You CAN save your marriage - here's how!

You CAN save your marriage - here's how!

Even the most loving couples face problems at times. If it feels like your marriage is on the rocks, here's how you can make it better.

Ending a relationship through divorce or separation can be the worst thing that could happen to anyone—next only to a death in the family. In fact, in a sense, it is like death...the death of the family as a unit.  Tempers flare, tears fall and children often get traumatised, confused, and hurt.

We can only begin to imagine what goes on inside the hearts and minds of the couple who have gone through so much that they resort to throwing the towel in. How hopeless they probably feel.

While sometimes you have no choice but to call it truce, don't be quick to do it, unless you know that you've tried your level best. 

As cliche as it sounds, a relationship is akin to a garden. If we want it to thrive, we must water it regularly. Not just must special care be given, we need to take into account the seasons as well as any unpredictable weather. In addition, we need to sow new seeds ever so often and pluck out the weeds.

Similarly; to keep the magic of love alive we MUST understand that love goes through seasons. Almost every couple has gone through a period of lows...questioning their relationship or marriage.

So my friend, even if you are in the bleakest of stages right now...even if it's the period of winter for your relationship, take comfort in knowing that spring WILL arrive. It's just a matter of time. Don't be quick to give up! Instead try to nurture your marriage with these relationship rescue tips.

LOVE- the verb

Stephen Covey, the highly acclaimed author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has this to share in his book,

At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, “Stephen, I like what you’re saying. But every situation is so different. Look at my marriage. I’m really worried. My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”

“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked.

“That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”

“Love her,” I replied.

“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”

“Love her.”

“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”

“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”

“But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend, love is a verb. Love—the feeling—is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

Covey states that love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured.

You CAN save your marriage - here's how!

Do Not Confess Each Other's Sins

I recently went home to my parent’s place back in the Phillipines on a mission. Being the eldest, my parents asked for my help to reconcile two of my younger brothers (both married) who have just lately been constantly locking horns over some property issues.

Having not visited for years, my arrival became an impromptu family reunion of sorts. My other brother came to visit too. We drove to a nearby resort to celebrate. The atmosphere was festive, everyone was in high spirits.

It took only a conspiratorial wink and a nod and a look surreptitiously passed among us brothers, and we knew it was time. The four of us excused ourselves from the rest of the family (wives and kids) and walked to a spot where we could have some privacy.

It helped that my role and influence as the eldest remained as how it was when we were younger and were still living together. Without much ado, I started, “Boys, we have an issue and we have to address it. This is how we’re going to do it: without forgetting that we are here to resolve this issue, each of you (addressing the two brothers) will tell us what mistakes you did to cause and worsen this feud. You have been busy confessing your brother’s sins, it is now time for you to confess yours.”

I was surprised that the first one asked to “confess his sins” did not only identify his faults, he also went as far as elaborating his wrong attitudes, his jealousy, and pride as the root of his mistakes.

He ended up apologizing to the other brother for those “sins.” When it was the other brother’s turn, he also did a good job “prosecuting” himself, by admitting his mistakes.

When the two brothers shook hands and hugged, our mother who was earnestly watching from a distance shed a tear of joy.

Like my brothers, a husband and wife can have a misunderstanding. However, things can get out of hand when both would focus on proving the other’s guilt.

It becomes a “you started it,” or a “I did something wrong, but your reaction was worse,” or, “You are more wrong than I am,” kind of finger-pointing drawn-out battle. No one would want to accept defeat.

We have a saying that says, “when you point a finger to someone, the rest of your fingers are pointing towards you.”

The Enrichment Journal reports that the divorce rate in America is 41% for the first marriage, 60% for the second and 73% for the third. I am bringing this up because separation may not be the answer. It could happen again and again, unless you start looking inside of you and try to see how you have contributed to the demise of your relationship.

Be More Compassionate

Accept your spouse's imperfections. No one is perfect, but two people can be perfect for each other. And never forget that you have your own set of imperfections.

You CAN save your marriage - here's how!

Open Up

You need to muster up your humility. Instead of talking about your frustrations towards your spouse, talk about your frustrations about yourself. About how you are not handling the situation well, then humbly ask for her help. You will be surprised at how she would reciprocate.

Absolutely avoid finger-pointing battles.

Give Her Importance

Usually, the trouble is doubled by if you are constantly on the lookout for her mistakes and your only means of relating to her is by measuring how miserable she makes you feel. It becomes a chicken-and-egg argument: she makes you feel bad so you make her feel bad so she makes you feel worse.

Most importantly, always remember to put more importance to the relationship than on how you feel about it. When you do, you will be surprised that that is the only way for the relationship to make you happy and contented.

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Written by

Ron Afable

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