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How to Save a Marriage that is Falling Apart

An estimated 41% of marriages end in divorce.

The rate of divorce has been on the decline over the past decade, but it is still a harsh reality for many.

It is not easy feeling hopeless in a marriage.

Today, I thought I would share a few ideas for your consideration. Whether you are looking for ways to save your marriage in light of an emotional disconnection, infidelity, or the birth of a child, there is hope.

Keep reading if you want to learn how to save a marriage that is falling apart.

Marriage Counseling

The longer you wait to seek help, the more difficult it will be to recover and improve your relationship.

A marriage counselor will listen to your unique situation and provide the guidance you need to move forward together with strength.

If your partner balks at the idea of marriage counseling, consider starting the process on your own. If you are dedicated to improving your relationship, you can start by focusing on you. Your partner can always join you later, at which point you can focus on your relationship together.

You may be concerned that your partner will not attend counseling with you, they may not.  What you have control over is yourself.  Your partner may just be hesitant at first and once he or she sees you getting treatment, they may agree to it also.

Self-Healing

You cannot make sufficient changes to your marriage until you have made changes to yourself. Everyone has issues. Working through personal issues will prevent them from interfering in the marriage.

For instance, if you have trust issues, it will be very hard for your marriage to work long-term if you cannot trust your partner. If you have boundary problems, this can become unhealthy for you and for your marriage.

Figuring out and resolving your own issues is a terrific way to start healing your marriage.

Like Each Other Again

When couples are fighting, it is hard to find characteristics you like about one another. Instead, you focus on all the wrong qualities they have. The smallest pet peeves turn into gigantic obstacles.

If you are going to save your marriage, it is helpful to start noticing positive traits in your partner. Not only finding them, complimenting them on those traits. From small behaviors, like folding the clothes, to the larger ones, like getting a promotion.

Praise goes a long way in making a marriage work. Too often we forget to tell the ones we love that we are proud of them. We forget to make them feel valued and important.

The good news is that praising your partner is a choice. It is an action that you can choose to do every single day. You will start to notice a positive change in both of your attitudes and how you communicate.

Once you soften and allow yourself to enjoy your partner's quirks, they may begin to do the same for you.

Real Expectations

Why are you putting such elevated expectations on someone you love? It is impossible for anyone to live up to unrealistic expectations. You are both bound to make mistakes now and then.

Give each other permission to fail, pick each other up when you do fail. Through these trials, you will become a stronger team.

Start focusing on the expectations you have for yourself and release the unrealistic expectations you have for your partner. Instead, discuss the realistic expectations you have for one another, and set goals together to help you reach those expectations, together.

Have Fun

When is the last time you and your partner had a fun time? Laughter creates good memories. Laughter helps us be less angry. Laughter can even help us forgive.

Finding ways to have fun and laugh together can create new memories in your marriage and help you release memories that may be hurtful.

Act like a kid again. Revisit some of the places you and your partner went when you were dating, where you had an exciting time. Try new activities that you both enjoy. Talk to each other to find out what is on your bucket list.

You may be surprised to find some of the same items. If so, go for it. Start marking off those bucket list items together.

Choose to Move Forward

You could spend the next ten years being sour over the way you were mistreated in the past. You could hold anger over your partner’s head and do your best to make them as miserable as you are or, you could choose to move forward.

It is completely up to you to decide to save your marriage. It is up to you to choose to be happy with your partner. It is up to you to change the way you act and react to events in your life.

From this day on, choose happiness. It is okay to let go of past hurts and regrets. When a negative thought pops into your mind, send it away by redirecting your thoughts to something positive. For instance, if the thought of a fight you had with your partner years ago surfaces, immediately turn your thoughts to the last fun time you had.

You control your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Make a choice to create a happy environment for you and your partner.

Rebuild Your Team

Remember when it was you and your partner against the world? Nothing and nobody could stand in between your love for one another.

Get back to this bond. Start sticking up for each other and defending one another instead of participating in back-stabbing or betrayal.

Be on each other’s side instead of against each other. Participate in team building activities that can help regain trust and strengthen your union.

If you want to be with your partner for the rest of your life, show them that you will be there for them, not against them, for the rest of your lives.


Chris Massman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Agoura Hills, CA. She graduated Phillips Graduate Institute with a Master of Arts in Psychology in 2014 and received her Chemical Dependency Specialty in 2014. Today, she practices Congnitive-behavioral therapy to help individuals, couples, and families identify and overcome a variety of unique challenges.