5 Quick tips to Saving your Marriage

patchwork heart drawing with the message,
 

1) Accept Responsibility for Yourself

You and only you are responsible for your actions or inactions. This can be a real tough statement to accept, because it means you need to look at yourself, your words and your behaviours and see how they have impacted your partner and your relationship.  What actions or behaviours in yourself are you willing to change in order to create a loving more harmonious relationship? Choose 1 or 2 behaviours you are willing to change in order to repair your relationship.

2) Spend time with your Partner

Marriages, partnerships and  relationships only work if you invest positive time and energy in them.  We need to spend good positive and constructive time together.   If you spend all your spare time on away from your partner, with your peeps, your buds, electronics, work or at the gym then it’s hard to expect your relationship to flourish. I get you need to finish that work project or you need to work out or the kids are sick or really little but you need quality time to yourselves. When is the last time you spend quality time with your partners, no other friends, relatives, children, distractions, or housework? What makes it tough for you to spend time with your partner?  Just remember this time can be a quiet coffee/tea at home after the kids go to sleep or even a lunch date during your work day.

3) Talk with your Partner

When relationships get a bit complicated or rocky we choose a few ways to deal with the problems. we either chat with our friends about what’s happening on the home front or we get silent. Support is great but the problem lies in the fact that we aren’t talking to the ones person who matters the most our partner! I know it’s tough to talk with the person who is causing you all that pain and anguish. But how are things going to change if you do not voice your needs, find out how or what your partner is feeling or thinking and create a plan together on how you two are going to repair this relationship? This is the time to set up time to address the problems in your relationship. It may not be easy but you are communicating to your partner you care about the relationship, you are concerned, and you wan to fix the problem together.

4) Listen to your Partner

One of the most common complaints I hear on my sofa is that ” My partner does not listen to me.” Too often we are too busy being defensive, angry or justifying our behaviour towards our partner that we are not hearing what they are saying.  Listening can be difficult to do when you feel you are being criticized. Even I do not like hearing about how I have disappointed my partner. No one likes  hear how they may have let down their partner or said something that hurts their feelings.

a couple holding handsTo be a good listener takes practice and patience. Listening means you turn off your mouth and open your ears. You think about what you heard and you respond to your partner. Ask open ended questions. Engage in the conversation with your partner. Listening can involve statements such as ” You are telling me it upsets you when I’m going to be late but I don’t call and let you know? or ” You had a really rough day at work? What happened in the meeting that made it lousy?” You do not need to problem solve or fix problems for your partner you need to make them know you value what they say and you are interested in them.

5) Be willing to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know how to fix problems in your marriage or relationship. Tell your partner you don’t know what to do or you are not sure what they need when they are distressed. I hear how distressing it is, to see your partner cry and you have no idea how to help them stop crying and you feel responsible for their pain. It can also difficult to express what you need when you are upset. sometimes we don’t know the answers.

Just like you may not know how to fix your car if it breaks down, you may not have all the tools you need to fix some of your relationship problems. Couple or marriage therapy can help you discuss your problems in a safe environment where you can express your fears and concerns. Your couple’s therapist needs to be trained in couples or marriage counselling and see “the relationship” as their client.  The two most important factors that impact couple’s therapy are the couple’s commitment to change and the relationship they develop with their therapist. Can a therapist really help repair your relationship? Can a stranger listening to your problems actually help you turn things around? The answer is yes, but only if you and your partner are willing to work at it.

These are only a few tips on how to start repairing your relationship. If you are experiencing relationship difficulties and would like to take a first step, there is professional compassionate help available to you at Family-Therapy in Ottawa / Kanata. Call one of our individualfamily and relationship counsellors at: 613-287-3799 and see how you can repair your relationship today.