I really want to save my marriage, but nothing I try seems to work!” If that sounds like the thoughts you’ve been having lately, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Whether it’s due to an affair, well meaning bad advice or just reacting on emotion, there are thousands of us who’ve made mistakes that just end up pushing our partners farther away. Once you have an idea of where you might be going wrong, though, you have a much better chance of healing your marriage.
Mistake #1: Pressuring your spouse
It’s all too easy to do when you’re stressed out, but threatening or guilting rarely help matters. One of the most common forms of pressure is begging. You may not get down on your knees and wail, but if you’re pleading, crying, telling your spouse you can’t live without them or that they’ll destroy the kids’ lives, it still amounts to emotional blackmail.
Another thing to avoid is trying to pressure your spouse into counseling. Instead of pushing, appeal to logic. For instance, you might say something like “Considering all the time we’ve invested in each other, isn’t it worth a few hours of counseling to save that?
Mistake #2: Apologizing too much
There’s nothing wrong with apologizing for mistakes you know you made, especially when you have a plan to help you keep from making them again. The problem comes in when you apologize for things you didn’t even do. It sounds insincere at best and mocking at worse. It also makes you look desperate, which is hardly attractive.
More importantly, it doesn’t solve anything. Accept your responsibility for 50% of the problems and acknowledge that you have some issues you need to work out together, but if you mean it when you say, “I want to save my marriage,” don’t take more than your fair share of the blame.
Mistake #3: Jumping to conclusions
Even if you’ve lived with your spouse for decades and think you can read them like a book, you cannot read their mind. Don’t assume you know how your spouse feels and why they feel that way. After all, it’s possible your spouse has been burying certain emotions about your relationship or unrelated events in the past that are interfering with the present.
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Mistake #4: Dishonesty
Needless to say, lies do nothing to build emotional intimacy. Whether you’re hiding your feelings, facts about important events in your past, or your financial details, it all goes to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. I’m not talking about those little white lies like “No, honey, I don’t think you’ve put on weight.” There’s plenty of room for those. What I mean is something that has an effect on the relationship beyond the next 30 seconds like lying about your needs in the bedroom or for time to yourself.
Mistake #5: Waiting and hoping
This is probably the biggest mistake of them all, yet it’s also the easiest to fix. So many people wait and hope things will work themselves out eventually. In the meantime, you and your partner are growing farther apart and any resentment only grows deeper. Marital problems don’t solve themselves anymore than they cause themselves. To save a marriage that’s headed for divorce, you need to take concrete action now.
If you’ve heard yourself say “I want to save my marriage!” a few too many times, it’s very possible you’re making some of the mistakes most couples make when their marriage hits a rough patch.
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