Every marriage experiences ups and downs. However, if you’re reading this article about how to save my marriage, it’s likely that yours has been failing for some time. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with a high-stress situation, such as a job change, a new baby, or having to care for an aging parent. Maybe you’re fighting over money, someone cheated on you, or your sex life has gone sour. A variety of scenarios have the potential to send a relationship into a downward spiral.
When a marriage begins to fail, one thing is certain: each partner begins to prioritize their personal needs over the needs of their relationship, according to marriage and family therapist Risa Ganel, MS, LCMFT. This can make working through a difficult situation nearly impossible. And instead of being on the same page, it can feel as if you’re constantly talking over each other.
Is it time to think about getting a divorce? No, not always. Even if you and your partner appear to have drifted apart, there are ways to save the marriage and rekindle your relationship. Experts say that all you need to do is be willing to put in the effort.
How to Save My Marriage
The decision to save your relationship is the easy part. It’s now up to both of you to put in the effort of sorting through your issues and reconnecting. Here’s how to tell if your marriage can be saved, as well as the important steps you can take to get back on track.
1. Make the initial move.
If you feel like things have gotten out of hand and you want to fix them, take action! According to Ganel, it’s easy for struggling couples to get caught up in the “you go first” game. “If you’re waiting on your spouse,” she says, “you’re increasing the likelihood that nothing will change.”
2. Look in the mirror.
It can be very tempting to place all of the blame on your partner. (He’s the one who spends his entire day at work!) People, it takes two to tango. Instead of focusing solely on what your partner is doing wrong, Santan advises being honest about how you may be contributing to the problem as well. When you can offer suggestions for how you’ll improve, it’s easier to ask your partner to do the same.
3. Less talking and more listening
Yes, your feelings and point of view are important. But if you spend all of your time thinking about yourself, you’ll never understand what your spouse is thinking. So, when they’re talking, stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and just listen, Ganel and Santan advise. You can respond once you’re certain you understand exactly what they’re trying to say and where they’re coming from.
4. Examine your tone
Name-calling or speaking in a condescending or mean-spirited manner automatically puts your partner on the defensive, which can cause them to shut down. So, even if you’re angry, try to communicate respectfully. “Doing so sends the message to your partner that you care about them and the marriage enough to filter out what you’re saying,” Santan says.
5. Quit your negative self-talk.
Even if you pretend everything is fine on the outside, it’s easy to fall into the habit of internally berating your spouse. “Negative thoughts influence how you feel and behave,” Ganel says. “When you see yourselves as two equals, you’ll be in a better position to effect change.”
6. Be kind even when you don’t feel like it.
Little gestures can go a long way, especially when the two of you are already on the verge of breaking up. So go the extra mile. On your way home from work, pick up your spouse’s favorite ice cream; thank them when they make the bed or carry your dinner plate to the sink. “When you express gratitude and kindness, your partner’s behavior will change,” Ganel says.
7. Ask for neutral feedback.
Have you reached a point where the two of you simply cannot agree or are unsure how to proceed? Refrain from seeking advice from friends or family. “They’ll be biased,” Santan predicts. If you and your partner require the assistance of a third party, bring in someone who can be objective, such as a marriage counselor.
8. Be patient.
If a problem is serious enough to force you to consider divorce, it will not disappear overnight. Even if you and your partner are giving it your all, changing damaging communication habits or patterns takes time. “You shouldn’t look for a quick fix,” Santan advises. “I ask couples to commit to at least a year if not two.” Sure, it may seem like an eternity. But isn’t it true that you promised each other that you’d be together forever?
How to Save My Marriage After I Cheated On My Husband
How can I save my marriage after cheating on my husband? What should I do? If you decide to save your marriage after infidelity and lies, you should be aware that it may not be as simple as you think to repair a marriage after infidelity. Broken trust takes time to heal, but there are a few things you can do in the meantime to mend a relationship after cheating.
1. Relax and meditate
Before delving into a cost-benefit analysis of saving your marriage after cheating, it is critical to return to a rational state of mind that includes a sense of calm, fairness, and kindness.
Stepping away from the situation, meditating, and discussing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a trusted friend or therapist may be necessary to determine your best-case scenario.
