One of the most common questions we encounter is this:
How could one partner save their floundering marriage on their own?
It is a typical enough story – one partner leaves, the other stays. One remains “in love”, the other is uncertain. Whatever it is that has caused a couple to be apart, the one person who remains bears the prospect, fear, doubt, desire, hope of saving his or her marriage… ALONE.
In some of our minds, it stands to argue that since there are two people in this marriage, shouldn’t both of us be present to actually try and save it? Or, worse, it’s his, her, their fault so shouldn’t he, she, they be the ones to make amends? I am just the victim here, after all!
We are telling you right now – if you want to save your marriage and if you find yourself alone in this desire, the above will definitely not help you do it -- that type of talk is at the minimum, negative and at most, self-defeating! It propagates the belief that there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to save your marriage and you should just let it go down the drain. So not true. There is still something you CAN DO. Even in your loneliness and solitude, you CAN save your marriage.
How? Let’s begin first by examining what it means to be on your own.
As human beings, we hate being alone. After all, it’s part of our make up to be social creatures. In fact, babies develop very early on feelings of trust, companionship and parental support. If they don’t get these, say when they’re hungry we fail to feed them on time, or if they’re wet, we fail to change their diaper, humans develop fears of mistrust, abandonment and solitude. Unfortunately, we carry these fears with us as we get older.
The paradox is that as we grow older in the love, trust, companionship and support of our significant others, we develop an internal strength of self that makes us whole, happy human beings. Ideally, the mature human person should have developed a strong sense of self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem as he or she reaches adulthood. These become the windows with which we view the world, flaws and all. These make up part of our personal shelter amidst challenges and difficulties. This is called SELF-ACTUALIZATION.
However, many of us enter into adult life without even being aware of this beautiful, human truth. We may have experienced abandonment in our childhood or been disappointed by our romantic relationships; whatever it is, it has caused to shift from proper mature development to fears of abandonment and the inability to see that we can stand on our own two feet.
Thus, many of us enter relationships and marriages with the hope, plan and dream that we would never be alone. We invest so much on our partner, focusing our entire beings on them and relying on them to make us happy and secure. Unfortunately, this perspective carries with it its own poison. It’s as if we have blinders on all the time. When our partner indicates some form of dissatisfaction with the relationship, we panic. When our partner leaves, our fears kick in. When something goes wrong with our marriages, it is very easy for us to place the blame of the other person for having made us unhappy.
In order to save your marriage on your own, the key then is a paradigm shift, meaning, the key is to change your attitude and focus. Stop focusing on your partner - stop the blaming, stop the inaction. Take a good look at yourself. You can definitely NOT control your partner’s feelings, attitude and reactions but you can control your own. You can go from fearing abandonment to actually taking responsibility for yourself and your own happiness. This is where the human truth about self-actualization comes in. Understand, adapt and internalize this for yourself. Learn it. It will spell the difference not just in your marriage but in YOU.
Put simply, a whole human being is easy to love. A happy person attracts happiness. In starting with yourself, you can move from being an unhappy, clingy, difficult person to one who can provide an environment of safety, wisdom, trust and open communication.
Think what's more attractive to your spouse... the happy, confident you they fell in love with, or the angry, needy, desperate one they may face now?
From hereon, dealing with your absent or disengaged partner could even get easier – for you and for them. For all you know, you may just surprise each other.
Rather than beat yourself up in desperation, try these:
- Let go
- Believe that reconnection is possible
- See a counselor for YOURSELF not just for your marriage
- Examine your part in contributing to the difficulties in your marriage
- Forgive yourself
- Look after your health, beauty and well-being
For all you know, during this self actualization process your partner (and you) may just rediscover the person they first fell in love with and more. For all you know, this is the type of you that would allow your partner to come back and initiate communication. When that happens, you have every opportunity to sit down with him or her, discuss your motivations, plans and feelings. You can even get to the real issues surrounding your marital difficulties and actually begin taking positive steps to work them through.
In being open and mature, you can also provide an environment where love and intimacy can flourish once more. With all the confidence and sincerity you have gathered, take these steps. Plus one more. Even in your separation, conflict or difficulties, find it in you to continue loving your partner and showing him or her that you do. Through little, subtle acts, like preparing a snack for him or her or spending some quality TV time, you can rekindle love in your marriage. They don’t have to be grand gestures, they just have to be sincere. And coming from the mature, new you, they will.
Remember, you are the one that's responsible for being the happy you. Your spouse hasn't taken that from you... not unless you let them.
It's time to take the power back and reconnect with your true, confident, beautiful self.
If you're not ready to give up on your marriage, I want you to check out a short video (It will only take a few minutes).
The tips and strategies you learn in this short video could save your marriage.
Here's to your marriage succes.