How To Fix A Marriage
The goal of this article is not to fixate on the word “fix,” but rather to look at the mindset of using that word and the phrase that is the title of this article.
When people ask how to fix a marriage, they often do so thinking that there are some tweaks that can be made to how they approach the marriage or how their spouse treats them that will make everything else fall into place. In fact, it’s often the quick fix that people are seeking for their marriage.
Here are the problems with this mindset:
1. It puts the focus on “the marriage” as though it were a living organism itself or as though it were a machine that a mechanic could simply tighten some bolts and replace some parts and it would be working smoothly.
2. It gives a “set it and forget it,” mindset. Once it’s fixed, it’s easy, right? No more worry, it’s just automatic. This takes the focus off of the one-day-at-a-time mentality that is needed when a couple is struggling.
3. It takes the attention off of the person who wants to improve the relationship as though they were outside of the relationship and simply observing it.
What you need to consider and ingest is that a relationship is made up of two people. And one of the best kept secrets in marriage enrichment is that the answer to “how to fix a marriage,” is, often in large part, to fix or improve yourself. And again, it’s not a quick tweak. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it matter. It’s improving yourself as a spouse one day at a time and understanding that you’re not going to get it all in one day or by improving yourself some in one area.
You also need to accept that your spouse is not likely to react with immediate recognition, gratitude or with immediate change to themselves just because you showed improvement in one day. Improving your marriage and making it stronger is truly a marathon and not a sprint. Understand that all you can do is all you can do and there will be days when based on the way things feel or appear, there has been no improvement. By understanding that you are trying to build or grow rather than “fix,” you can comfort yourself and your spouse if necessary with the reminder that you are using a long term, real growth mindset that doesn’t happen overnight.
If your marriage is in a crisis situation and you are saying, “fix my marriage,” you have a greater distance to travel to get to where you want to be, so the idea of simply “fixing” it shows itself to be even more ridiculous. Each spouse in such a marriage, or at least the spouse who feels alone in attempting to improve things, needs to measure improvement by direction and small steps. Since you do have a greater distance to travel, your marriage still might not feel like you want, even after some improvement. But if you focus on the present and keep a sharp eye on the ground you have covered, that should provide encouragement for the journey. For example, going one day without yelling at each other only to yell the following day might sound demoralizing, but if a couple had gone days or weeks with daily yelling, then holding back for a day is improvement and shows that one or both are trying. One day could become three days and hopefully a week. When you fall, get back up. Forgive your humanness and forgive your spouse for their’s as well.
You, your spouse, and your marriage aren’t cars or computers that can “be fixed.” It’s much more complex than that. So refocus yourself to take things one day, one hour at a time. Be a better spouse this hour and this minute. Minutes and hours add up to more.
Also see: How I Saved My Marriage
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