I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about marital problems that lead to divorce. I’ve not, however given advice on how to find solutions to those marital problems. You first step should always be to seek professional help by seeing a marriage counselor.
If, for some reason marriage counseling is not an option following the five steps below should help find a solution to those marital problems and help you move forward.
Step 1: Name the problem. In naming the problem, you have to be specific. Saying, “he/she never helps around the house” will get you nowhere. If you want your spouse to help around the house you need to outline what specific tasks you need help with. For example, you need help with the laundry, or you wish your spouse would help clean-up after dinner each night.
It is very important to be specific with more severe marital problems. If you’ve lost interest in sex with your spouse ask yourself “why,” and “what” is causing the loss of interest. Is it hormonal, is your spouse behaving in a way that keeps you from feeling close to him/her?
Finding a solution means finding the underlying cause of the marital problem. Generalization such as “he/she never helps around the house” or “I’m just not interested in sex,” is the problem. The trick is to find out what is causing the problem and solving the cause.
Step 2: Be honest about how you are feeling. Often times we keep out true feelings hidden out of fear of hurting our spouse. Be willing to communicate your displeasure over your spouse’s behaviors and be willing to listen when your spouse communicates his/her displeasure in your behaviors. Marital problems aren’t solved if both spouses are willing to accept and acknowledge that they both play a role in the problems.
Step 3: Leave no stone unturned. Communicate with each other by asking questions. What might improve the problem? Are there any books we can read that will help? Don’t dismiss a suggestion from your spouse because you feel it silly. Make a list of what you feel are solutions and put them to work.
Step 4: Evaluate whether or not the “solutions” are working. Solutions are only solutions if they are solving the problem. Keep in mind though that problems aren’t solved overnight. Evaluation whether or not a particular solution is working by assessing your mood. Are you in a better mood, are you feeling closer to your spouse? If so, you’ve hit on a solution that is working…just give it time. If not, put your heads together and come up with another solution.
Step 5: You should be seeing results. If you’ve done the work, you should be seeing results. The solution worked and your marriage is back on track. Or, you’re still having problems and feeling stuck. If so, go back to step 1 and start the process over again. It may take a few go-rounds to define and come up with a solution to your marital problems. In the end the work you to will be worth it if it means saving your marriage.