Save Your Relationship
How to fix a failing relationship? How to save your marriage from ending? Can this marriage be saved? How to save a marriage when only one is trying? Fix my marriage!
Often it is only at the crisis stage that a couple finally reaches out to a therapist with questions like those stated above. In such cases, the couple has a high level of relationship distress and they want quick and effective guidance from the therapist.
Sometimes it is decades of contentious history that has turned into deep set resentment and needs to be worked through, while other times it is the discovery of an affair or some other transgression that has led to a crisis. Couples therapy requires commitment, and for couples who are dedicated to the process, it is possible to turn their relationship around from the brink of a breakup, with the help of a therapist who specializes in couples and relationship therapy.
During a difficult period, a couple may wonder what to do and whether it is even worth going to a therapist. Here are some tips to keep in mind while considering your next step:
Is there anything in the relationship that is worth fighting for?
For most it is easy to produce a list of their partner’s negative qualities, and behaviors that cause irritation and distress. Often people forget the positive aspects of their relationship; the attention is imbalanced on the negative qualities and distress causing patterns. Intentionally focusing on the positive traits and behaviors highlights reasons to fight for the relationship. A seemingly small positive quality can become the catalyst to start repairing the connection.
What are the reasons I want to fight for this relationship
Remind yourself and your partner of the benefits of remaining in the relationship and working things out. Benefits may include the impact on children, families, and finances.
Is this a difficult phase that will pass?
Ascertaining whether the current desire to end the relationship is due to a rough patch or the result of chronic distress, can be helpful in determining the course of action. If circumstantial the feelings may change once the circumstances change. Patience, self-care, couples therapy for coping and communication, and reliance on one’s support system can help deal with the pressure of a rough patch. While in the case of chronic distress, more intense measures such as couples therapy and couples retreats to assess and address deep underlying patterns may be considered.
Change what you can, and let go of what is not in your control
Focus on what is in your control instead of worrying about what your partner is or is not doing. No matter how difficult let go of the attempt to change your partner. Let your partner worry about what they need to change – you don’t! This will typically lead to better moods and a more relaxed feeling.
Is there something to be learnt from this impasse?
Viewing conflict as an opportunity for resolution and new growth is helpful. Conflict does not have to be negative if it leads to development. Relationships go through stages of development and a certain amount of conflict is inherent in relationships as they traverse through each stage. Conflict does not necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed. It can indicate simply that the relationship is going through growth and adjustment.
Do things that help the relationship.
Being mindful to stay away from blame and anger, using I statements to express your feelings, taking ownership for your part in the negative cycle, and attempting to keep communication open and constructive can lower distress and negative interactions. A hug, kiss, pat on the back, and verbal praise go a long way to express affection and appreciation. Spending time together and checking in with each other to see how your partner is doing are important. You may not feel like expressing affection or making an effort for positive interaction, but it is important to do it anyway to build back the positive relationship capital.
Consider the larger impact of a breakup
Do not make such a big decision without considering all aspects. If there is any doubt, wait till you have clarity. There is no rush. It takes a lot to build a relationship, but only a moment to break it.
Think about how it how it would feel to leave your relationship
Think about how it would be without your partner. Imagine your life and daily activities without them. Make your decision mindfully and with eyes wide open. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and it is not worth checking whether it is or isn’t without trying everything you can to save and heal your relationship.
Whether on the verge or divorce, stuck in doubt, wondering how to save the marriage, or how to make a flailing relationship work, reach out to a couples therapist who can guide and support you at this difficult time.