2. Make time for self-care.
Taking care of yourself is the number one predictor of a good mood. Self-care can revolve around physical or emotional health, but it is essentially a way to feed your soul by strengthening one’s self-identity, allowing you to have positive energy to contribute to the recovery of a healthy marriage after cheating.
3. Arrange for additional forms of care.
In order to survive in long-term marriages, a sense of excitement and happiness must be developed, especially after a cheating episode. Appropriate other self-care entails engaging in an activity that both partners enjoy while also allowing them enough time to reflect and share with each other, such as conversing at dinner or walking in the park.
4. Seek marriage counseling.
When looking for a therapist, make it a collaborative effort and allow time after the first session to discuss the session’s pros and cons. Remember, the longer you participate in productive therapy, the faster you will return to a level playing field in which you will serve as your own communicators and mediators in order to restore your marriage after adultery.
5. Be encouraging.
It may be necessary to rehash incidents where you or your spouse felt hurt in order to uncover unresolved needs in a broken relationship. These memories and emotions may be difficult to bring to the surface. However, in order to mend a broken marriage after cheating, it is critical to be understanding throughout the process. Reflective listening demonstrates good listening skills as well as empathy stimulation.
Many problems can be solved through effective communication, and marriage is no exception. While it may be instinctive to revert to passive communication habits of not speaking with each other or sweeping things “under the rug” when times are tough, it is critical to invest time and energy into assertive communication skills in order to overcome infidelity and stay together. Remember that the skills we teach and learn at work are just as important in the institution of marriage!
7. Be respectful of one another’s differences.
As you reflect on your past actions and the cheating in your marriage, keep in mind that both you and your spouse will have emerged as different people than the partners who entered the marriage after cheating on each other.
You may discover that you have some new skills or weaknesses, which you should be aware of for the sake of your partner in the process of repairing broken love.
8. Creating new roles
Once you’ve identified how you’ve changed, it’s time to adapt your relationship and broaden your perspective of new roles and contributions that both you and your partner can make to help build a newer, stronger relationship.
Repairing a marriage after an affair may necessitate the assignment of new roles or the respect for previously ignored roles.
9. Contrary action
The dialectical behavior therapy opposite action concept not only promotes changed behavior but also changed in emotions and the avoidance of spouses; from hyper-fixating on the negative mood states aroused by the act of cheating. The inverse of cheating is trust, so the solution to cheating would be trusting, but as anyone who has experienced cheating knows, building trust is not easy.
It takes time to condition feelings of dependability and reliability to one’s actions. Trust is gradually built through all of life’s subtle actions, from being on time to therapy to offering to help to say good morning every day.
While trust is a feeling, it is critical to recognize and communicate incidents on how to save your marriage after cheating in which you both trust and mistrust your partner so that they are aware of the need for immediate changes.
Commitment to each other is a process, but what is important is how to save the marriage after you cheated; is a commitment to work on the marriage, using some of the techniques discussed in this article, such as scheduling self-care, other care, and therapy sessions.
While it is impossible to predict the future, hard work and dedication usually pay off in the long run.
12. Be satisfied with “good enough”
Infidelity already demonstrates that your marriage isn’t perfect. So, instead of striving for perfection, accept defeat and learn from it in order to save the marriage after cheating. Being “good enough” allows partners to identify areas for improvement and apply corresponding skills; rather than giving up when things get tough,
Cheating episodes indicate that boundaries have been breached and must be rebuilt. Learning about both parties’ wants and needs, as well as their corresponding personality types and roles in the marriage, allows for a more comprehensive view of boundaries that can be built much stronger. It can assist you in remaining married after infidelity. Setting and enforcing boundaries is essential for repairing a marriage after infidelity and lies.
Understand that some days following infidelity in a marriage will be easier than others. If you revert to not communicating, harsh communication, or an instinct to leave the marriage, consider it a red flag and join the bandwagon of making necessary readjustments as part of your marriage restoration.
15. Self-discipline and a strong desire
If you’ve read this far, you’ve demonstrated the discipline and desire required to save your marriage after an affair! A marriage can survive and possibly grow stronger after cheating if good communication skills, a supportive environment, a sense of equality, and recognition of self and other’s identity are used.
