Question: What Can I Do To Save My Marriage?
Just as it takes "two to tango," it also takes two to save a marriage. If you are having marital problems, saving your marriage will mean a commitment from both spouses. One spouse can make all the changes in the world and jump through hoops all day long, without a commitment by the other spouse; you will be fighting a losing battle.
If you and your spouse both want to save your marriage, I would first suggest that you seek marital counseling with a reputable counselor. If you can’t afford or prefer not to see a counselor there are common sense things any couple can do that will enhance their marriage. Below are four that are helpful:
- Whether or not your marriage survives depends on what expectations you take into the marriage. If you go into marriage expecting it to be perfect, you will be let down. Every marriage, regardless of how much in love a couple is will have it’s ups and downs. Marriage is not a vehicle for happiness. If you expect marriage to take away all your problems and worries, you aren’t doing yourself, your spouse or your marriage any favors. Expect to make mistakes, expect your spouse to make mistakes, expect marriage to be work and don’t go into a marriage if you are not willing to do the work it takes to have a successful marriage.
- We all know that good communication skills are imperative to having a good marriage. What most don’t understand is that communication is more than the ability to talk. You must have the ability to listen and to attempt to see things from your spouse’s perspective.
Good communication also means being willing to not only speak the truth but hear the truth. Couples must feel free to say what they feel they need to say without fear of repercussion. I’m not saying that it is OK to become verbally abusive. It has to be OK to feel comfortable expressing negative feelings though and doing so to a spouse you know will listen and not dismiss what you are saying.
- Learn the fine art of compromise. Holding onto your spouse and marriage will, at times, mean making an adjustment in what you feel is right or wrong. It is my personal opinion that this is the hardest thing couples encounter. The need to be right, to prove a point or to not give in can get in the way of couples maintaining a happy marriage. So, always be willing to find a middle ground and settle any differences by mutual concession.
- Don’t go into marriage unless you understand what it means to make a commitment and are 100% sure can stand by the commitment you make. When we marry we are in love, we have plans for the future. All we can think about is that love and that wonderful future. We make a commitment to one another that, that love and future will happen. What happens when those false expectations of such a happy future let us down? In today’s society nearly half run once the bloom in off the rose. Making a commitment means not running at the first, second or third sign of trouble. Commitment means binding yourself to a course of action. To be committed means sticking with it even when things get less than rosy.
For marriage to work, you must not go into marriage with unreasonable expectations. You must be willing to honestly talk and actively listen to what your spouse has to say. You have to be willing to compromise, to not always be right and most importantly you must understand that it takes a huge commitment on the part of both spouses.