Saving Your Marriage

What we all want or seem to be striving for on a daily basis is peace in our lives and on our planet.  Sometimes it feels as if it is a constant struggle to “keep the peace” in our marriage or family.  We all have our own agendas, and yet we need to keep others’ needs and wants in view and try to be accommodating.  It is often very difficult to find that balance.  Saving your marriage before it starts or saving your marriage when things get rocky requires some focus.

Often times we hear that our friends and neighbours are having trouble in their marriages and are seeking marriage therapy.  Relationship therapy is a great first step to saving a marriage.  Your family doctor can usually recommend a good therapist, or you can check with local community services to get referrals.  Having the right marriage therapist is crucial to saving your marriage.  You will know after one or two sessions if your therapist is right for you and your partner.  Feel free to interview more than one therapist and ask them lots of questions to be sure you feel comfortable with them.

Another tip on how to save a marriage is to reevaluate yourself.  Once you realize what your role is in the disharmony, and are willing to make changes, you can begin to heal your relationship.  How you interact with your partner determines how they will interact with you.  It makes sense that if we give our partners love and respect, they will be more inclined to reciprocate.  This may sound way too simple, but if you look at your situation and see that you are caught up in a cycle of criticism, hurt and resentment, you need to break it.  One of you has to end the conflict, and start a new cycle that is positive.

Once you decide to take the positive approach, you need to focus on making your relationship work.  Cooperation is the key.  No matter what the outcome is, whether you end up staying together or not, it is essential that you can work together with your partner.  As already mentioned, your actions will dictate your partner’s reactions.  The other thing to remember is that for the most part, you will always have a relationship with your partner…especially if you have had children together.  Therefore, if you can take the first step to making it a workable relationship, you will be setting the stage for you to have a peaceful life from here forward.  Start with today and make the commitment to yourself to put the past behind you and take an understanding and respectful approach to dealing with your partner in every situation.

Another way to save your marriage is to focus on the love that is there.  You married your partner to begin with, so there had to be feelings of love present at one time.  It is actually the love that can make your relationship painful.  Often in relationship therapy, your therapist will give you exercises to do at home that will help you find that love again.  It may not be the same as it was years ago, but you may find that it is still there in a more mature form.  As terrible as things may seem, or as hurtful as you can be to each other, it doesn’t mean that the love is gone.  People will hurt each other and can get on each other’s nerves, but still have a great love for each other.  A lot of times we just need to work through all the hurt in order to acknowledge the love that is still there.  Once the pain starts to subside, you can get yourself to a place where you can deal with your partner in a loving and respectful way.  You want to stop the fighting, and it is much easier to do that when you and your partner are no longer feeling rejected or invalid.  If you want love, you have to give love.

Accepting your partner for who they are is another way to save a marriage.  A thing to bear in mind is that people are who they are whether or not we accept them.  Accepting them is by far the easiest way to live with them.  Unconditional love is acceptance and appreciation.  It’s allowing our partner to be themselves, being comfortable with being themselves around us and appreciating them for who they are…even if they are the exact opposite of us!  We’ve heard a million times that we can’t change anyone, and that is so true.  When we try to change someone, we create more conflict and resentment.  We resist who they are and we in turn get upset and tense.  It is impossible to change someone else, and expecting to do so is futile.  People are who they are, and until we realize this, we will not be happy.  If we intend to save our marriage, then acceptance is the key.  We also have to learn to not complain about who they are.  You want to make sure that your partner feels accepted and appreciated, no matter who they are!

A final tip on how to save a marriage, is forgiveness.  We need to forgive ourselves and our partner.  Resentment leads to a lot of pain and suffering in a relationship.  Quite often, more damage comes from resentment than what the other person has done to make us resent them.  We feel terrible inside because we harbour the negative feeling of resent-ment while our partner continues living their life and being who they are.  Resentment eats away at us and the only way to get rid of this feeling is to forgive.  In other words, we need to let go and release our partner from responsibility.  We also need to forgive ourselves by releasing self-resentment and feelings of guilt.  We have all made mistakes, but dwelling on them robs us of peace of mind and contentment.  When we release ourselves, we feel a sense of freedom and it allows us to feel compassion for our partner as well. 

The few tips on how to save your marriage mentioned above should get you started.  There are several more things to try, but these basic ideas are a good foundation.  It is up to you.  Once you have made the commitment to focus on healing your relationship, you will see a change in your partner as they react to your positive actions.  Peace begins with each and every one of us.