into a screaming match, so keep things civilized and if the discussion does begin to get heated, shut things down and revisit it another day.
You may also want to consider investing in my Mend the Marriage program which includes a special bonus book that covers this exact topic in detail. You can learn more about my program at my website.
4. Use the three sentence rule.
When you need to ask your partner for something that could be misconstrued as nagging, limit the request to three sentences max.
I know this may sound a little bit strange but it helps when you need to be assertive without coming off as aggressive.
By keeping your request to three sentences or less it’s almost impossible to blame or use sarcasm. It’s also a lot more likely that you’ll get your point across without losing your spouse’s attention.
Body language is everything here. Make your request with a smile, use a warm tone and positive body language.
5. Take a time out.
If you find yourself and your spouse in a heated situation, don’t duke it out. Instead, consider taking a time out, walking away or getting some air.
Humans are hard-wired with a desire to win which is why we have a hard time letting our guards down. When couples talk about hot button issues like sex, housework, money, kids, it’s not uncommon for the losing partner to turn up the heat and escalate the issue.
The next time you begin bickering with your spouse, take a break and revisit the subject when neither one of you feels overwhelmed by the topic. Going into a conversation that has the potential for debate with a calm and clear mind can actually really just completely avoid the argument altogether.
6. Revive the intimacy.
Intimacy is an important part of any marriage. It’s one of the first areas to suffer when feelings begin to dissipate. Although couples looking to mend their marriage frequently mention the lack of sex as a source of unhappiness, few people really understand the strong psychological effect that frequent sex has in a marriage.
That said, it can be very frustrating when struggling couples try to force intimacy back into their marriage. It’s not uncommon to feel like sex is a heavier burden than the actual fighting that’s causing the emotional canyon in your marriage.
You and your spouse may even feel like sex puts pressure on you to perform, but romancing your spouse isn’t about punishing yourself.
Think of sex as your secret weapon to saving your marriage.
It’s not about forcing yourself to enjoy sex, but rather more about sitting down with your spouse and openly communicating your own needs and desires. Now if you find that talking about sex with your partner is too difficult then head over to my website and watch the free, full-length presentation I’ve got there. I talk more about that topic.
7. Stop holding grudges.
It’s time to let go of your bad memories. To do this, you need to be committed. It may sound easy but believe me it’s often tougher than you might think.
Instead of carrying grudges around forever, try to let them go.
Give this a try: write down all of the negative memories that are a product of your marriage on a piece of paper. Then set a timer for a certain amount of time, however long you think you’ll need to fully let these go.
During this dedicated time allow yourself to wallow in the misery of these grudges, savor them, get angry about them, mutter about them, do whatever you need to do to get sick and tired of them.
Once you’re done, commit to not thinking about these ever again. Realize that these grudges have lost their usefulness and there is no going back in time to change the course of history. Toss the list away and let them go.
Not only will you feel relieved and lighter, but by releasing this negative energy you’re also opening yourself up to a clean slate and a fresh start.
Now if you’ve got any questions about these tips or you’d like my advice on your specific situation, I do offer one-on-one coaching to a select number of clients. You can see my current coaching availability and learn more about my coaching program in general at my website.
That’s about it for now, I hope that you learned something new and you’re feeling confident and excited about trying some of this out in an effort to save your marriage.