It’s one of the most frequently spoken statements heard by relationship experts: “Help me save my marriage.”
While there are many effective strategies to repair a breaking relationship, there are even more people, men and women, too ashamed or too frightened to consult a counsellor. They won’t ask for marriage help. They want to repair it on their own.
You are setting out on a rough and lonely road, my friend, but here’s where to start:
One of the most common questions spouses ask when confronting a marriage crisis is this: How can I save my marriage if my partner doesn’t want to help find a solution? How do I succeed? I am trying to save my marriage on my own!
It’s a typical enough story: one partner leaves, the other stays. One remains ‘in love’, the other is uncertain. Whatever it is that has caused a couple to be apart, the one person who remains bears the prospect, fear, doubt, desire, hope of saving his or her marriage’ ALONE.
Considering there are two people contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of a marriage, shouldn’t both of you be present to actually try and save it? Or, worse, when it’s his, her, their fault so shouldn’t he, she, they be the ones to make amends? You’re just the victim here, after all!
The first thing you must know is if you want to save your marriage and if you find yourself alone in this desire, waiting for the other spouse to make the first move is the beginning of the end. If you are looking for someone to blame or someone else to put the emotional and physical work into saving the marriage, again, it’s going to fail.
The belief that the responsibility lies with the other person is a self-defeating attitude. It propagates the belief that there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to save your marriage and you should stand and watch what comes your way.
There is still something you CAN DO. Even in your loneliness and solitude, you CAN save your marriage.
How? Let’s begin first by examining what it means to be on your own.
As human beings, we hate being alone. It’s part of our genetic make up to be social creatures and develop connections with others, whether through friendships or romantic interest. The way we connect with others and the nature of how we interact with people is a fundamental aspect of personal and emotional development.
The paradox is that as we grow older in the love, trust, companionship and support of our significant others, we develop an internal strength of self that makes us whole, happy human beings. Ideally, the mature human person should have developed a strong sense of self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem as he or she reaches adulthood. These become the windows with which we view the world, flaws and all. These make up part of our personal shelter amidst challenges and difficulties. This is called SELF-ACTUALIZATION.
However, many of us enter into adult life without even being aware of this beautiful, human truth. We may have experienced abandonment in our childhood or been disappointed by our romantic relationships; whatever it is, it has caused to shift from proper mature development to fears of abandonment and the inability to see that we can stand on our own two feet.
Thus, many of us enter relationships and marriages with the hope, plan and dream that we would never be alone. We invest so much in our partners and loved ones, focusing our entire beings on them and relying on them to make us happy and secure. Unfortunately, this perspective carries with it its own poison. Subconsciously, we project the responsibility of our life happiness on the other person, eloquently sidestepping taking responsibility for our own life happiness and destiny.
Problems develop when a partner indicates some form of dissatisfaction with the relationship or the expectations unwittingly placed upon them, and when they do so, we panic. When our partner leaves, our fears kick in. When something goes wrong with our marriages, it is very easy for us to place the blame of the other person for having made us unhappy.
In order to save your marriage when you are the only one doing it, the key then is a paradigm shift, meaning, the key is to change your attitude and focus. Stop focusing on your partner – stop the blaming, stop the inaction.
Take a good look at yourself and what you can do in this moment. You can definitely NOT control your partner’s feelings, attitude and reactions, but you can control your own. You can go from fearing abandonment to actually taking responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.
This is where the human truth about self-actualization comes in. Understand, adapt and internalize this for yourself. Learn it. It will spell the difference not just in your marriage but in YOU.
A whole human being is easy to love. A happy person attracts happiness. In starting with yourself, you can move from being an unhappy, clingy, difficult person to one who can provide an environment of safety, wisdom, trust and open communication. If each of you are able to self-sustain when it comes to taking responsibility for your own life happiness, you both have much less baggage and much more genuine love to bring into the relationship. Your motivation shifts from being one of fear to being one of real love.
Rather than beat yourself up in desperation, try these tips to start your own personal transformation and lead your marriage to success:
- Let go
- Believe that reconnection is possible
- See a counselor for YOURSELF not just for your marriage
- Examine your part in contributing to the difficulties in your marriage
- Forgive yourself
- Look after your health, beauty and well-being
For all you know, your partner (and you) may just rediscover the person they first fell in love with and more. For all you know, this is the type of you that would allow your partner to come back and initiate communication. When that happens, you have every opportunity to sit down with him or her, discuss your motivations, plans and feelings. You can even get to the real issues surrounding your marital difficulties and actually begin taking positive steps to work them through.
In being open and mature, you can also provide an environment where love and intimacy can flourish once more. With all the confidence and sincerity you have gathered, take these steps. Plus one more. Even in your separation, conflict or difficulties, find it in you to continue loving your partner and showing him or her that you do. Through little, subtle acts, like preparing a snack for him or her or spending some quality TV time, you can rekindle love in your marriage. They don’t have to be grand gestures, they just have to be sincere. And coming from the mature, new you, they will.
This article is brought to you by Amy Waterman, co-author of Save My Marriage Today.
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Favorite Relationship Quote: “The fact is we know surprisingly little, and from the moment we say ‘I do,’ we are literally flying by the seat of our pants. We don’t get a manual or a textbook telling us how to get it right, so our marriage becomes an evolving set of experiments, learning and discovering more and more about ourselves and each other, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Some say if we don’t make mistakes we don’t really learn, but what do those mistakes cost us, and is the cost too high for some couples?” – Amy Waterman
Join host Andrew Rusbatch, guest clinical psychologist Richard Wheeler and regular guest Amy Waterman as they discuss the most pertinent topics concerning unhappy couples today. Watch and learn as they discuss hot topics such as expectations of marriage, the life cycle of a relationship, gender roles within relationships, anger and expression, conflict and resolution, and the processes and lessons you are being called into as you navigate your way through your marriage crisis.
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