How to Save My Marriage After I Cheated on My Wife
If both you and your partner are willing to work together, there are steps you can take to save your marriage.
1. Examine Your Emotional State
You should spend some time alone with yourself to process your emotions. Consider whether you have any regrets about cheating on your partner. Do you believe you are prepared to be held accountable for your actions? Are you willing to put in the effort to repair your relationship?
Is it likely that you will cheat on your partner again? Be truthful to yourself. Getting in touch with your emotions can help you with the emotional work you’ll need to do if you want your relationship to work.
2. Quit Cheating
It is critical that you do not continue to cheat if you are recommitting to your relationship. In cases where the infidelity was brief, it may be easier to call it quits and cut ties. Ending an emotional affair, on the other hand, may be a more difficult process.
If you cheated with someone you see every day, such as a coworker, you will need to set boundaries with them. For example, you may avoid speaking with them about anything other than work, and you may not socialize with them outside of work.
The person with whom you cheated may harbor romantic feelings for you. If they continue to pursue you, you must make it clear that you are no longer visible to them.
3. Assume Responsibility
You must accept responsibility for your actions and rebuild trust, regardless of your “reasons” for cheating. Avoid blaming your partner or your relationship’s problems. Please apologize to your partner.
4. Make a Choice
Do you and your partner both want to stay together? You have a common goal if you both want to stay together. Make a decision knowing that you and your partner will both have to work hard to rebuild trust and communication. If your partner wishes to end the relationship, you must respect their wishes. They may also require time and space away from you before making a decision, which is fine.
5. Be Truthful
If you want to move forward, you must be honest with yourself and with your partner. To keep your cheating a secret, you most likely had to lie to your partner. Now is the time for openness.
To help your relationship get off to a good start, be direct and open. Relationship honesty is associated with less conflict. However, it is critical for both partners to agree on being honest and discussing their expectations.
6. Keep Your Words
If you say you’re going somewhere, show up. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through. Be dependable and keep your promises. It will be more difficult to rebuild trust in your relationship if you are not dependable.
7. Remain open and patient.
Allow your partner to know where you are, who you are with, and so on. Try not to keep anything from them any longer. It is natural for your partner to feel betrayed and suspicious. Recognize their feelings and work to restore the trust that you have betrayed. Don’t expect your partner to regain trust in you right away. However, with time, you may be able to regain their trust.
According to research, one of the most commonly cited reasons for marriage failure is the inability to communicate with one another. Be ready to listen and converse with your partner.
If you cheated because your relationship wasn’t meeting your needs, communicate those needs to your partner. It’s critical that you both fully understand each other and have a sense of what the other person requires.
9. Make some space for your partner.
If emotions are running high or one of you is emotionally triggered, it is acceptable to take a “time out.” Sometimes things need to calm down before you can be around each other again or discuss sensitive topics.
10. Spend Quality Time With Your Partner
You need to spend time together as well as give your partner some alone time. Plan date nights and, when your partner is ready, think about going on a romantic getaway together.
11. Seek Professional Assistance
To move past the cheating, you and your partner must be willing to discuss and identify issues and problems in your personal lives as well as in your relationship. You might consider seeing a relationship or marriage counselor assist you with this process.
According to some studies, couples who experience infidelity and seek professional help often have positive outcomes and are able to repair their relationships.
12. Are You Willing to Forgive?
You must forgive yourself in addition to being forgiven by your partner. You should accept responsibility for your actions, but you shouldn’t be burdened with guilt for the rest of your life. One study investigated how couples can save their marriage after an affair. While the process was difficult, researchers discovered that forgiveness was essential.
How to Save My Marriage When She Doesn’t Want to
Yes, you can save your marriage even if your partner refuses to work on it! This can be a terrifying time. It is possible to feel vulnerable, hopeless, and panicked. They want their marriage to change but aren’t sure how. Unfortunately, many people believe that as soon as their partner changes, their marriage will improve.
Waiting for this to happen is rarely effective. Just one person in the couple changing their priorities, communication style, and the amount of effort they put into their relationship can drastically alter the dynamic between you. In general, we should always do what we want our husband or wife to do.
