“Of course, you need to talk about the big stuff – that’s where learning to communicate comes in. But you also need to remind yourselves why you’re trying to save your marriage. You need to remember why you fell in love and why you want to stay together.” ~ Rachael Pace
Marriage breakdown is terrifying. I can still remember how it felt. I’d wake up every morning feeling ok, then I’d remember that my marriage was on the rocks and a cloud of stress and tension would descend on me that wouldn’t go away the entire day. We were both unhappy, and afraid thinking that the end was coming. I felt like I had to walk on eggshells every day.
Most of all, I felt tremendous grief. I kept thinking back to when we first met, that first awkward date where we went to see a movie and I spilled my drink on him in my nervousness. But we both laughed and by the end of the night, we were walking arm in arm.
Where had that time gone?
Things had been fine until after our second baby came along. I was stressed out with juggling being a mom and my career as a dental assistant, and he was spending longer and longer hours building his own real estate business.
I Thought The End Was Inevitable
We were both exhausted, strung out, and it seemed like the only time we talked was to snipe at each other. We’d had the painful heart wrenching “I don’t know if this is working out” talk, and now we were both in limbo, not sure how to fix our ailing marriage. But neither of us wants to make a move on getting divorced either.
That’s when I decided that I wasn’t ready to give up.
I still loved my husband. We still made each other laugh on the rare occasions when we weren’t assailed by tension. We still shared a lot of values and goals. I knew our marriage was worth another shot.
There was a lot of trial and error along the way, but we did make it in the end.
Best Ways to Save Your Marriage
I’m happy to be able to say that the rough patch is now two years behind us and we’re going strong. I learned a few things along the way about the best ways to save your marriage. I hope you’ll find them useful.
1. To Save Your Marriage, You Both Have to Be Committed
Marriage takes work and commitment at the best of times. Saving a marriage that’s on the rocks takes a huge amount of work and commitment.
If you’re both dedicated to reconciling with each other, the work is worth every minute.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every minute I spent working on fixing my marriage, because I know if I hadn’t, we wouldn’t be together now. But you both need to be on the same side.
Start by being honest with yourself.
Do you want to save this marriage? Do you believe in your heart that it can be saved? Is fixing this marriage what you truly want?
Sometimes you think you want to end your marriage, but what you really want is for things to change between you.
Once you’re clear on what you want, you need to get clear with your partner.
My husband and I had some long, painful heart to heart talks, and the chances are you’ll be doing the same. If you’re both committed, you can turn things around – but it takes 100% commitment from both of you.
2. If You Can Learn To Communicate, You Can Save Your Marriage
Have you ever heard that communication is the foundation of a relationship? I know I’ve heard those words around a lot of places online, so much that they’re almost a cliché.
One thing I learned when we were trying to save our marriage was that there is nothing more truthful than this.
I’m sure you know how it feels – you get in a fight, barbs are thrown, and you both walk away feeling defeated and hurt. Learning to communicate well puts a stop to that and helps you both express your feelings in a way that moves your relationship forward instead of causing fights.
You’ll both need to practice the art of expressing yourself without slipping into accusations and nastiness. In addition, you’ll want to learn how to listen without interrupting or judging.
I was amazed by how much smoother things were after we learned to talk honestly, openly and kindly with each other.
3. Be Conscious About Bringing In More Good
I know this sounds a bit “hippie”, but bear with me a moment.
A failing marriage is upsetting for anyone. When you’re feeling down and it seems like your marriage has become nothing but a list of problems you’re having, it feels like you’re drowning.
Of course, you need to talk about the big stuff – that’s where learning to communicate comes in. But you also need to remind yourselves why you’re trying to save your marriage. You need to remember why you fell in love and why you want to stay together.
Focus on what you love about each other, and remember to tell the other person about it. Think about what makes you a good team, and play to those strengths. Make some time for straight-up fun where you get a sitter, leave work and household stresses behind, and just spend time enjoying each other’s company. Recapture the spark that made you want to marry each other in the first place.
A failing marriage can be saved. I hope you find the lessons I learned helpful in your endeavors to save yours. Stay committed and stay on the same team, and it can be done.