How I Saved My Marriage
It’s not exactly a common conversation topic, even among the best of friends. At a typical local coffee shop you might overhear all kinds of home remedies and anecdotal evidence concerning a host of problems but I bet you have never heard someone start a sentence with, “How I saved my marriage was…”
When it comes to marriage, privacy is important and I’m not going to say otherwise. I’m not going to suggest that we all should be transparent and open about the details of our marriage or that we should all have a brochure entitled, “How I saved my marriage,” ready for anyone who asks. I’m simply acknowledging that this type of advice or counsel is difficult to seek and to find.
How I Saved My Marriage
I’m willing to volunteer this information because I can hide behind a faceless article. I can be anonymous. I can base a strategy at least partly on the experience of others. I might be affiliated with this website. I might be good friends with the owner. Or I could be a guest writer. But enough about me.
I want to offer you three actions to take that could help you save your marriage. Obviously they aren’t foolproof or guaranteed. People have free will and that means at least some of it is out of your hands. But what you want is a good chance and that’s what I’m going to offer you in the following steps.
- Stop letting your spouse bring you down. This point really requires explaining and is dependent on the details of your situation. What I am saying is that no matter how angry s/he makes you, keep your head about you. The negative actions of your spouse should not bring about negativity in you. Those actions shouldn’t change who you are. That’s easier said than done, but I want to encourage you especially to stay away from yelling matches as they do nothing but harm. Respond with a normal tone. Just because your spouse is pitching a fit doesn’t mean you have to. You shouldn’t. What you should do is rise above it. The new you should be a constant source of poise. This is a very difficult step, but impress it on your mind and even if you have to start with small steps, apply it as best you can with the goal of mastering this skill.
- Stay light years away from criticism. Don’t tell your spouse how to drive or where the better parking spot was. So your spouse is scrolling Facebook again, give them a break. When you finally walked into church it was fifteen minutes after the service started but no one cares. Get over it. Yes, that is underwear in the floor and someone forgot to make reservations. Choose to let the little things go. Tell yourself what a great husband or wife you are for doing it if you must but stop criticizing. Has it ever ended well before? No. Criticism, no matter how well intentioned or deserved weakens feelings of closeness and love and feeds anger and resentment. Choose to stop the bleeding now. Stop cold turkey.
- Don’t be a doormat. When applying steps one and two, do so while upholding respect for yourself. In fact, both of those actions are easier done when you do respect yourself. Someone who can remain calm and refrain from yelling is confident in his/her ability to reason and talk through a situation without resorting to childish fits or emotional intimidation. And people who respect themselves don’t feel the impulse to criticize because they understand that perfection is unattainable and unneeded for love and kindness. In fact, a person who truly respects themselves and has strong confidence might even find good-natured humor in some of the situations I mentioned. So you’re late for church and it’s because your spouse took a long time getting ready? Instead of being critical, try this: After you sit down in the pew along with your spouse, lean over and say, “You fell for it. Now if they give us detention I get to be alone with you for an hour.” I’m sure you can come up with something better! But you don’t have to say anything at all. You could just smile and behave as if there’s nothing wrong because there’s not. Most of the things that we get angry about in marriage are not worth fighting over and should be laughed off. How does this keep you from being a doormat? Because you don’t assign the little mishaps enough negative power to be something that would hurt, bother, or anger you. You refuse to join a yelling match because you respect yourself. The other person doesn’t get to define your reaction. You don’t criticize because you are choosing to be a happy person and a parking spot that’s two rows further away than the spot that you picked out simply gives you an opportunity for more exercise. Be stubbornly happy and use that attitude to help you treat your spouse with kindness and patience.
That’s how I saved my marriage. It wasn’t over night but it was something I could start doing right away and gave me a way to take positive steps forward. The entire house became, over time, a place of peace and understanding, a shelter from the difficulties of life where everyone felt surrounded by love.
Some days you might fall off of the wagon. Get back on and keep trying. Acknowledge that you’re doing better and do not give up. Also see How To Fix A Marriage.
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