- We must say what we want them to say.
- We should give our partner what we want them to give us.
This significantly increases the likelihood that your spouse will do the same. Complaining to them about what they aren’t doing only pushes them away and worsens the situation.
A person who constantly complains that their spouse does not pay enough attention to them, for example, only humiliates them and makes them feel like a failure. This causes them to want to avoid the perceived source of these feelings, reducing the amount of time their spouse is likely to give them the attention they seek. Instead, if one cheerfully arranges opportunities and time for them to be together, they are more likely to receive the attention they seek.
How to Save My Marriage When My Husband Doesn’t Love Me Anymore
So, if you’re wondering if your husband still loves you or if he’s checked out and no longer cares, here are some suggestions for mending your broken marriage.
- Restart saying “I love you”: Every day, tell him you love him!
- Give him genuine compliments: Take note of what he does well and compliment him on it.
- Reintroduce hugging into your life: Cross the physical divide and give your man a hug. Give him another one tomorrow.
- Romance him a little: Add a few sweet, thoughtful gestures to his day to show you’re paying attention to what makes him happy and loved! Make no big deal out of these gestures. Simply incorporate them into his day.
- Try to be positive: Stop whining about minor annoyances in your marriage and in your life in general. It’s contagious to look on the bright side. He’ll fall head over heels in love with you all over again!
- Smiling more: It’s difficult to resist a woman with a genuine grin on her face. Say it with a smile if you care about him, and watch how quickly he starts smiling back at you.
- Show interest in him: Be his best friend and listen to him with enthusiasm.
- Make self-care a priority: It’s great to appreciate how hard he works, but also learn to appreciate your own efforts. The better you care for yourself, the more energy you’ll have to nurture and heal your relationship.
- Treat him like a man: When you treat him like a man, you’ll feel more like a woman. Respect him as your man, and then watch the magic unfold! Now that you know how to save your marriage, keep in mind that no relationship is without problems.
How to Save My Marriage Alone
Separation is not an easy decision. When you’ve spent a certain amount of time with someone, the prospect of living apart from them kills you on the inside. In such a case, you do everything possible to ensure that everything is in order. This is when you try to rebuild your marriage after a divorce.
If you’re trying to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, then follow along with the tips to save your marriage during a divorce.
1. Restrain your rage and refrain from blaming others.
First and foremost, if you’re trying to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, you must learn to control your anger. When you’re angry, you say a lot of things that aggravate the situation. You need to learn to control your rage. Furthermore, you should not blame your partner for whatever has gone wrong.
You should keep these two points in mind. Getting angry with your significant other and blaming them for everything is never a solution during a separation.
2. Be steadfast in your pursuit of your goals.
Don’t stray from the goal you’ve set for yourself and your marriage. When you’re the sole torchbearer for a marriage in the midst of a divorce, it’s difficult to keep moving.
So, in this case, you must be committed to getting what you want out of your marriage. Your partner will either show little or no interest, which will naturally make you wonder why you’re doing it, but you must keep moving.
3. Determine certain boundaries
When you’re on a mission to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, you may find yourself vulnerable. You must establish certain boundaries that will assist you in overcoming the problem rather than exacerbating it.
Discuss how and what you would communicate, how you would overcome sexual issues, and other issues that would affect your marriage. It is critical that you discuss these topics in order to make each other aware of what the future might hold if you decide to proceed with your decision.
There are two possibilities: either the spouse will back down, or you will be prepared for the worst.
4. Attack the root cause
Issues that appear to float to the surface may not be the root cause of your divorce. When you are determined to save your marriage on your own during separation, there are actual issues that must be addressed.
It is suggested that instead of addressing superfluous issues, try to identify and address the main issue. You may find it difficult, but you must complete it. Consider what has caused the schism between the two of you. Seek assistance, if necessary, to solve the problem. Things will only return to normal once the primary cause has been addressed.
5. Accept responsibility for your actions.
It is true that you should not hold your partner responsible for previous events. At the same time, you should make an effort to look back and recognize what went wrong from your end.
It is critical that you recognize that it was largely your fault, as well as your partner’s. So, the day you accept responsibility, things may begin to change for the better.
