There has perhaps never been a more difficult climate for marriage than today’s climate. With the pressures of jobs, careers, families and finances couples find themselves under increasing demands. The stress of these demands often finds couples internalizing problems that can occur in a marriage and leads to the decision that divorce is the only solution. Meanwhile, relationship experts continue to emphasize the idea that divorce isn’t an easy thing nor is it
the cure for every marriage in crisis. Studies show that children, finances and even subsequent marriages all suffer from the brunt of divorce. Too many people, instead of working together to remedy the situation and save their families, decide to part ways and start over with someone new, in the hopes that the second or third time around will prove more successful. The good news here is that if you aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel, if you are ready to do the work to save your marriage, there are practical steps you can try that might just help you save your marriage.
Here are some valuable pieces of advice to help heal your marriage when it is heading for divorce:
• Make a plan. Too often, facing even the most serious marriage problems, many couples hope that somehow their issues will magically resolve themselves and they can reconcile. Contrary to what movies often portray, reconciliation between warring spouses does not occur with a musical backdrop nor does it happen magically. For that reasons, and others, it is crucial to make a plan which includes issues which must be addressed, whether counseling must be sought out and/or logistics which must change, as couples facing divorce are often living apart. Having a plan for repairing the marriage will insure that both partners are on the same path to renewed commitment.
• Be flexible! Stubbornness is usually at the root of many problems between couples. If one partner sets their mind to something and the other cannot or does not agree, it often causes a ripple effect that touches every part of the relationship. One of the most effective steps to save your marriage is to work together with your spouse to find a resolution to your disagreements. Negotiation and compromise are keys to successful relationships. You can’t always be right; sometimes it’s important to take a step back from a situation and let your spouse lead. Working together to resolve your problems is an important step to rebuilding a relationship.
• Be patient! It is important to keep in mind that any problems in your marriage did not occur overnight and most likely will not be fixed overnight. It will take a renewed commitment from both partners in the marriage to dedicate themselves to the long-term healing of the marriage. Unlike a simple disagreement, a marriage in crisis cannot be repaired in a few hours or even a few days. It takes time and attention to repair a failing relationship. You have to promise yourself that you will be patient with your spouse as the two of you work through your issues and experts agree, it is important not to give up before you’ve given the marriage some time and you have devoted a great deal of energy to trying to repair it.
• Seek professional help. Many couples in the worst stages of marital problems need outside help in order to resolve their problems. Consulting a religious advisor can also be helpful but often if the problems are serious, assistance from a professional marriage counselor is necessary, if not required. This gives each partner a chance to air grievances, learn how to resolve issues and gain insight from an objective third party. If you’re not sure who to see, ask clergy or trusted family and friends for references, as most are happy to provide them.