So many women ask for advice on how to save a marriage that is struggling. Is it even possible? The fact that you want to save it is a good sign. One issue with many couples is a simple lack of effort and imagination. If successful courting requires commitment, hard work, and imagination to pull off, then why does it surprise us when neglect hurts relationships after we walk down the aisle? Your husband wouldn’t have married you if you took him for granted while you were dating, so why risk everything now?
Knowing how to save a marriage is only half the battle. You have to make the choice and then take action over and over again. These 10 ideas are great starting points. Share this article with your husband. Then both of you agree to pick one thing (don’t tell the other person what you’ve picked) and start working on your marriage today.
1. Choose to love.
Love may have come easy when it was brand new. But love over the long haul is as much a choice as it is an emotion. Choice is an act of maturity, and it has a much better track record than emotion left to make its way on its own.
2. Pray for your spouse.
Chances are, you launched your marriage with both promises and prayers. Pray for your husband, and ask for guidance as you pledge to make the kind of effort that requires turning to God every day.
3. Surround yourselves with people in healthy relationships.
Some of those negative patterns involved friends. Hook up with a faith community where marriage is valued and there’s widespread support for making yours work.
4. Act as if your spouse’s happiness is more important than your own.
Putting your husband first nurtures trust, gratitude, generosity, and affection. It can also lead to more kissing!
5. Put the relationship ahead of everything, including your children.
It’s unfortunate, but time has a way of eating away at our priorities. “You’re the most important thing in my life” gives way to work, the family business, the children, aging parents, and even shopping, gossiping, or drinking. Marriages don’t work well when your partner plays second fiddle to anything—even the kids. It’s a fact; the happiest kids are those whose parents love one another best.
6. Start over from scratch.
Ask him out. Make sure you remember why you went out with him the first time and build from there. When did you last talk for hours, hold hands at a movie, or smooch behind a plant in the mall? Get silly about one another. If you don’t feel like it, do it anyway; then you’ll remember why.
7. Stop taking one another for granted.
Say “thank you” for that cup of coffee. Celebrate obscure anniversaries. Tell him how much it means to you that he cooks a great meal or vice versa. Clean his car. Pay attention to the little things and act like someone who values the relationship.
8. Get counseling.
You say you can’t afford it, but believe us, it’s cheaper than divorce! Most counseling simply involves a few sessions to get the communication flowing again. A willingness to talk in that context sends a positive message to your spouse and a good counselor can give plenty of insight into how to save a marriage.
9. Follow the counseling with an action plan.
Just like a personal fitness program, counseling comes with homework and an action plan over time. Draw up the plan, ask friends you trust to help hold you accountable, and then follow through. When both spouses take responsibility, anything is possible.
10. Change the patterns.
Do you always come home angry? If so, stop the car a block away and take some deep breaths. Do you always fight about discipline? Try agreeing with his decisions and supporting him 100 percent. You may find the kids act better because you’re not fighting.
Tell us! What are some healthier ways to handle conflict in our marriages?