6. Begin working on your flaws.
If you want to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, you must never consider yourself to be perfect. You’re a human being with flaws, and you’re bound to make mistakes.
Allow yourself time to accept your mistakes before beginning to work on yourself and, eventually, your relationship. Acceptance will require a significant amount of time. It will be difficult for you to identify the flaw that is causing you problems at first. But, once you’ve done it, make sure you start working on it to make things better.
7. Be truthful and open about your experiences.
Because one or both partners are not honest with each other, the relationship frequently suffers. This creates confusion and suspicion, which may exacerbate the relationship. When you have to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, make sure you are honest with your partner. Staying true to your emotions eliminates all possibilities of ruining your relationship and will assist you in overcoming the problem.
8. Be optimistic and think clearly.
Keeping hope during separation is the only option you have, but you should also think positively about the things around you.
Passing through a difficult time becomes easier when we maintain a positive attitude and think correctly. It may be difficult at first, but if you can just keep thinking positively; every hour, every day, things will gradually improve.
9. Teach yourself to respect your partner.
When you have to save your marriage on your own during a divorce, you will be surrounded by a lot of anger, blame, and even guilt. It is possible that you will begin to lose respect for your partner, which you should not do. Respect for your partner is something you must learn. To maintain your respect for your partner, you must hold on to all of the positive aspects and feelings you have for them.
By no means should you allow this respect to dwindle; otherwise, your entire effort to save your marriage alone during separation will be futile. There are difficult times in everyone’s lives, but that doesn’t mean you should aim to be separated from your partner.
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How to Save My Marriage From Divorce
When you believe you are on the verge of divorce, there is still a glimmer of hope that you can save your marriage. You wish to remain together. And you can do it if you put forth the effort. But let’s be honest: you’ve been stewing in these emotions for a long time. You’re not alone in this. “No one knows how to stay in love.” Life has a habit of getting in the way, especially when you have children. “The relationship no longer becomes a priority,” says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., a New York City couples therapist and author of Makeup, Don’t Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples. “However, most marriages can be saved.”
Each couple’s situation and circumstances are unique. The reasons for their split are also varied, ranging from a lack of communication to cheating. Still, there are exercises you can do as a couple and as individuals, as well as small steps you can take right now with your partner to increase love, trust, and intimacy in the hopes of keeping you together. Here are ten places to begin:
1. Make a plan.
Torres-Gregory recommends writing down the following details, both individually and as a couple: how you met, what drew you to your partner, where you are now, how you got here, and where you want to go.
“You won’t be able to have the marriage you had at the start, but you can work on a new marriage.” Consider it “marriage 2.0,” she says. To do so, however, you must first understand what that would entail.
2. Bring your attention inward.
Thank you, romantic comedies, for instilling in us idealistic expectations of love. “You need to be fulfilled as an individual rather than expecting your partner to fulfill everything,” Torres-Gregory says. Your partner does not have to, and should not, “complete” you. (Hopefully, you realized this before saying your vows, but alas…)
“You should be complete so that you don’t burden your partner or the relationship with the burden of making you happy,” she says. Take a deep breath and look inside yourself: Why are you relying on your partner to do this? Was it because that’s how your parents’ relationship was modeled? Do you believe what the media tells you?
3. Stop making assumptions.
“Are the bowls clean?” your partner inquires. and you slammed them—why are they always accusing you of not doing your part to care for the house? Can’t they see you’re overburdened with life and work? “When a couple has been together for a long time, they believe they know each other.” “They start assuming the other person’s thoughts and motivations and become angry and reactive to these assumptions,” Torres-Gregory says.
Here’s the thing: Your rage may be fueled entirely by an internal debate, rather than the reality of the situation. Commit to not making these assumptions, and if you suspect a motive behind a question or comment, at least ask. This will put you on the path to better communication, which can help you turn around an unhappy marriage.
4. Establish ground rules for the relationship.
Mutual respect and trust are required for a happy marriage, and if those two things have been lost, you will need to re-discover them. “Couples develop patterns of interaction with one another that they do not question.” “They keep doing it,” Torres-Gregory says.
