All marriages go through a rough patch – this is common knowledge for all couples. But if it seems that your problems are too severe, there is still a way to save your marriage even if your partner has essentially shut down on you.
There comes a time in some marriages where one of the partners has refused to work on the marriage, or has been too consumed in negativity. However, you can employ some specific measures to get your partner back on board again to prevent you from heading towards divorce:
#1: Get To Heart Of The Matter
In this scenario, you’ll be going at your marital issues alone so the first step in fixing your marriage is tracking down the root causes of your problems. Try to figure out what is it that you often fight about and identify the common themes running throughout your arguments.
For example, are you really fighting about using the Mastercard for non-emergency purchases only, or are you clashing over your values related to money in general? Oftentimes, there is something much deeper to your arguments than what you see on the surface.
Couples fight about the differences between the principles and values they developed over a lifetime of growing up. The most serious arguments in a marriage always go back to your individual personalities and the factors that shaped them, such as your childhood experiences and past relationships.
#2: Making The First Move
Again, if your spouse is uncooperative at this point in time, the next step is to think about what YOU can do to handle your differences relating to your deep-seated personality conflicts. Ideally of course, you’re supposed to reciprocate when it comes to conflict resolution, but you can still kick-start a more positive atmosphere in your marriage by taking the initiative to be a good example.
For instance, learn how to attack your problems and NOT your spouse during an argument. It’s extremely tempting to put down your partner and blame everything on their actions when you’re riled up. However, you can take the higher road by rallying your partner into working on the issues you’re fighting about rather than attributing it to a perceived personality flaw they have.
Key phrases like, “I get what you’re telling me, but help me understand why…” or “I’m really upset when you…” are constructive ways to focus the discussion on what you can do to resolve the issue. This a far better alternative to making accusations or firing off hurtful words to “win” the argument.
Making this simple change in handling conflicts will build middle ground and help you compromise with each other.
#3: Learn How To Listen
This is probably one of the biggest challenges to getting your spouse to save your marriage, which is to hear them out even if hurts to do so. Listening to your partner air their side of things is hard, especially if it involves criticism.
No one wants to have their shortcomings pointed out, but there is a lot to be learned, as painful as the experience may be. Half of healthy communication in a relationship is about listening without retaliating or judgment.
Part of the problem-solving process is learning about what it is that your partner is upset about. If you constantly filter out their words with your own biases and projections, the message gets distorted and makes it twice as difficult to come to a mutual understanding.
#4: Creating A Recovery Plan
Once you’ve done the groundwork and heard what your spouse has to say about your issues, now is the time to take action. Even if your spouse is still unwilling to actually do anything about your marital problems, they can’t stop you from proposing a solution.
Just think that you’re not trying to change your spouse’s mind overnight, but rather showing them how far you’re willing to go to save your marriage. You may not change his or her mind, but you can make your intentions clear to your partner regardless of whether they want to “get with the program” at this point in time.
Tell them how exactly you intend to make a compromise, whether it’s cutting back on your hours at work to have more time for the family, or proposing a realistic budget so you don’t keep fighting about money. You can even suggest seeing a licensed professional together to get a third party involved in working through your issues.
Again, learn how to listen to your spouse and see what they have to say about your recovery plan. This will help you come up with a definite and realistic course of action that applies to your specific circumstances.
#5: Work Through Your Frustration
It would be unrealistic not to encounter resistance from your spouse as you try to turn things around. Thus, accept that this is part of the healing process.
If your current approach isn’t working, take a step back to see the big picture. Do some research on self-help books that deal with your specific marital issues such as infidelity, mid-life crisis or identifying signs of divorce.
There’s a tendency to develop tunnel vision when you keep approaching the situation from the same angle. By trying something new, you can compare which of your attempts will best help make progress with your spouse.
Pay attention to the other aspects of your life as well. Keeping yourself well-balanced in spite of your challenges will make you a genuinely happy person. That’s just as important because a happier disposition is contagious and encourages other people to do the same – including your spouse.
Being miserable and pessimistic will only confirm with your partner that it’s better to give up.
If there’s one thing you should remember while trying to save your marriage, it’s that you will inevitably end up as a wiser and stronger person no matter the outcome. Your efforts will reward you in many ways (such as personal growth) so you stand to gain more by trying than to be passive about your marriage.