With millions of marriages ending in divorce each year, you may be wondering, “How can I save my marriage?” Here are three things to consider.
One of the best things you can do to “save my marriage” is maintain a policy of strict honesty with your spouse and with yourself. Assess your relationship and your role within it.
Instead of blaming your partner for failing to meet specific needs, focus on things that are in your control.
Look at your attitudes and your behavior. You may experience an “aha” moment, stop dead in your tracks and announce to the world, “I know what I can do to save my marriage."
Some key steps to begin taking responsibility for your actions are:
I’ve done all I can to save my marriage. I’m walking away.
Nearly three-quarters of all divorces in America are filed by women; marriage therapist Michel Weiner-Davis calls this the Walk Away Wife Syndrome. In her experience, many women spend the early years of marriage as the relationship guardians, struggling to make it all work.
Their husbands frequently experience these efforts as nagging and don’t respond in a positive or constructive way. Eventually, the wife throws in the proverbial towel, believing that she has done everything she could. She stops asking, “What can I do to save my marriage?” Instead, she lapses into a quiet, introspective mode as she begins to contemplate or plan life after marriage. The husband often misinterprets this silence and believes problems have been reconciled and his wife is happy. When she finally announces that she’s walking away, he is stunned.
Weiner-Davis advises women to seek help early in the marriage. Through counseling the couple can learn effective communication strategies and begin to speak candidly about their needs. And strange as it may sound, she also suggests that men look on nagging as a positive sign. It shows that the wife is interested in seeing their relationship evolve into one that is more loving and nurturing.
Holding on to grudges
You cannot nurture a loving and intimate relationship if you harbor anger and resentment in your heart. If you tend to hang on to grudges, practice letting go. Forgiving your spouse goes a long way towards healing damaged relationships. And, psychologists agree that the person who forgives reaps huge benefits. It isn’t entirely a selfless act.
When we hang on to anger we expose ourselves to a battery of crippling emotions like guilt and fear. We expect the worst from people and we find it difficult to find anything positive in our lives. The act of forgiveness leaves room for more joy, affection and wonder in our hearts.
People often hesitate to forgive because they think it lets the other person off the hook. It doesn’t. They are still accountable for their actions and you will not easily forget the hurt they caused. However, through forgiveness you can move beyond the past and focus on creating a better future.
And then you won’t always be asking yourself, “How can I save my marriage?” You’ll already know.
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