To reduce snapping and destructive comments, establish some ground rules for communication in the relationship. “There are things you shouldn’t do or say when you love and respect your partner,” she says. For example, when you fight in the future, promise not to curse or call each other names. Again, the more constructive communication you can engage in, the better your chances of resolving underlying issues will be.
5. Establish a weekly date.
You two need to play together again, like in the good old days. Go on a date once or twice a week where you don’t discuss problems (or kids, if you have them). “Return to the fundamentals.” What did you do before you got married that you don’t know? “What did you do when you first fell in love?” asks Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., a New York City couples therapist and author of Makeup; Don’t Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples.
If the answer is to play mini-golf, bowl, or meet at a trendy bar for trendy drinks, you’ve already planned your next date.
6. Use your hands frequently.
I’m not even bringing up the subject of sex. “Hold hands as you walk down the street.” Hug each other for 20 seconds. Kiss each other on the cheek. Face-to-face dancing. “Look into each other’s eyes for 30 seconds before going to bed,” Eaker Weil suggests.
She explains that these simple exercises help deliver a rush of pleasure and bonding hormones (like oxytocin) to restore the intimacy that you may be missing right now.
7. Express gratitude.
“I want you to cheat on your partner,” Eaker Weil says. What are you saying now? Yes, according to Eaker Weil, one of the best ways to save your marriage is to treat them as if you can’t get enough of them. (Even if, to be honest, you can right now.)
The process begins with expressing gratitude and appreciation to the other person. Gush about their new haircut, text them that you can’t wait to see them later—all of the things that people say to each other when they’re in love. It’s sometimes necessary to fake it until you make it, but starting a fire does, in fact, start a fire.
8. Fight fairly.
Let’s be honest: you’re not going to wave your hand like a wand and make years of pent-up resentment vanish. But that’s fine. In this Eaker Weil exercise, your task is to schedule a limited-duration “appointment” with your partner. (For example, Tuesday from 7:30 to 8 p.m.) You fight fairly during this time.
You’ll begin by explaining why you’re upset or what grudge you’re harboring. Finally, request a change from them. “I feel like you never have time for me,” for example. You spend all of your free time golfing, going out with the guys, or hiding out in your home office. I want you to make time for me at least once a week, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.”
Your partner then expresses their resentment to you; all you have to do is promise not to become angry, hurt, or reactive as they express themselves to you. She suggests imagining yourself holding their anger in a container as they speak to help with this.
9. Consider the future.
According to Torres-Gregory, shared values, dreams, and life goals are important components of a loving and healthy marriage. Sit down and talk about your shared vision for the future and how you’ll support each other, she advises. Long after you’ve walked down the aisle or had children, it’s an important and ongoing topic.
Consider couples counseling if that seems impossible to see right now and you can’t or don’t want to have that conversation. “A professional can assist you in re-establishing trust and goodwill so that these conversations can occur more organically at home,” she says.
10. Attempt a Hail Mary.
Assume you want to save your marriage but your spouse does not. (Sorry.) According to Eaker Weil, taking a planned, structured break is a good idea. “This isn’t coming from a nasty place. ‘I want to save our marriage, but I see you don’t feel the same way,’ it says. ‘Let’s spend some time apart,’ she says. This could be for just one night, but Eaker Weil recommends four to six weeks to give the partner a “kick in the ass.”
“It isn’t a punishment.” It’s a wake-up call.” No calling, texting, or sex for the entire time—the goal is to make your partner miss you.
You may have been dissatisfied with your marriage for a long time. Even if it felt good at the time, cheating usually complicates relationships. Being honest with yourself and your partner takes bravery. You can recommit to your partner, or you and your partner may decide to move on and end the relationship. Accepting responsibility will help you progress in either case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can marriages really be saved?
Is it possible to save a marriage?
“However, most marriages can be saved.” Each couple’s situation and circumstances are unique. Still, there are exercises you can do as a couple and individually, as well as small steps you can take right now with your partner to increase love, trust, and intimacy in the hopes of keeping you together.
How do you know if your marriage can be saved?
It is a good sign that your marriage can be saved if you can continue to make each other smile on a regular basis. If seeing your spouse across the room makes you smile, or if they do something so unique to them that it makes you smile, you may be able to save your marriage.