"How to Save Your Marriage"

 Unhappy couple at therapy session in therapists office

We continually hear talk of the divorce rate being over 50%, the reasons for divorce, as well as the end result regarding child custody, visitation and dividing assets. But rarely do you read about how to “save” a marriage or how to “heal” a seemingly broken marriage. This article will attempt to answer these questions or at least give you some ideas on how to go about it. 

Be Willing to Change

I remember years ago when Dr. Phil McGraw’s book, “Relationship Rescue” came out. The whole premise of the book was to put the focus on the person reading the book to change and not put the onus on the partner.  In order to save your marriage you need to set your ego aside, be willing to compromise and change. You may have heard the old definition of insanity: “doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.” You’re going to need to change for the marriage to change.

Keep it Positive

It’s easy to fall into the trap of bitterness and resentment when first confronting the problems in your marriage. Old wounds may be opened along with painful and hurtful memories. It’s critical to remember to stay positive and focus on healing these wounds. Forgiveness and empathy are key here.  Pointing fingers and blaming serves no purpose.  Realizing that “it takes two” for either healing or dissolving a marriage can help to keep your focus on saving the marriage and not creating a deeper divide. 

Focus on How You Can Make It Better

Here is where Dr. Phil’s premise comes in. The focus is on YOU to change patterns, put only your desires and needs aside and work toward repairing you marriage.  If you truly want to save your marriage and make it whole again, you’ll need to swallow your pride, compromise, own up to your part in the problems and focus on making it better.  Taking responsibility for your part in the issues that are contentious is very important in the healing process. It definitely “takes two” however, and your spouse must be committed to saving the marriage as well in order to work out issues.

Don’t Try to Do it Alone

If a marriage is damaged or threatened to the point that whenever an argument even starts you head for the door, it shows that certain communication patterns have become entrenched in the relationship.  Couples  counseling with a trained therapist can help to identify these habitual troublesome communication patterns and find ways and  common ground to work through them.  Compromise, compassion for the other’s point of view, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to save the marriage and make it stronger are the things couples should be encouraged to do by a good therapist. 

Lee Miller does couples therapy for a variety of issues including discernment counseling that helps couples determine whether a marriage is worth saving and couples counseling, which helps restore communication, trust and intimacy.  She also provides pre-marital and break-up/separation/divorce counseling for couples as well. Email Lee at LeeMiller.Therapist@gmail.com or call (310) 879-5630.