It’s the worst feeling in the world, when you realize your marriage is broken. You never thought this would happen. In the beginning, you felt it would last forever. Of course, you were mesmerized by the newness of the relationship. You did not see any of your partner’s flaws.
At the beginning of your relationship you never thought you would have to worry about, how to fix a broken marriage.
All marriages go through highs and lows. But, it feels much worse when it is broken. You wonder if it can ever be fixed? Your heart is breaking. You wonder if you will ever get through this?
There is no magic wand here. I have seen many couples in my practice. By the time they come to see me, they are usually on the brink of divorce. They have lots of questions for me. ‘Can you fix us?’ ‘Is it worth it?’ And, so on. I tell them, I have no magical answers. I know you will need to make an investment in your relationship, again. The truth is some couples make it and some don’t.
Here are 7 tips on how to fix a broken marriage:
- What made you fall in love, in the first place? After being married for a while, it’s easy to forget what you like about your spouse. What was it like in the beginning? What stood out? What did he smell like? Where was your first date? What made you realize that this was the person you wanted to be with for the rest of your life? Write it down, this way you will remember it. This will also help lift your spirits and change your mindset about the relationship.
- Start to listen to each other again. Listening is truly a gift to your spouse. Listen without trying to fix or solve your spouse’s problem. When you listen to your spouse, you convey understanding. This is what we all want more than anything. You can ask questions. This will let your spouse know you are genuinely interested in them. Do you know your spouse’s deepest and darkest secrets? If not, this is a great time to ask. There needs to be safety in the relationship to go deeper. You create safety by listening and not criticizing your spouse when they open up to you.
- Turn towards your spouse. I have spent a lot of time studying and practicing The Gottman Method for Couples. They have done over four decades of research in working with couples. What they have found is, it’s the subtle things that make a BIG difference. Your spouse can smile, make eye-contact or nod. It’s important you turn towards when he does. A smile usually does the trick. But, you can always ask your spouse how there day was? This is always happening. Make sure when you reunite at the end of the day, you greet one another. This means you put away electronic gadgets and set time aside for one another.
- Don’t let distractions get in the way of your marriage. I know you have kids, work and a house. Which makes it easy to put your marriage last. Think back to how it was in the beginning, when you made your relationship first. You couldn’t wait to see one another. You wanted to see what your partner was wearing and find out as much as you possibly could about them. I see this a lot. Life gets in the way of your marriage. This means you need to start to schedule time for one another, and stick to it. If the phone rings, let it go to voicemail. This is your time for one another.
- Have fun, again. Fun is what will keep you together. When was the last time you laughed with your partner. And, I’m not talking one of those ‘haha’ laughs. I’m talking about a good belly laugh that felt like it would never end. As adults we get away from laughing. The next time you have a chance observe children on a playground. They laugh a lot. They aren’t taking life so seriously. Worrying about their next bonus or the next Tesla they want to buy. Laughing and having fun together is good for your relationship and your soul. Reminiscence about the good times, the times where you had a good laugh together.
- Change your expectations. You aren’t the person you were when you got married, and neither is your partner. As human beings we are complex, we are always changing. When you’ve been married for a while, it’s easy to rely on your partner for everything. It’s also easy to feel disappointed when your partner can’t do everything. You didn’t marry Superman. Be gentle with your partner. Accept what has changed. This will help change your perspective on the relationship. If you don’t change your expectations, your partner will feel like you are trying to change him. This will cause resentment in the long run.
- R is for Repair. You can’t move on, if you haven’t repaired. I see this a lot in my practice, couples don’t get over an argument. When this happens, the argument continues. One of the easiest ways to repair is to admit to what you have done wrong and apologize. Although this is easy, it’s one of the hardest things for couples to do. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your marriage. The apology needs to be sincere. When your spouse apologizes, you need to accept the apology. Just as it’s important to repair, it’s important to accept the repair.
If you would like to fix your broken marriage, start simple. Set aside time this week for listening. After that, you can take any of these steps and add them to your relationship, one step at a time. The good news is you can fix your relationship, but it will take time.
There is no easy fix. It took you a long time to get to where you are, remember to hang in there. Once you start using these steps, you will want to keep using them. By using these steps, you will increase the friendship, trust and intimacy in the relationship.
If you liked this article, then go to Relationship Challenges. There are many more tips on how to create a happier and more successful marriage.
I’m Lianne Avila a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. I have helped many couples through difficult times in their relationship. You can sign up for my free newsletter and receive tips that will help your relationship. To learn more about myself and the services I provide please call (650) 892-0357 or email Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.